Next up in my travel accommodation reviews is the Young Inn in Matsue.
You know, I'm okay with no-frills travel to a certain point. If I have to pay for frills, then I'm happy to go without. But, when I stayed at Young Inn, I discovered my limit. See there are some frills you need when you travel!
When I checked in, the owner said the showers were available until midnight. What he didn't say is that you can only have a shower at night. I figured "until midnight" meant until midnight that night then again the next morning but nope.
I headed down in the morning to have my shower and noticed the sign saying the showers were only available 4.00pm to midnight and figured screw that, I'd have a shower anyway. But the water to the showers is actually switched off.
I had a small sink in my room so I washed myself as much as possible but if you have any idea of the stinking humidity of a Japanese summer, then you'd realise how inadequate that was.
Now I know that most Japanese people are happy to take a bath/shower of an evening rather than in the morning, but this place is on sites that target Westerners like Hostelworld so should take onboard that we like to shower in the morning.
Other than that, I paid 2,500 yen (around $AUD28) for my room - a basic single room with a hand basin (luckily). The decor, as you can see from the photo, is ...ummm, yeah. Not that I mind that. The carpet was threadbare and the room pretty basic. But that was okay for the price.
I seem to remember that the room smelt a bit funny too. Not too unpleasant but a bit strange.
The downstairs part of the Inn is a bar. It was empty when I got there but got some customers later that stayed until pretty late and you could hear the noise. Also, if you don't like cigarette smoke, I'd strongly suggest you don't stay here.
The location is about half way between the JR station and the main attractions of the town so pretty convenient. There are no facilities in your room or in the hotel so you can't prepare your own food - and there was not much around in terms of cafes etc either. I thought I could get breakfast somewhere the next morning but I think maybe the area around the station would be the only place you could get something - which kind of defeats the purpose of staying somewhere closer to the main part of town.
Matsue castle - pretty much all of the tourist attractions are around the castle so it's an easy walk
The row of old samurai houses are the main attraction
I had an early start (because I wasn't wasting time having a shower or shit like that) and got around most of the tourist circuit by lunch time. The samurai houses were interesting but my next stop was Hagi, also with lots of old samurai houses so I could've skipped Matsue completely and not really missed much. There is one house that is done up so you can see how people lived there which was quite interesting but I'd definitely pick Hagi over Matsue. The only reason I'd suggest going to Matsue is if you have some interest in writer, Lafcadio Hearn, because he used to live in the town and there are a few places devoted to him.
I thought they'd be worth a visit for research, because they might offer some insights into how Westerners lived in Japan in the olden days, but to be honest, they were more like a collection of stuff.
Not real Samurai
Okay, here's a bonus travel tip. I'd been lugging my bag around so much, I'd got quite a sore back and legs. I figured since I was only staying there one night and it was a bit of a hike from the station, I'd leave my bag in locker at the station and just take a few necessities with me. Necessities that didn't include pyjamas since I could sleep in a singlet and knickers.
I'd completely forgotten though, that my room didn't include a bathroom or toilet!
Before I headed to Japan, my sister had given me some travel advice - "always take a scarf - you can use it as a blanket, a pillow and a cool fashion accessory."
When I was in Matsue, I learnt you can also use it as a sarong if you need to make a late night trip to the toilet and don't want to get fully dressed.
The train trip from Matsue to Hagi was pretty
In summary, I'd say the Young Inn was cheap and basic but I'd only stay there if you are okay with not having a morning shower!
Matsue is a bit of an effort to get to - there aren't that many trains so you need to plan your travel times well and there isn't too much there to do but it's a lovely town that really gives you an insight into the feudal way of life.