I tucked into a pint of Guiness at the local Matsue gaijin bar, St. Jame's Gate. As always, the Tokyo traveler is expected to explain himself. Why am I in Matsue? To eat ramen, of course!
Though no one believed my white lie (I was actually here for other work), a well-dressed gentleman with a gorgeous Leica camera spoke up. Chikutei is his go-to ramen in town.
This was at about 12:30, and Chikutei closes at 1am. Perfect.
Though the noren banner was down, indicating that they were done with service for the day, the lights were on and the master let me in for the last bowl of the day.
Strictly standard, though I could see this being a local's favorite ramen joint. The shop had just enough counter seating for the quick diner, and a tatami dinning room for long-stay drinkers or families. The bowl itself was a chickeny Chinese style that went down smooth.
Random autographs on the wall featured a plate written in English from 2006 from a famous octopus researcher.
How about more recommendations from locals? If you only have an hour to spare, take the boat around the castle moat. We had exactly two hours before our airport bus was due. An elderly boat driver was happy to drop us off near a local soba house.
Soba noodles in a light duck broth.
Tempura bamboo shoots, picked the day before in the restaurants backyard forest. If I were to rank non-ramen food, this would be in the top three of 2014.
Soup-less soba with all the fixings.
Although I wasn't too impressed with the ramen scene here in Matsue, the town itself should be on anyone's list if they plan on hitting the northern coast of Shimane and Tottori. These prefectures are definitely just footnotes in your average guidebook, but have a lot to offer.
Shimane-ken, Matsue-shi, Higashihonmachicho 3-14
Closest station: Matsue