Shimane is located in Chugoku region in Japan. Probably the most known place in Shimane is Izumo, which plays the central role in creating Japanese mythology.
There are many things to attract many tourists for all year around in Shimane, from the breathtaking nature view to the historical sites including the oldest shrines in Japan.
Here we introduce the best places to visit in Shimane for the first timers!
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Izumo Taisha is said to be the oldest shrine and one of the most important shrines in Japan which has the history of over thousand of years. It enshrines Okuninushi no Okami who is the god of marriage. But he is not only taking care of a couple or people who wish to marry, he connects all the relationships around people.
There is a story that all the deities gather from all over Japan once a year and discuss how they make people’s relationships. Around that time, many people pay a visit to Izumo Taisha to pray for a good relationships.
Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
This museum houses collections of historical treasures which tell us some hints of the Izumo’s history in 8th century. It is said that Izumo Taisha used to be 96.96 meters tall in ancient time and you can see the exhibitions to learn the mystery and also how people lived and developed the culture in Izumo!
9am – 6pm
*9am – 5pm (Nov. – Feb.)
*Last entrance will be 30 minutes before closing time
Admission: 620 yen (Adult), 410 yen (University students), 200 yen (Elementary school, Junior high school, High school students)
It is one of the 12 original castles in Japan which remains its main tower. (You can check the details of Matsue Castle from this article).
One of the fun things you can do at Matsue Castle is riding a small boat on castle’s moat.
Let’s see the beautiful view which people also enjoyed over 400 years ago.
8:30am-6:30pm (Apr. – Sep.) 8:30am-5pm (Oct. – Mar.)
Admissions 680 yen (Adults) 290 yen (Children) 470 yen (Foreigners)
This is the beach where people welcome the deities in October 10th in old calendar every year. There is a small round island (or rather look like a rock) called Bentenjima at the beach, and you can find a small shrine and torii gate which enshrines Toyotamahikonomikoto, who is the god of ocean.
Don’t miss the white sandy beach and the beautiful sunset behind Bentenjima.
Iwami Ginzan is the old silver mine which was developed in Edo period. You can explore some part of the mines and also ruins of the village.
To know more about Iwami Ginzan, please check the article here.
This gorge stands on Kando River and the strange looking rocks which are 100-200 meters high spread 1 km long. There are the rocks called Turtle Rock, Hat Rock, Candle Rock and so on.
Mountain cherry blossom in spring, fresh green in summer, colorful autumn leaves in autumn and snow covering the gorge in winter, each season has its own beautiful view.
Take an Onsen hot spring with a view of gorge after enjoying a walk around there!
It is one of the oldest Onsen which opened in Nara period (710-784). It is known as its Onsen water has a good effect on skin, and many people visit here to get a beautiful skin!
There is a place you can bring back the water in your bottle. At Yuyakushi Hiroba Tarai Yu, scoop the water from the basin with ladle and put some water in your bottle and you can use it as a toner. Please note that it is not allowed to put in your hand nor drink water from it.
You can find many interesting spots such as shrine, bridge and temple related to beautiful skin and marriage luck around the area, so enjoy Onsen and also don’t forget to explore the area!
Zuikozan Kiyomizu Temple
After walking among the dense trees, you can get to Kiyomizu Temple. It is dedicated to Eleven-Headed Kannon and opened in 587. It is known as the temple to ward off bad luck. The highlight of the temple is three storied pagoda. You can get inside of three storied pagoda and climb to the third floor but it is dark and narrow inside and the ladder is very steep. If you have a courage to move through, you can see the gorgeous mountain view!
9am-5pm (Apr. – Oct.), 9am-4:30 (Nov. – Mar.)
Close: December 1st to the end of March
Admission fee(Three storied pagoda): 500 yen (Adult) 300 yen (Junior high/high school students) 100 yen (Elementary school students)
There is a tall white lighthouse which is built in 1903, and with the height of 63.30 meters, it is the tallest light house in Japan. Blight white color and blue color of sky and sea looked beautiful together.
There are souvenir shops and restaurants along the street to the lighthouse, enjoy the sushi bowl which made of some fresh seafood!
It enshrines Izanaminomikoto who is a deity of the creation of the land and other gods. The legend says she created many gods who are related to islands, houses and nature and when she created a god of fire, she passed away. Since it enshrines a deity of the creation, people visit there to pray for a safe delivery, matchmaking and business prosperity.
This is the oldest shrine with Taishazukuri, which is the oldest Shinto shrine architectural style.
Where to stay in Shimane
Takenoya Ryokan ― Only 200 meters away from Izumo Taisha, traditional meal course Kaiseki will be served at dinner, you can enjoy dining with a view of the beautiful garden.
Hotel Gyokusen ― If you want to try Onsen hot spring, staying here is the best choice. Enjoy the spacious room and spend some relaxing time!
KIAN ― Japanese comfortable traditional style guest house with friendly host, there is a tea room in the gust house so you can join the tea ceremony when they have lesson!
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