Formerly famous writer Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) lived in Matsue in Shimane prefecture and loved this land very much. In Shimane prefecture, a beautiful world that attracts people is left. On this page, I will introduce you to a particularly wonderful tourist destination in Shimane Prefecture.
Table of Contents
Outline of Shimane
Shimane Prefecture is situated in Chugoku region’s northwest, and faces the Sea of Japan. Generally, the area along the Sea of Japan in Chugoku District is called “San’in”, so Shimane Prefecture belongs to San’in area.
There is Shimane Peninsula in the northwestern part of this prefecture. Lake Nakaumi and Lake Shinji are between the mainland and this peninsula. You will find Oki Islands around 70-100 km north of Shimane Peninsula.
It is convenient to utilize JR via Yonago in Tottori Prefecture from Okayama to visit Shimane Prefecture by railroad.
Shimane prefecture has three airports. Izumo Airport in the eastern part of the prefecture, Iwami Airport (also called Hagi-Iwami Airport) in the western part of the prefecture, and Oki airport in Oki Islands.
Izumo Airport is situated on the west coast of Lake Shinji. It is also convenient to stop by Izumo and Matsue cities.
Iwami Airport is situated around 5 km west of Masuda city.
Oki Airport is situated at the south shore of Dougo Island in Oki Islands.
Matsue is Shimane Prefecture’s capital city. Matsue is famous for its beautiful sunsets over Lake Shinji.
This city prides itself on being the home of Lafcadio Hearn, who became to take citizenship by Koizumi Yakumo’s name. Matsue and its neighboring areas are rich in sites, and several of the legends of Japan are set in the region.
Situated South of Lake Shinji is Tamatsukuri Onsen. Located across the north side of Lake Shinji are just two parks, Matsue Vogel Park and Matsue English Garden, which are available by the Ichibata line.
Situated in the Shimane Peninsula’s tip is Mihonoseki’s harbour. Daikonshima, a flat volcanic island located in Center of Lake Nakaumi, is the Japan’s biggest producer of peonies and is home to a beautiful Japanese garden, Yuushien.
Matsue Castle is one of the few castles where old buildings of the time when it was built have been left. The building of Matsue Castle was built in 1611.
>> For details about Matsue Castle please see this article
Adachi Museum of Art
Adachi Museum of Art is famous for its Japanese garden and Japanese painting collection. The Japanese garden of Adachi Museum of Art is evaluated as the best in Japan by the Japanese garden specialty magazine in the United States. Adachi Museum of Art is also known to have collected 130 pieces of masterpieces of Taikan Yokoyma.
This museum is located on the country side far from the railway station, but still a lot of tourists come to this museum. Regarding Adachi Museum of Art, I have already introduced in an article about museums.
>> For details of Adachi Art Museum please see this article
Izumo Taisha Shrine
The Izumo Taisha Shrine in Izumo City is a shrine representing Japan, along with Ise Shrine etc. Today, there are so many tourists visiting Izumo Taisha.
Izumo Taisha Shrine is said to be “the god of marriage”. For this reason, the popularity of young lady tourists is also high. Route to visit Izumo Taisha from Izumo Airport and then sightseeing Adachi Art Museum and Matsue city is common. There are many people who eat crusty soba “Izumo soba”, and in winter, eat crabs harvested in the Sea of Japan.
The current main shrine was built in 1744. It has a height of about 24 meters. According to legend, in the ancient times, the main hall was said to have been 96 meters high. It is said that the main hall was 48 meters high during the Heian period (794 – 1185). There are pros and cons for these legends. Even now, various investigations about ancient Izumo shrine are under way.
Next to Izumo Taisha Shrine, there is the Shimane Ancient Izumo Museum. Ancient bronze bell-shaped vessel excavated in the Izumo area are exhibited. Audio guide in English is equipped, please drop in by all means.
>> Please see this article about Izumo Taisha
>> Please see the official site of Izumo City for details of Izumo Taisha
In Shimane prefecture there is an old Japanese atmosphere before modernization. In addition to major tourist destinations such as Izumo Taisha and Adachi Art Museum, I recommend to you that you can stop by the country side where the old Japanese atmosphere remains.
The Okuizumo area is a mountain area south of Izumo Airport about an hour by car. “Okuzumo” means deep inside Izumo. The old Japanese life and culture remain in this area. Until around 100 years ago, this area flourished in the steel industry called traditional “tatara”. Even now, “Tatara” steelmaking is running in winter.
From Izumo City to Okuzumo, JR runs the tourist train called “Okuzumi Orochi” except for winter.
>> For details of Okuzumo please visit the official website
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine are a mine ruin spread around Oda city. It can be classified into 3 areas, namely mining and mine city, Trails and Port and port city. In the 16th century, roughly 1/3 of silver traded in the world was mined in Japan, major portion of which is said to have been produced in Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine.
>> For details of Iwami Ginzan please visit the official website
The Oki Islands are a group of islands in the north of Honshu Island. Dogo Island is about 30 minutes by plane from Izumo airport, or three and a half hours by ferry from Sakaiminato.
The islands have been designated as a UNESCO World Geopark in 2013. The Oki Islands are mountainous, and are volcanic, created from the Sea of Japan, with spectacular. Even though the islands have been through history, mountainous terrain and their isolation have helped preserved customs and ancient civilizations, many of that have disappeared in other portions of Japan. It’s uncertain when the islands were found, however obsidian dug by those islands was used to make tools and traded particularly approximately the Chuugoku Region since ancient times.
>> For details of the Oki Islands, please refer to the official website
Masuda is a town on the Japan Sea coast of Shimane Prefecture, close to the boundary with Yamaguchi Prefecture, and with unspoiled mountains nearby.
On the outskirts of Masuda City, there is the Shimane Arts Center (nickname = Grand Toit)”.
The Iwami Art Museum is a part of Grand Toit, and holds frequent special exhibitions on the history of the area.
The Iwami Arts Theater is also part of the Grand Toit, and is the place mainly for music performances, from conventional to classic to rock and pop.
From the coast of Masuda city you can look at the beautiful setting sun. There is also a lodging place boasting an open-air bath that enters while watching the setting sun.
>> For details of Masuda please see the official website
Thank you for reading to the end.
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