Chugoku/Shikoku

Shimane, the home of Japan’s ancient myths: the course where visitors feel flowing of mythical energy. They can heal and refresh themselves.

In the Izumo area where many ancient myths of Japan’s deities have been passed from generation to generation, there are many classical locations where mythical energy is thought to be flowing (which are called “power spots” in Japan). The Tamatsukuri-onsen has been one of Japan’s three major hot springs since the Heian period (8C – 12C). Matsue, a city of water facing Lake Shinji-ko, is a castle town with a graceful culture, and visitors can feel refined elegance of “Japan’s harmonious feeing” still remaining there.
Accordingly, the Izumo area has many historic and classical sites which still retain the atmosphere of the ancient, medieval and modern periods.
In the Izumo area, visitors can enjoy a variety of delicious foods, including “Izumo-soba” which is one of Japan’s three major buckwheat noodles, fresh sea foods, and rare delicacies called “Shinji-ko-shicchin” which are fish and shellfish caught from Lake Sinji-ko and cooked. Along with Kyoto and Kanazawa, castle town Matsue is also famous for its Japanese-style shops serving Japanese green tea and sweets.

Shimane, the home of Japan’s ancient myths: the course where visitors feel flowing of mythical energy. They can heal and refresh themselves.

Complete Process :Three days and two nights
Haneda Airport
Travel Time:About 90 min

AirplaneAirplane:About 90 min

Izumo Enmusubi Airport「(meaning Izumo Airport of Romantic Fate).
Travel Time:About 35 min

BusBus:About 35 min

Izumo Oyashiro Grand Shrinepic
Shinmon-dori Streetpic
Travel Time:About 80 min

TrainTrain:About 80 min

inn Tamatsukuri-onsen Hot Springpic
Travel Time:About 50 min

BusBus:About 50 min

Adachi Museum of Artpic
Travel Time:About 65 min

BusBus:About 20 min

TrainTrain:About 25 min

BusBus:About 20 min

Yaegaki-jinja Shrinepic
Travel Time:About 25 min

WalkWalk:About 25 min

Kamosu-jinja Shrinepic
Travel Time:About 30 min

BusBus:About 25 min

WalkWalk:About 5 min

“Hakucho” Shinji-ko Pleasure Boatpic
Travel Time:About 20 min

WalkWalk:About 5 min

BusBus:About 15 min

inn Matsue Shinji-ko-onsen Hot Springpic
Travel Time:About 20 min

WalkWalk:About 20 min

Matsue-jo Castlepic
Shimane Prefectural Products and Tourist Centerpic
Matsue Kyomise Shopping Districtpic
Travel Time:About 60 min

WalkWalk:About 15 min

BusBus:About 45 min

Izumo Enmusubi Airport
Travel Time:About 80 min

AirplaneAirplane:About 80 min

Haneda Airport

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Introduction to Spots
Izumo Oyashiro Grand Shrine
The Izumo-taisha grand shrine is famous for its enshrining a deity of matching and fortune, and is indeed a Shinto shrine having a long history as its foundation is described in “Kojiki” which is said to be Japan’s oldest history record.
According to a myth called Kuniyuzuri and recorded in the “Kojiki” oldest record, a deity called Okuninushi-no-okami transferred his land to Amaterasu-omikami, a great deity in Takamagahara, and a shrine called Amanohisuminomiya was built for Okuninushi-no-okami. The Amanohisuminomiya shrine later became the Izumo-taisha grand shrine.
Because the Izumo-taisha grand shrine enshrines “Okuninushi-no-okami,” a deity known to preside over all bonds and relations in the world, the grand shrine is popular among young women and couples who expect the deity’s blessing to them.
・ Izumo-taisha Shrine Office HP: http://www.izumooyashiro.or.jp/
・ Holidays: None (open every day).
・ Visiting Hours: 6:00 to 20:00 from March to October, and 6:30 to 20:00 from November to February.
・ Location: 195 Taishacho-kizuki-higashi, Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan
・ TEL: 0853-53-3100
・ Entrance Fee: Free to enter the great shrine’s precincts.
Enterance to a museum called homotsu-den/shoko-kan and to see the great shrine’s repositories: JPY300 (adult); JPY200 (university, high school students); JPY100 (school children, middle high): Free (younger than school children)
Shinmon-dori Street
A street called Shinmon-dori, which starts from the Izumo-taisha grand shrine’s main gate, is a commercial area consisting of a variety of shops. There are restaurants, places to visit and souvenir shops, including restaurants which serve Izumo-soba Japanese buckwheat noodles and other local specialty foods, those which serve sweet red-bean soup with pieces of rice cake (called “zenzai” in Japan and thought to be corrupted from “jinzai” which means a deity exists) , various crafts for match making and classic station buildings.
・ Jinja-dori Omotenashi Kyodokumiai HP (cooperative association): http://www.izumo-enmusubi.org/
・ Location: 775-11 Taishacho-kizuki-minami, Izumo-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0853-53-6031
Tamatsukuri-onsen Hot Spring
The Tamatsukuri-onsen hot spring is well known as a holy hot spring because it is said to be opened in the Nara period (8C) and discovered by one of Japan’s deities called “Sukunabikona-no-mikoto,” and famous for its effects to make the skin beautiful.
The term of “Tamatsukuri” is derived from the fact that ancient people used good-quality blue agates dug there to produce comma-shaped beads (magatama in Japanese) for their livings. ((Note) the term of Tama in “Tamatsukuri” means magatama in Japanese).
In a crafts shop called “Izumo Magatama-no Sato,” visitors can buy magatama crafts and experience how to make them.
・ “Izumo Magatame-no Sato” HP: http://www.magatama-sato.com/
・ Location: 1755-1 Tamayuchoyumachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane-kent
・ Holidays: None (open every day)
・ Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:30
・ Fees: JPY800 or higher for a magatama making course
・ TEL: 0852-62-2288
Adachi Museum of Art
The Adachi Museum of Art has collected more than 1500 famous Japanese-style modern and contemporary paintings made by YOKOYAMA, Taikan and other Japanese artists. In the museum’s 165,000 square meter Japanese-style garden, visitors can enjoy beautiful view changing from season to season in the Dry Landscape Garden (kare-sansui-tei in Japanese), the White Gravel and Pine Garden (hakusa-seisho-tei in Japanese), the Moss Garden (koke-niwa in Japanese), the Pond Garden (ike-niwa in Japanese) and other places.
The Journal of Japanese Gardening, a U.S. magazine specialized in Japanese-style gardens, ranked the museum’s Japanese-style garden as the best in Japan for 12 consecutive years, and “Michelin Green Guide Japan” and “Guides Bleus Japon,” both of which are French travel guide books, rated the garden with “three stars.”
・ Adachi Museum of Art HP: https://www.adachi-museum.or.jp/
・ Holidays: None (open every day)
・ Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:30 from April to September, and 9:00 to 17:00 from October to March
・ Location: 320 Furukawa-cho, Yasug-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0854-28-7111
・ Entrance Fees: JPY2,300 (adult); JPY1,800 (university students); JPY1,000 (high school students); JPY500 (school children); discounts for foreign visitors
Yaegaki-jinja Shrine
The Yaegaki-jinja shrine enshrines the married couple deities of “Susanoo-no-mikoto” (male) and “Inatahimenomikoto” (female) as its main deities.
It is said that Susanoo-no-mikoto slayed a giant serpent with 8 heads and 8 tails to save Kushinada-hime-no-mikoto from the serpent as described in a myth titled “Yamata-no-orochi.” Because the shrine is located where the couple set up its new home, the shrine is well known as one for matchmaking.
In the shrine’s repository building (homotsu-den in Japanese), there is a wall painting which illustrates the couple, and is said as one of the oldest wall paintings in Japan.
In a pond called “kagami-no-ike” at the shrine’s backyard, it is popular for visitors to try fortune telling trials, under which they put coins on Japanese papers for fortune telling and float them on the pond’s surface. It is said that the faster the paper sinks, the faster good matchmaking will realize.
・ Location: 227 Sakusa-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0852-21-1148
・ Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
・ Holidays: None
・ Entrance Fees: Free to worship and bow. JPY200 to visit the shrine’s homotsu-den
Kamosu-jinja Shrine
The Kamosu-jinja shrine is one with the oldest architectural style for Shinto shrines (e.g. used at Izumo shrine) called taisha-zukuri, and enshrines two deities, Izanami and Izanagi.
The two deities appear frequently in many myths all over Japan. They are married deities famous for their giving birth to many lands and deities, and are worshiped as creator deities.
A legend tells that Ameno-hohino-mikoto flew down from Takamagahara riding on a pot and landed on the land upon the order of Amaterasu-omikami.
In the shrine’s precinct, there is one called Kama-no-yashiro which enshrines a holy pot called “kami-no-kama” in Japanese.
・ Location: 563 Oba-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken
・ Open Hours: 9:00 to 16:00
・ TEL: 0852-21-6379
・ Entrance Fee: Free
“Hakucho” Shinji-ko Pleasure Boat
Onboard the “Hakucho” Shinji-ko pleasure boat, visitors can view and enjoy beautiful sceneries of water city Matsue from the Shinji-ko lake.
Especially, the sun setting over the Shinji-ko lake is one of the most beautiful views in Japan, and is one of Matsue’s natural heritages, being selected as one of the top 100 sunset views in Japan.
It is popular to use a sunset cruising service onboard Hakucho to view the sunset floating on the lake more richly than to watch the sunset at the lake’s shore.
・ Hakucho Kanko HP: http://hakuchougo.jp/
・ TEL: 0852-24-3218
・ Location: 150-7 Higashiasahi-machi, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken, Japan
・ Business Hours: 9:30 to sunset
・ Holidays: Operating daily in principle from March to November, and operating only on weekends in winter but operating even on a weekday if reservation is made with a group of more than 10 people (from December to February)
・ Fees: (Charges to get onboard) JPY1450 (adult); JPY720 (school children); 10% discount for a group of 15 people or more, and discount for foreign passengers
Matsue Shinji-ko-onsen Hot Spring
The Matsue Shinji-ko-onsen hot spring is one with 77℃ hot water coming from the 1250 m deep underground, and with the plenty volume of hot water having good effect on health.
This is a hot spring street facing Shinji-ko, and visitors can enjoy beautiful sceneries changing from season to season. Furthermore, they can enjoy local rare delicacies called “Shinji-ko-shicchin” made by cooking fish and shellfish naturally grown in Sinji-ko.
・ Union of Matsue Shinji-ko-onsen: http://www.matsue-yado.com/spa/
・ Location: 59 Chidori-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken, Japan
・ TEL: 0852-21-7889
Matsue-jo Castle
The Matsue-jo castle was built in 1611. The castle has one of the 12 major castle towers existing in Japan, and is designated as one of Japan’s national treasures.
The castle’s roof is splendid, looking like fully spread wings of a plover (chidori in Japanese), and such a style is called “irimoya hafu” in Japan. Hence, the castle is also nicknamed “chidori-jo.”
Materials related to the city of Matsue and the castle of Matsue-jo are exhibited in the castle, and the castle’s top floor functions as a watchtower (bouro in Japanese) where visitors can enjoy the city’s panoramic view.
Furthermore, the Matsue Shiroyama (meaning a castle hill in Japanese) Park, where the castle is located, is selected as one of the “top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. There are about 200 cherry trees in the park, and visitors can enjoy cherry blossoms lit-up in the night when the cherry trees are in full bloom.
・ Matsue Shiroyama Office HP: http://www.matsue-tourism.or.jp/m_castle/
・ Location: 1-5 Tono-machi, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0852-21-4030
・ Castle Donjon Opening Hours: 7:00 to 19:30 from April 1 to September 30, and 8:30 to 17:00 from October 1 to March 31.
・ Castle Tower Entrance Hours: 8:30 to 18:30 (visitors must check in by 18:00) from April 1 to September 30, and 8:30 to 17:00 (visitors must check in by 16:30) from October 1 to March 31
・ Entrance Fees: (Castle Tower Entrance Fee) JPY560 (adult); JPY280 (school children or younger); discounted fees for foreigners
Shimane Prefectural Products and Tourist Center
The Shimane Prefectural Products and Tourist Center gathers whole regional products from various regions in Shimane Prefecture. There are various goods in the center all of which visitors will surely to buy, such as traditional crafts for souvenirs, foods, sake, and ceramics, as well as regional products which visitors can only buy and obtain in the center.
There is an exhibition room on the center’s second floor, and visitors can see from where regional products come (such as cities, towns and villages).
・ Shimane Bussan Kyokai HP: http://www.shimane-bussan.or.jp/
・ Location: 191 Tono-machi, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0852-22-5758
・ Opening Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
・ Holidays: December 31 to January 1
Matsue Kyomise Shopping District
The Matsue Kyomise Shopping District is an area whose feature is to make visitors feel like as if they were in Kyoto because it is said that the district was first created in the Edo era (17-19C) to welcome a princess coming from Kyoto to marry Matsue’s domain lord. There is a secret spot for matchmaking in the shopping district with a beautiful stone-flagged street.
There is a Western-style complex called “KARAKORO Art Studio (kobo in Japanese)” where visitors can experience how to make accessories using magatama (comma-shaped beads) and how to cook Japanese sweets.
The shopping district also has other attractive places visitors can only find in Matsue. For example, there are a heat-shaped mythical stone on the stone-flagged street where visitors pray for nice matchmaking, and a post colored pink about which it is said that if visitors take their photos with the post, they will become happy.
・ Matsue Kyomise Shopping District HP: http://www.mable.ne.jp/~kyo-mise/
・ Location: 50 Suetsuguhonmachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken
・ TEL: 0852-26-5610 (9:00 to 17:00 on weekdays)