Roots of Japan

Shimane

Shimane is home to the Izumo Taisha shrine, the gathering place of the gods.It is also popular destination for female or solo travelers due to the number of matchmaking and lucky in love spots in the area.Shimane is easily accessible by air via Izumo Airport, Iwami Airport or Oki Airport.Let's check out the interesting things that can be found in this prefecture.

Shimane has an approximate area of 6,708㎢ and an estimated population of 680,000 people.It is the second least populous prefecture in Japan, after Tottori.Facing the Sea of Japan, it is a region with a thriving fishing industry.While there has been a decline in agriculture, there are still many local specialty products such as melon, grapes and rice etc.Shimane has a Sea of Japan climate but as it is located in the southwest, it is relatively mild.The area has high humidity levels and receives significant rainfall.Consequently, many days are cloudy or rainy rather than sunny.It is not classified as a heavy snowfall area, so even if it does snow, there won’t be much.

The famous Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane is considered to be the gathering place of the gods.October in Japan is known as Kannazuki, or "the month without the gods."It is said that the gods from all over Japan come together at Izumo Taisha shrine during this time.So, in Shimane, October is called Kamiarizuki, or "month with the gods."Let's take a look at some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Shimane.
1/ Izumo Taisha Shrine
2/ Hinomisaki Shrine
3/ Matsue Castle
4/ Yaegaki Shrine
5/ Tamatsukuriyu Shrine
6/ Shimane Art Museum
7/ Shimane Winery
8/ Iwami Ginzan (historic silver mine)
9/ Nima Sand Museum
10/ Adachi Museum of Art

The Izumo / Matsue area, with its high concentration of spots that can boost one’s luck in love, is a popular destination with solo female travelers.At Yaegaki shrine, you will find the Mirror Pond. Here you can place a coin on top of special fortune-telling paper and the length of time and distance it takes to sink is believed to be a prediction of how long it will take you to find your soulmate.Many visitors come to try their luck at this unique style of fortune telling.12 statues known as the 'Shinji-ko Rabbits' can be found on the lawn outside at the Shimane Art Museum.It is said that the second rabbit from the lake brings happiness, so come and give it a pat.If the weather is nice, you will also be able to see a magnificent sunset over Lake Shinji.So, we recommend visiting the Shimane Art Museum and Lake Shinji in the evening.The Nima Sand Museum contains the world's biggest hourglass, called a “sandglass” in Japan.One ton of sand flows through this impressive sandglass in the course of a year. It’s definitely a must-see!

The Oki islands in Shimane are made up of Dogo island, Chiburishima Island, Nishinoshima Island and Nakanoshima Island.Let’s take a look at what can be found on these remote islands.
1/ Rosoku (Candle) Island
2/ Dangyo Falls
3/ Fukuura Tunnels
4/ Mt. Akahage
5/ Sekiheki (Red Cliff)
6/ Matengai Cliff
7/ Kuniga beach
8/ Mt. Kinkoji
9/ Akiya Coastline
10/ Oki Nature Museum

Rosoku (Candle) Island is visible from Dogo Island. When the setting sun rests at the tip of the 20m high candle-shaped rock, the island sparkles as if a giant candle has been lit.Make sure to visit this amazing spot in the evening.Matengai Cliff found in Nishinoshima is a massive 257m high sheer cliff!The breathtaking views will leave you lost for words.Come and experience it for yourself!

Next, let's take a look at some of Shimane's best cherry blossom spots.These spectacular locations are definitely worth checking out if you visit in spring.
1/ Matsue Jozan Park
2/ Yasugi Park
3/ Atagoyama Park
4/ Hiikawa Riverbank
5/ Mitoya Riverbed
Festivals are held during the cherry blossom season at Matsue Jozan Park.It’s the perfect spot to enjoy stunning views of cherry blossoms against the background of Matsue Castle, a national treasure.

When visiting Matsue city, drop by to enjoy this truly unique scene.As the park is lit up at night, it is recommended to visit twice, once in the daytime and once at night so you can enjoy the changes in scenery. Taking a relaxing stroll under the cherry blossoms that line the 2 km Hikawa riverbank must be the picture of luxury.Chosen as one of the top 100 cherry blossoms spots in Japan, it's not to be missed.

Let’s now look at some places where we can enjoy beautiful autumn colors.Venture out and enjoy the bright hues of autumn!
1/ Gakuenji Temple
2/ Itohara Memorial Museum
3/ Kiyomizu Park
4/ Yae Falls
5/ Adachi Museum of Art

Legend says the famous monk Benkei trained at Gakuenji Temple.You will be captivated by the sight of stunning autumn colors spreading out before you as you walk along the path to the main hall.Add Gakuenji Temple to your plans, where visitors can walk through a tunnel of autumn foliage.At the Adachi Museum of Art, which houses a collection of modern Japanese art, the garden is also a wonderful place to soak up autumn’s masterpiece of color.Appreciate the works on exhibition inside the museum, but do take some time to enjoy the garden scenery, too.

As well as being full of beautiful scenery and places where one can try increasing their luck in love, Shimane is also the place to enjoy relaxing hot springs.Indulge in a trip where you explore during the daytime and relax your body in the evening.Here are the top hot springs (onsen) in Shimane:
1/ Tamatsukuri Onsen
2/ Matsue Shinjiko Onsen
3/ Mimata Onsen
4/ Arifuku Onsen
5/ Yunotsu Onsen

An easily accessible onsen for solo female travelers visiting Matsue would be the Matsue Shinjiko Onsen.Located on the shores of Lake Shinji, the gorgeous views are yet another attraction.The uniquely named Yunotsu Onsen (the first two characters in the name also mean “hot spring”) had its beginnings when, according to legend, the god of matchmaking rescued a sick rabbit by bathing it in the hot spring water. We recommend stopping by after visiting the nearby Iwami Ginzan (historic silver mine).

Next, we’d like to highlight Shimane’s local cuisine.One of the main reasons to travel is to taste lots of delicious local food!Experience some of Shimane’s tasty local dishes while you are out exploring.
1/ Izumo Soba
2/ Matsue Ramen
3/ Shijimijiru (Shijimi clam soup)
4/ Botebotecha Tea
5/ Wani no Sashimi

Izumo Soba is a must-try when visiting Izumo Taisha and the surrounding Izumo area.Izumo soba is made using a special process where whole buckwheat is ground to flour along with the outer shell. The noodles are chewy and the natural sweetness of the buckwheat is preserved.Try Shijimijiru, made from the great number of Shijimi clams that are harvested from Lake Shinji.As “wani” means crocodile in Japanese, perhaps some people imagine Wani Sashimi to be made from raw crocodile.But the “wani” here refers to shark meat.Because shark meat keeps fresher longer, it could be eaten as sashimi by people living far away from the ocean. This custom remains even today.It’s tender and light flavor make it popular, too.

Shimane, gathering place of the gods, is full of interesting things to see and do.It’s many matchmaking spots make it a popular destination for female travelers looking for luck in love.If you have time, you might want to hop over to the Oki Islands, too.Imprint the stunning natural beauty into your memory.Make the most of your time in Shimane by adding a visit to a hot spring and try out the local cuisine.Visit Shimane and feel its power!

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.