• Shimane is a long and narrow prefecture located in the central Chugoku Region, which it shares with Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, and Hiroshima. As a traveler in Japan being used to convenient transportation via Shinkansen, one might expect that getting to Shimane’s main sightseeing spots is as easy as jumping on the Shinkansen in Tokyo and getting off at say, Matsue Station in the prefectural capital, yet, without a direct Shinkansen connection from the big cities into this beautiful prefecture, extra planning is a must to ensure a smooth trip around this area. Nonetheless, Shimane provides some interesting options for moving around, with some of these adding a touch of excitement to the trip.

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    When traveling from Tokyo, the fastest way to get into Shimane is flying. The prefecture is serviced by two regional airports, Izumo Airport and Hagi-Iwami Airport, with JAL handling the flights to the former and ANA operating those into the latter. At these airports you won’t find the perks found at major airports, but you can count on being in an out in no time. When traveling to either Izumo Taisha or Matsue Castle, Izumo airport is the one to use. From the airport a short taxi ride will connect you to the San’in Line trains and from there you are off. Bus and rental car agencies are also available from this point if you would rather make use of these options. If visiting Tsuwano and the Iwami-Ginzan mine, flying into Hagi-Iwami Airport is the preferred alternative. As the name suggests it is also close to Hagi City in Yamaguchi and can also be the starting point for a trip to Chugoku’s tip.

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    As with other far to reach prefectures in Japan, driving is one of the best alternatives for getting around Shimane. Although the prefecture is serviced by both the San’in and Yamaguchi Line trains, the trains schedules are not as frequent as one might expect, especially when traveling to the smaller and more picturesque towns. Also, when flying into the prefecture, most major car rental companies have airport counters and driving directly from the airport to your destination is smoother than waiting for buses or taxis to connect to the train. If you opt for renting a car, we recommend you follow the San’in route, either along the San’in Expressway or Route 9 which is the more picturesque of the two, and traverse the prefecture through the mountains and along the coast from Tsuwano to Matsue or even beyond.

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Of course you are traveling around Japan, and although the Shinkansen does not travel through Shimane, there are still various options to move around via train. The Yakumo Limited Express train connects Okayama Station and the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line with the cities of Matsue and Izumo. This train not only looks good but it is the fastest rail option in the prefecture.

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Beyond the express trains, you must look for the orange Ichibata trains that will get you around to the small towns and inside the cities. This is when the train times become less frequent, and extra time should be added to your travel schedule. Keep in mind also that quite often these are one or two-car trains and where to stand on the platform to board the train is another element to consider. To reach Izumo Taisha, the Taisha Line will get you right within walking distance of the second torii gate.

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    Getting Around Shimane Prefecture

    One train that must be ridden should you have the time is the SL Yamaguchi-go steam engine locomotive. As the name implies, this is a feature of Yamaguchi Prefecture yet one of the major stops is in Tsuwano, a major destination in Shimane Prefecture. This stunning locomotive was taken out of operation during the Showa Era modernization drive but was brought back into operation in the late 70s by popular demand. Riding through the mountains on this beauty is an exciting way to complete your adventure in Shimane Prefecture.

    Matsue
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Izumo Airport
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Iwami Airport
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Izumo Oyashiro
    rating

    3.5

    3 Reviews
    place
    Shimane Pref. Izumoshi Taishachoukidukihigashi 195
    phone
    0853533100
    opening-hour
    [Mar.-Oct.]6:00-20:00[Nov.-F…
  • Matsue Castle
    rating

    4.5

    1440 Reviews
    place
    Shimane Pref. Matsueshi Tonomachi 1-5
    phone
    0852214030
    opening-hour
    8:30-18:00(Last entry)[Oct.-…
    Tsuwano
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine World Heritage Site
    place
    Shimane Pref. Odashi Omorichou
    phone
    0854889950

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