With the majority of visitors to the southwest of Japan making a beeline for Osaka and Hiroshima, the rural prefecture of Shimane tucked away between the Chugoku Mountains and the Sea of Japan remains a hidden gem. The small number of visitors makes Shimane a great place to escape the crowds while discovering a region steeped in history and centuries-old folklore.

  • 01

    Tsuwano

    Cut through a valley in the very west of Shimane Prefecture, Tsuwano is a peaceful and picturesque town that boasts mystical castle ruins, traditional architecture, and numerous shrines and temples. Tonomachi Street marks the centre of the town with its trademark white lattice wall designs and old samurai residences lined with a koi carp-filled stream. For the best route into the town, jump on the SL Yamaguchi-go from Yuda Onsen to experience the scenic Shimane countryside as the locals did 100 years ago.

  • 02

    Yunotsu Onsen

    Yunotsu Onsen

    Yunotsu Onsen

    If there’s one thing not to miss in Shimane it’s the steaming hot waters of Yunotsu Onsen. This unassuming little port town is found in the centre of the prefecture just a short distance from the popular Iwami Ginzan silver mine. Noted for its extra hot natural spring water, there are few places as relaxing as the quiet town’s two public baths.

    Yunotsu Onsen

    Yunotsu Onsen

    Taking pride in its continuation of traditional Japanese customs, Shimane is one of the only places that continues the old ritual Kagura performances on a regular basis. Yunotsu Onsen is at the heart of this with performances taking place almost every Saturday night between 8 and 9pm.

  • 03

    Matsue

    Matsue

    Matsue

    Matsue is the prefectural capital of Shimane found in the northeast of the prefecture with the neighbouring Tottori Prefecture just a stone’s throw away. Sandwiched between two lakes, Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi, and with the Sea of Japan to the north, Matsue is often referred to as the City of Water. Home to one of the nation’s only remaining original castles, Matsue still carries the atmosphere of a castle town with canals lining the streets which lead up to the castle in its commanding position on the hillside. While Lake Shinji is perhaps the prettiest of the city’s lakes, Lake Nakaumi is a must-visit for those wishing to see one of the world’s most unusually shaped bridges, Eshima Ohashi.

  • 04

    Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

    Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

    Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

    Back in the 17th century, Japan was the largest producer of silver in the world and much of that production was thanks to the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine located in the centre of Shimane Prefecture. The mine was in use between 1526 to 1923 and played a big role in strengthening trade between the East and the West. These days, visitors can climb inside one part of the mine before enjoying the fantastic countryside that the old mine is surrounded by. The remaining mining town, Omori, is home to cafes and souvenir shops as well as pretty walks past quaint bridges and temples.

  • 05

    Visit Izumo Taisha Shrine

    Visit Izumo Taisha Shrine

    Visit Izumo Taisha Shrine

    The colossal Izumo Taisha Shrine is believed to be the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan and consequently one of the most important shrines in the history of the country. Legend has it that the eight million gods have gathered at Izumo Taisha every year for centuries under order of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. This annual meeting is marked by the Kamiari Festival which takes place every November and is preceded by the Kannazuki Festival in October.

    Tsuwano
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Yudaonsen
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref
    Steam Locomotive Yamaguchi
    place
    Yamaguchi ken Yamaguchi city Oguri
    phone
    0570002486
    opening-hour
    Request inquiry※ Mainly to …
    Yunotsu Onsen
    place
    Shimane Oda-shi Yunotsucho Yunotsu
    phone
    0855652065
  • Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine World Heritage Site
    place
    Shimane Pref. Odashi Omorichou
    phone
    0854889950
    Matsue
    place
    Shimane Pref
    Lake Shinji
    place
    Matsue, Shimane Prefecture
    Eshima Ohashi Bridge
    place
    Sakai City, Tottori Prefecture
    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…

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