A Day Trip to Tsuwano


2018.01.23

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Tsuwano is a charming little town in the very south of Shimane Prefecture within walking distance of Yamaguchi Prefecture. The town’s compact centre is a blessing as the town’s diverse attractions can easily be visited in a day. Tick off temple visits, views, and a taste of locally brewed sake on a trip around Tsuwano.

  • 01

    Tonomachi Street

    Tonomachi Street

    Tonomachi Street

    Arriving into Tsuwano Station brings you straight into the town centre with Tonomachi Street at the heart of it. This quaint little street has been preserved with old architecture including white latticed namako kabe wall designs and a number of samurai houses which were lived in hundreds of years ago when Tsuwano was a functioning castle town. The horiwari, narrow water canals, that line the side of the street are full with an estimated 20,000 koi carp, whose shimmering scales look most striking when contrasting with the violet irises that come out in early summertime. Starting the day off with a stroll down Tonomachi Street, this is the time for a coffee break and some window shopping to ease you into the day.

  • 02

    Taikodani Inari Shrine

    Taikodani Inari Shrine

    Taikodani Inari Shrine

    Following Tonomachi Street south will lead you all the way to the eye-catching Taikodani Inari Shrine. The red Shinto shrine and its 1,000 or more torii gates are surprisingly significant for such a small town, said to be one of the most important inari shrines in the country. Visitors are rewarded for the 15-minute assent through the red gates with a huge shrine building where people pray for good luck in life and business. Climb a little higher and you’re granted with views over the red-roofed buildings of Tsuwano and the encircling rolling hills.

    Taikodani Inari Shrine

    Taikodani Inari Shrine

  • 03

    Tsuwano Castle Ruins

    Tsuwano Castle Ruins

    Tsuwano Castle Ruins

    Back in its heyday Tsuwano Castle was located in a commanding position high above the rest of the town. Constructed in the 12th century, the castle was never rebuilt after Tsuwano ceased to be a castle town and now just the ruins remain. A short walk from Taikodani Inari Shrine, Tsuwano Castle chair lift takes visitors up to the top of the hill in a few minutes, however, at just 200 metres the hill can be scaled in under 20 minutes if you’re ready to face a steep climb. The hillside reflects the changing seasons and offers fantastic panoramic views over the Tsuwano valley. For a different perspective, climb one of the surrounding hills in order to take in the whole of the castle ruins which, weather permitted, often sit in a mysterious bed of clouds.

  • 04

    Takasago Sake Brewery Museum

    Takasago Sake Brewery Museum

    Takasago Sake Brewery Museum

    Climbing back down from the castle ruins you’ll come to Takasago Sake Brewery Museum which sits in the very south of the town. The brewery has a 700-year-old history and has been used as a place to store sake since the Edo period. Visitors can step inside to learn more about the history of local sake brewing through an exhibition of old tools and pots that were used for sake production hundreds of years ago. Coming directly from the factory behind the museum, the inhouse shop sells locally brewed favourites including Takasago and Ogai sake which can be tasted on request.

  • 05

    Minoya Cafe Restaurant

    Minoya Cafe Restaurant

    Minoya Cafe Restaurant

    On your way back to the train station be sure to stop off at Minoya, a traditional cafe and restaurant found down a small street just off Tonomachi Street. Welcomed into a rustic, wooden interior, guests are invited to take a floor seat at a low table and enjoy either a full meal or some tea and a snack. Whether you’re looking for a filling udon dish, a snack of dumplings or dango, or some Japanese sweets and flavored shaved ice, Minoya offers a homely experience with a warm atmosphere and friendly staff.

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  • Takasago Sake Brewery Museum, Zaima Sakaba
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