The volume 2 of the Chugoku series is finally here! The Shimane Prefecture is known as the Land of Gods, mainly because of the holy shrines and important places. This place is highly recommended for history buffs and sightseers.
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
This is one of the most important and ancient shrines in Japan located in Izumo City. This shrine is laden with rich history, from the unique Taisha-zukuri architectural design to the main enshrined deity Okuninushi no Mikoto, the god of good relationships and marriage. (Japanese site).
The Matsue Castle (Japanese site) is one of the few original castles left from the past. It is also designated as a National Treasure and is a place that one must visit! Old samurai swords, armours, and other historical artefacts are also proudly displayed inside the castle tower.
Lafcadio Hearn’s Residence
Take a walk in the samurai district nearby the castle and see old samurai houses preserved from the past. History buffs will be especially delighted to learn that the former residence of Lafcadio Hearn, a famous writer, is also well maintained, and open to the public! The museum is dedicated to his life and his work on Japanese culture. (Japanese site)
Karakoro Art Studio
If you can speak or understand some Japanese, this place is a must go! From metal crafts, accessories to jewellery, you can have fun making many souvenirs and easily spend half a day there. After making many handicrafts, you can also dine at the various restaurants and cafes there. (Karakoro Art Studio Japanese site)
You can climb a mountain and visit the Suga Shrine at the same time! The mountain has inspired the creation of waka, a type of classical Japanese poetry, while the water from this mountain is believed to be sacred, bringing longevity to those who drink it.
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
The Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine in Oda City is a World Heritage Site. It was active as the largest silver mine in Japan for nearly 400 years! Now, you can enter a part of the mine shaft to observe the old mining technology and routes. You can also check out a video of it here.
After visiting the Iwami Ginzan Silver mine, you can also enjoy exploring this town that is full of well-preserved historic sites and old buildings. Visit the only samurai residence, the Kawashima Residence (Japanese site), or the merchant residence called the House of the Kumagai Family (Japanese site).
Taikodani Inari Shrine
Located in Tsuwano, this is one of the five most important shrines in Japan. The enshrined kami was invited from Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine to pray for peace and security for Tsuwano’s citizens.
Take a day trip from Shimane and head to the Oki Islands for a different experience! Learn about the unique ecosystem and local culture in the UNESCO World Heritage Geopark which is located in Dogo Island. The other island is named Dozen Island, where Nishinoshima, Chiburijima and Nakanoshima are located. If nature isn’t enough to entice you, check out this video.