The western region of Shimane peninsula
Sightseeing spots (priority areas)
Taisha, Hinomisaki, Sagiura
The northwestern part of Shimane peninsula, where Taisha, Hinomisaki, and Sagiura are located, is, being the home of Izumo mythology, the main sightseeing location in the Sanin region.
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, the shrine of Enmusubi (blessed encounter), with Okuninushi-no-mikoto (Daikoku sama) as its enshrined deity, is placed at the core of Izumo culture. Worshippers from all parts of Japan visit Izumo Taisha.
Hinomisaki Shrine, painted a bright vermilion red color, is said to be the protector of Japan in the nighttime, and has, since ancient times, held Shinkoshinji (sunset festival).
The story surrounding the setting sun with Hinomisaki at the center, told since the Kamiyo period (before 660 B.C), was designated a Japan Heritage in April of 2017. The area became named ‘The Sunset in the Sacred land of Izumo – Sunset Created by the Gods’.
At the western tip of the peninsula, with a height of 43.65 meters, is Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse, the tallest stone masonry lighthouse in Japan.
On the list of the world’s 100 historical lighthouses, and also selected as a romantic destination for lovers, Hinomisaki Lighthouse has been a protector of marine safety since 1903. Climb to the top to enjoy a spectacular view.
Around the lighthouse is a promenade, and the view of the sunset from the observation deck is breathtaking.
You can also enjoy a guide-accompanied ‘Sunset Appreciation Tour’.
In the Sagiura district, the typical Japanese atmosphere of the beautiful red-roof-tiled fishing village remains, and guide-accompanied tours of the area are available.
Cruising by fishing boat, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Geopark landscape.
Recommended spots in the western part of Shimane peninsula
Chujou Setsuri (Columnar Jointing)
Walking along the promenade of Hinomisaki coast, you can see the columnar jointing formed from the cooling down of rhyolite lava rock.
The shape of these rocks, understood to be like scriptures, was the inspiration behind the name Fumishima (literally island of scriptures).
Fumishima has been designated a national protected habitat since it is a breeding ground for black-tailed gulls. From the beginning of November through July, flurries of thousands of black-tailed gulls can be seen.
Also, MiyukiShinji (festival of the setting sun) is held every year on August seventh. Public access to Fumishima, being located in the holy precincts of Hinomisaki Shrine, has been prohibited since long ago.
This beach that set the stage for the Kuni-yuzuri myth, has been listed in a selection of the top 100 beaches in Japan.
Also, on October 10th according to the old calendar, the Shinto ritual of Kami-mukae takes place. It is said that at that time, gods from all over Japan assemble at this beach and have a meeting at the shrine of blessed encounter, Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. 。
Along the promenade that follows from the western side of Sagiura Port to Sagiura Lighthouse covering a distance of 2.5 km (60 min. one way), there is a fork in the way, that if you follow, brings you to Umenada beach. The view from Sagiura Lighthouse is superb.
Enjoy cruising by fishing boat, and take in the dynamic coastal scenery of the Geopark such as the marine caves.
In the restaurant at Hinomisaki you can taste Kaisendon (bowls of rice topped with sashimi) made using generous servings of fresh fish and shellfish caught in the Sea of Japan, Sazae (a type of sea snail) cooked in the shell, and Grilled Squid.
Also, there are many specialty food products made from in-season ingredients such as dried fish and wakame seaweed.
Through the milling of the soba with the shell still intact, Izumo soba is of a blackish color, but it is fragrant and has a unique texture, making it distinct from the rest.
One of the top three sobas in Japan, Izumo Soba is a highly-recommended local dish.
Jinzaimochi is the rice cake dish that was served during the shinto ritual Kami-ari Sai that takes place in October according to the old calendar.
The word Jinzai spoken in the local accent was pronounced Zunzai, and later Zenzai, and then later was communicated to Kyoto, it is said. Izumo is the birthplace of Zenzai.
The surrounding areas of the western region of Shimane peninsula
This cave was formed as a result of the stratum (composed of accumulated volcanic matter) being eroded by the waves.
A mystical cave that features in the Izumo Fudoki, it is described as being the entrance to the other world.
Karakama Shrine is on the side of a mountain that was formed from the volcanic product of a seabed volcano that erupted 16,000,000 years ago.
The shrine is connected with the legend of worshipped deity Susano-no-mikoto and the introduction of the ironware culture.
Tachikuekyo Prefectural Nature Park
A gorge of 2 km in length, Tachikuekyo is composed of steep cliffs measuring from 50 meters to 150 meters in height from the surface of the Kandogawa River.
Made up of fantastically-shaped rocks such as Shinki-iwa, Eboshi-iwa, and Rousoku-iwa, the area is a designated national place of scenic beauty and a national protected habitat.
Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo is a museum that introduces the culture and history of the entire area of Shimane prefecture. Located to the east of Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, you can see displays related to Izumo Taisha, and also learn about Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Tatara ironmaking, bronzeware, and Izumo Fudoki mythology (there’s a mythology theater).
The 5-meter-long 10:1 model of the Izumo Taisha of ancient times and the bronze swords and bell-shaped bronze vessels, which are designated national treasures, are a must-see.
Izumo Cultural Heritage Museum
At the Izumo Cultural Heritage Museum, you can learn about the tradition, culture, and history of Izumo.
Built in 1896, the building is the relocated core building and Nagayamon of the Izumo landowner, Ezumi’s, residence. On the south side, passing through the large doorway, the central pillar of keyaki wood and the impressive beam structure of black pine attest to the dignified style of the residence.
Archaeological Museum of Kojindani
An archaeological site located southwest of Yunokawa Onsen, one of the top three hot springs for beautiful skin in Japan, where 358 bronze swords, 16 bronze spearheads, and 6 bell-shaped bronze vessels were discovered and unearthed. Now preserved in the museum as a national treasure.
Shinjiko Kitayama Prefectural Natural Park western district
Climb Mt. Tabushi for 80 minutes over a distance of 2.5 km from the Koukokuji carpark, and from the observation space, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Izumo plains interspersed with pine tree enclosures, the Hii River, Lake Shinji, and Mt. Sanbe in the distance.
Also, in the precincts of the temple known for the healing of eyes, Ichibata Yakushi, located east from the northside of Lake Shinji, there is a good view of the Chugoku Mountains, with Mt. Daisen to the east, and Mt. Sanbe to the west.