Aoyagi Sho (theater troupe EXILE), EXILE AKIRA, and Kobayashi Naoki (EXILE/Sandaime J Soul Brothers), who all appeared in the movie “Tatara Samurai”, introduce “Shimane, The Land of Connections”. Promoting Shimane, which has a long-time history and traditions that are still alive today.
These three were drawn to the charming Shimane, which is filled with proud authenticity. This is the kind of Shimane we wish to introduce in this article.
What kind of a place is Shimane Prefecture
Shimane Prefecture is a mythical land, that has served as the setting for such historical chronicles, as Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan).
Shimane is made up of three regions, “Izumo”, “Iwami”, and “Oki”. Izumo has many shrines, like Izumo Grand Shrine, which are dedicated to gods of marriage. Iwami has a lot of tradition and culture, such as the world heritage site Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and the traditional dance Iwami Kagura. Oki’s charm lies in its majestic nature, that has also been recognized as a Unesco World Global Geopark.
Access to Shimane Prefecture
Arriving by plane: Approx. 85 min. from Narita Airport to Izumo Airport, or approx. 95 min. from Haneda Airport to Iwami Airport.
Arriving by train: Tokyo Station → 2 hours 30 min. → Shin-Osaka Station → 50 min. → Okayama Station → 2 hours 30 min. → Matsue Station.
Arriving by highway bus: Approx. 11 hours 20 min from Tokyo Station to Matsue Station.
3 Must-see Spots to Visit When Visiting Shimane Prefecture
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
The largest silver mine in Japan, which was at the height of its prosperity from the latter half of the Sengoku period up until the first half of the Edo period. The mine has been praised for its historical value, as well as for the coexistence of people and nature, and it was registered as a world heritage site in 2007. You can walk around the mine tunnels from which silver was mined from back in the day.
Kuniga Coast (Matengai Cliff)
A grand cliff rising 257 m above the sea level, that has been eroded by the wind and waves of the Sea of Japan. It looks as if it was cut vertically with a giant knife. Emerald green sea, and panoramic scenery right in front of your eyes. It is a perfect place to enjoy a sunset, and it was also chosen in the top 100 places with the best sunset.
Because it looks like a plover flapping its wings, it has been nicknamed the “plover castle”. Out of the 12 castle towers that still exist today in Japan, the castle tower of Matsue Castle has been designated as a national treasure. It has also been chosen in the top 100 famous places to view cherry blossoms, and in the top 100 urban scenery. From the castle tower you can view Lake Shinji.
3 Must-eat Dishes to Order When Visiting Shimane Prefecture
Izumo soba noodles
One of the three major soba noodle types in Japan. The endocarp of each of the buckwheat seeds are grinded, which gives it a unique black color and strong aroma. We recommend that you try Warigo, which means that the soba is served in three round boxes placed on top of one another.
Orochi-don is a rice bowl, with a big heap of local meat that comes from naturally raised pigs and cows, Ebisu-don has plenty of Iwami’s famous seafood on top, and Daikoku-meshi is a delicious local specialty. The general name for all these dishes is “Kagura-meshi”.
Large-sized filling meat with a rich and creamy flavor. Oki was the first place in Japan that succeeded in cultivating Iwagaki oysters. In early spring, Iwagaki oysters are chewy and have a fresh taste. In late spring, the meat becomes thick, with a rich and savory taste.
3 Must-get Souvenirs to Buy When Visiting Shimane Prefecture
The most basket clams in Japan are harvested from Lake Shinji. The basket clams are large in size, and have a rich and delicious taste. They are often used in miso soups, or boiled in sweetened soy sauce.
A type of fish surimi with red chili mixed in, that has been deep fried with bread crumbs. Iwami’s spicy soul food that you can’t get enough of.
Roasted kamaboko (steamed seasoned fish paste) made from flying fish, which is also the prefectural fish of Shimane Prefecture. It has a good aroma and a savory taste, and goes very well with sake.
The Dialect of Shimane Prefecture
Let’s take a look at some vocabulary from the old and traditional dialect of Shimane Prefecture.
“Age, koge, soge”…It, this, that.
“-dani”…To be, is. For example, “Suki dani” means “I like it”.
“-Shichoo”…-Doing? For example, “Nani shichoo?” means “What are you doing?”
There are plenty more fascinating things that are waiting for you to discover in Shimane Prefecture, so why don’t you visit there the next time you get some time off!?
Shimane Sightseeing Navigation Site
translated by Samu Pekka Ojanen