[Shimane 2-Day Model Course] A Journey for Romance in the Land of Mythology, Shimane
Shimane is known as the land of mythology with many spots to bless your romance to come true - Izumo where gods of Japan gather together in October of the lunar calendar, or Tamatsukuri Onsen, famous as a beautiful hot spring. If you come to Shimane, stay overnight and take time to visit these spots! This time, we will share a 2-day trip highlighting “fulfillment of romance.”
How to Get to Shimane
There are different ways to get there, but most travelers take “Super Express Yakumo” from Okayama Station to reach Izumo, Matsue or Tamatsuri Onsen. On this trip, we will visit Tamatsukuri Onsen on the first day, starting at JR Tamatsukurionsen Station. From Kansai Airport, get on the Super Express Haruka and head for Shin-Osaka Station. From there, switch to Sanyo Shinkansen and get to Okayama Station. Then, get on the Super Express Yakumo bound for Izumo to reach Tamatsukurionsen Station. It takes about 5 hours, but you can buy lunch at a train station, etc. and enjoy your train rides.
If you wish to use a domestic flight, you can land at Izumo Enmusubi Airport. From there, a limousine bus takes you to Tamatsukiri-Onsen Station in about 30 minutes. However, there are few buses - check the schedule before you come.
- 1st Day
- 2nd Day
3:30 pm: Arrive at Tamatsukuri Onsen, the beauty hot spring
Once you are at the JR Tamatsukurionsen Station, switch to Ichibata Bus to get to Tamatsukuri Onsen. It is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in Japan with 1300-year history, known to beautify the skin. There are three foot baths. Soak your feet and soothe yourself after a long trip.
Stroll around the hot spring town and make a wish for beautiful skin
After unwinding in the foot bath, stroll around the hot spring town. Tamatsukuri’s hot springs contain much sulfate ion and metasilicic acid which are effective to moisten and beautify the skin! The town has the Himegami Square with the statue to make a wish for beautiful skin. Let’s stop by here. Other objects related to mythologies dot the town. Walk around and take a photo at your favorite spots.
4:00 pm: Make a wish for a romance at Tamatsukuriyu Shrine!
Stop by at Koikiido of Tamatsukuri Onsen and other love-relationship spots. Further walking into the onsen resort, you will see “Tamatsukuriyu Shrine,” the spiritual spot for fulfilling a wish, especially for romance and marriage. Here, let’s make a wish for romance, which was the purpose of this trip. By the way, this shrine ground has a rare father-and son stone guardian dogs, and many visitors make a wish for fertility as well.
With a wish to “be blessed with a good relationship!”
The red bridge on the premises is called “Koikanai-bashi (Fulfilling Romance Bridge).” We go across this bridge to get inside the premises, but do not forget to take a photo here including the gate. It is said that if you take a photo on this bridege including the gate, you will be blessed with a romantic relationship.
After visiting the main hall, go to the shrine office and get the natural stone called “Kanai Ishi (fulfilling stone),” and head for the Madama (wishing stone) at the back of the premises. People say if you place the fulfilling stone on top of the wishing stone when you pray, your wish will come true. Let’s pray here, “May I land a wonderful romantic relationship!”
6:00 pm: Stay at the graceful hot spring inn “KAI Tamatsukuri”
Let’s lodge at “KAI Tamatsukuri” in the Tamatsukuri Onsen Resort. Here, each guestroom comes with an outdoor hot spring. All 24 rooms are purely Japanese style and have a cypress or Shigaraki ceramic bathtub. You can enjoy the hot spring which is called the natural beauty toner as much as you want. There are also an indoor bath with a shrine-shaped spout and an outdoor rock hot spring. Try them both.
Savor Matsue’s Tradition and Food Culture
The long-anticipated dinner is a Kaiseki cuisine with the harvest from Shimane and San-in’s sea and mountains. Spring and summer bring freshwater crams and beef shabu-shabu, and winter provides Matsuba crab. There is Nihonshu Bar serving Shimane’s unique Japanese rice wines. Iwami Kagura, Shimane’s traditional performance, is a must-see. The Japanese-style breakfast has Shimane’s local specialty, Uzuni soup. All these will satisfy your eyes and appetites.
9:20 am: Leave the inn and start for Izumo
On the 2nd day, we will journey to Izumo City where Izumo Taisha Shrine is.
From Tamatsukurionsen Station, we will hop into the Super Express Yakumo and head for Izumo City Station. From Izumo City, switch to Ichibata Railway’s Kita Matsue Line bound for Matsue Shinjiko Onsen. Then, at Kawaato Station, switch again to a train on Taisha Line bound for Izumotaisha-Mae. Then, get off at Izumotaisha-Mae Station.
11:30 am: Walk on the clean and elegant approach to get to “Izumo Taisha” Shrine
After getting off the train at Izumotaisha-Mae, walk on the front approach to the Izumo Taisha, which is the Shinmon Street, from Uga Bridge’s grand gate, the national tangible cultural property, to another grand gate of Seidama. Stop by at the tourist information, “Shinmon Dori Omotenashi Station (Shinmon Street Hospitality Station),” to pick up a tourist pamphlet to help with your orientation.
Pay respect at the Izumo Taisha, one of the oldest prominent shrines in Japan
Along with Ise Shrine in Mie, Izumo Taisha is one of the significant ancient shrines in Japan. It enshrines Okuninushi no Okami, honored as a god of relationship and marriage, which is said to bless visitors with romance and all kinds of relationships, perfect for this trip. Bow twice, crap four times and bow once is the manner. Make your wish for a good relationship.
On the grounds, there are many spots of interest, such as the main hall, the national treasure built in Japan’s oldest shrine architectural style, and the 13m-long, 5.2-ton huge straw rope at the front of Kaguraden Hall. The shrine is related to Japanese mythology, the White Rabbit from Inaba, and adorable rabbit statues are found on the grounds. Try looking for them.
2:00 pm: After visiting the shrine, stroll on “Shinmon Dori” Street
After visiting Izumo Taisha, meander Goen Yokocho alley before the shrine’s front gate and the main approach, Shinmon Street. Once in Izumo, you don’t want to miss the specialty “Izumo Soba Noodles.” You can find many restaurants serving that as well as seafood and mountain vegetables, and souvenir shops.
Look for lunch and souvenirs on Shinmon Street
Compare the taste of Izumo Soba at different famous restaurants in Shinmon Street. With the stomach full, let’s select souvenirs. Zenzai (sweet bean soup) is said to have started here. Pick up the one in the cute red package. You can find souvenirs related to romance and mythology on the Goen Yokocho. Now let’s leave Izumo Taisha.
3:30 pm: Head for the Inasa Beach with beautiful white sand and green pines
In a 25-minute walk from Izumo Taisha toward the sea, you will find “Inasa Beach.” This 2km sandy beach with fascinating white sand and green pines is selected into “Best 100 Beaches in Japan.”
Make a wish for romance where gods congregate
Inasa Beach is the place to host all gods in Japan in October of the lunar calendar. A branch shrine (Kami no Miya) of Izumo Taisha is close to the beach, where a council of gods is supposed to take place to decide on romantic and other relationships. If you make your wish here first, take a bit of sand from the beach in a bag, then swap this sand with that of Izumo Taisha’s Soga no Yashiro’s sand and take it home with you, it is said to bring a blessing. You may want to change the order of visiting spots.
If you have time, you could wait until the sunset at Inasa Beach. The Benten Island on the beach enshrines the god of the ocean, “Toyotamahiko no Mikoto.” The sunset over this Benten Island is the symbol of the “Holy Land Izumo where the Sun Sets,” and is registered as a Japan Heritage. Sit on the beach and spend a quiet moment watching the sun gradually sinking before your eyes.
Enjoying the beautiful water in the hot spring inn and the gourmet harvest from the sea and mountains, then making a wish for romance at the Izumo Taisha!
How was the 2-day Shimane trip for you under the theme of romantic relationship?
If you would like to stay one more night, you can go to Hinomisaki where Hinomisaki Shrine and Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse, the tallest stone lighthouse in Japan, stand. There are other popular sunset spots such as Lake Shishi, Matsue Castle, and many more places to explore! Come to Shimane and discover more charms.
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