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ITINERARIES Izumo—Land of the Gods Discover some of Japan’s most sacred sites

Located on the Sea of Japan, Izumo holds a significant place in Japanese history and is one of Japan's oldest and most important shrines.

Two ancient chronicles, the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, describe Izumo as a place from where the gods ruled over the Japanese islands. Today, it is typical of a sleepy Japanese coastal town: excellent seafood, scenic beaches, and warm, friendly locals. But every November, huge crowds gather to welcome the deities back again.

Highlights

    Immerse yourself in ancient Japanese history at Izumo Taisha Shrine
    Enjoy stunning scenery along the coast at one of Japan’s top sandy beaches
    Taste the strong-flavored local style of soba noodles during festival season

How to Get There

From Osaka: 4 hours or 5 hours 25 minutes

Osaka is a logical starting point for a trip to Izumo. From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Okayama Station. There, change to the JR Limited Express Yakumo, and get off at Izumoshi Station. Long distance buses from Shin-Osaka Station are also available on the JR Chugoku Bus line to Izumoshi Station (5 hours 25 minutes).

From Tokyo: 6 hours 45 minutes

From Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Okayama Station. Change to the JR Limited Express Yakumo, and get off at Izumoshi Station.

Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine
Izumo Taisha Shrine
Museum of Ancient Izumo
Shimane Museum Of Ancient Izumo
Gakuenji
Gakuenji Temple
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Inasa Beach
Hinomisaki
Hinomisaki Lighthouse
Day 1

40 minutes

Take the Ichibata Bus Hinosaki Line from Izumoshi Station to Izumo Taisha bus stop.

Izumo Taisha Shrine The center of the Country of the Gods

Commonly regarded as Japan's oldest shrine, Izumo Taisha was the center of Japan's "Country of the Gods." This stately shrine is the cradle of Japan's origin story and spiritual history.

The most iconic feature of Izumo Taisha is its enormous twisted shimenawa straw rope, strung to the rafters of the Kaguraden hall (Sacred dance hall). The rope itself is a National Treasure and weighs an extraordinary 4.5 tons.

The shrine is dedicated to the goddess of love, so many people travel here from far and wide to pray for success in marriage. Pilgrims also come to pay their respects to the first legendary ruler of the ancient province of Izumo.

7 minutes

Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo Learn about Japan through Izumo's history

This history museum provides a comprehensive overview of Japanese history through the lens of Izumo Taisha and the region's development. Among the exhibits is an illustrated guide to help visitors negotiate the rather complex creation myth.

Twenty minutes away on foot or a short bus ride, former Taisha Station is a grand piece of 1920‘s architecture. Formerly a station on the Japan National Railway line, it has long been out of service. Step inside to view a wartime D51 steam locomotive on display. This model was used for freight until the early 1970s.

1 hour

Take an Ichibata Densha train from Izumotaisha-Mae Station to Unshu-Hirata Station. From there, take a bus bound for Shishigahama and get off at the Gakuenji Chushajo stop.

Gakuenji Temple Explore temples and shrines, and discover ancient treasures

Set in the verdant hills above Izumo Taisha Shrine, Gakuenji Temple is shrouded in legend. Wander the grounds and locate the waterfall before which Benkei, a fearsome warrior, is said to have trained. Benkei’s superhuman strength is the subject of tales known throughout Japan today, and there is a festival here every November to honor him. Autumn is a particularly scenic time of year to visit.

Day 2

15 minutes

Start your day from Izumo Taisha Shrine. Inasa Beach and Bentenjima are 15 minutes away on foot.

Inasa Beach Beautiful seaside scenery

Within 15 minutes’ walk from Izumo Taisha Shrine is one of Japan’s top 100 beaches. Inasa Beach, which includes a small shrine atop a dramatic rock formation called Bentenjima, is the starting point of the procession to Izumo Taisha during the Kamiari Festival in November.

25 minutes

Take the Ichibata Bus from Inasa Beach Iriguchi to the Hinomisaki bus stop, located right outside Hinomisaki Shrine.

Hinomisaki Lighthouse Rugged coastline and an ancient shrine

Hinomisaki and its rugged coastline are home to East Asia's tallest lighthouse. Enjoy panoramic views from the top, and visit Fumishima, where thousands of black-tailed gulls gather.

Located uphill from the sea, Hinomisaki Shrine is dedicated to the sun goddess and the sea god. While the shrine's history exceeds 1,000 years, the current structures reflect the styles of the Edo Period, including a vermilion-lacquered pavilion.

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