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.
- 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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.