ITINERARIES Izumo—Land of the Gods Discover some of Japan’s most sacred sites
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 weighs an extraordinary 5.2 tons.
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 introduces Japanese mythology and history through the lens of Izumo Taisha and the region's development.
Twenty minutes away on foot or a short bus ride, former Taisha Station is a grand piece of 1920‘s architecture and was selected as one of the 200 best buildings in Japan. An SL locomotive is on display on the tracks outside. (The building is closed to tours due to scheduled renovation work until December 2025.)
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. The story is passed down from generation to generation. Every year in November, the Gakuenji Temple Autumn Foliage Festival is held 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 Japan'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. While the shrine's history exceeds 1,000 years, the current structures reflect the styles of the Edo Period, including a vermilion-lacquered pavilion.