Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo 島根県立古代出雲歴史博物館
A museum showcasing ancient bronze artifacts, the history of Izumo Taisha Shrine and Japanese mythology
Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo is, by contrast, a modern, stylish and spacious place. Its fascinating and accessible exhibits focus on the history and culture of Shimane, with distinctive features such as bronze vessels, Izumo Taisha Shrine and myths set in Izumo.
- The collection of 419 ancient bronze artifacts, including swords
- The model of the main building of the ancient Izumo Taisha shrine, which stood 48 metres high
- The uzubashira (an Important Cultural Property), a huge pillar that supported the main shrine of Izumo Taisha in the 13th century
- Izumo Taisha Shrine, located next door
How to Get There
You can get to the museum by train or bus.
It is a 5-minute walk from Izumo Taisha Shrine or a seven-minute walk from Izumo Taisha-mae Station. Take a bus bound for Izumo Taisha or Himigozaki(25 minutes) and get off at Seimon-mae stop. The museum is a 2-minute walk from the bus stop. Alternatively, get off at Ancient Izumo History Museum-mae stop, in front of the museum.
Where myth becomes history
The Museum of Ancient Izumo History has three themed galleries: Izumo Taisha Shrine, Izumo Province Fudoki and Bronzes (introducing the life and history of the people of Shimane), and an exhibition room introducing the mythology of Izumo.
The biggest shrine in Japan
One room has a display showing how Izumo Taisha looked in the past. The ancient 48-metre-high main building has been reconstructed at 1/10th scale.
In the foyer of the museum, you will see the base of the uzubashira, three pillars together to form a huge pillar 3-meters in diameter, that supported the shrine.
The 358 bronze swords
The most magnificent display is the 358 bronze swords unearthed at Kojindani, where it is believed they were buried as part of religious ritual.
Gleaming reconstructions are displayed alongside real bronze swords. More swords were found buried at this one site in Izumo than in all of the rest of Japan combined. Fifteen kilometers away, at Kojindani, is a small museum and a park where you can learn more about this fascinating find.
Near JR Izumoshi Station about 12 km away, Izumoyayoi no Mori is a new museum dedicated to the Yayoi period and its tombs, which offers in-depth insights into the Yayoi period and the uniquely shaped tombs of Izumo.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.