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Shimane Prefecture

Shimane Prefecture in Chugoku DistrictShimane PrefectureShimane Prefecture is positioned at the northwest of Chugoku District, and faces the Sea of Japan.
Generally, the area along the Sea of Japan in Chugoku District is call "San'in", so Shimane Prefecture belongs to San'in area.

The area is long from northeast to southwest, and the length is over 200 km.
It is broadly mountainous, and main cities are on the coastline.

There is Shimane Peninsula at the northeast part of the prefecture.
It lies long from east to west, but it looks like mainland around Matsue city.
Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi are between the peninsula and the mainland.
Matsue city is the prefectural capital.

There are Oki Islands about 70-100 km north of Shimane Peninsula.
Here was the place of exile in the middle ages.

This prefecture is on the Sea of Japan side, but it has relatively light snowfall in winter. (The area of upland have heavy snowfall.)

The main industries in this prefecture are agriculture and fishery.
And this prefecture has the second least population in Japan after Tottori Prefecture.
So we can enjoy the rich nature in this prefecture.

To visit Shimane Prefecture by railroad, it is convenient to use JR limited express from Okayama through Yonago in Tottori Prefecture.
And to the western part, a few JR limited expresses on Yamaguchi Line come from Shin-Yamaguchi in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Shimane Prefecture has three airports.

Izumo Airport is positioned on the southwest shore of Lake Shinji, and it is convenient to visit Matsue and Izumo cities.
It has the flights from Haneda (Tokyo), Itami (Ossaka) and a few cities.

Oki Airport is located on the south coast of Dougo Island in Oki Islands.
It has the flights from Haneda (Tokyo) and Itami (Osaka).
The main island is circular-shaped Dougo Island,

Iwami Airport is located about 5 km west of Masuda city.
It has the flights from Haneda (Tokyo) and Itami (Osaka), and there is the flight from Izumo Airport.

Sightseeing in Shimane : Shimane Prefectural Tourism Federation official website

The climate in Matsue
Highest Temperature (deg C) 8.0 8.9 12.6 18.5 22.7 25.9 29.3 31.3 26.8 21.7 16.2 11.0
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 1.1 1.0 3.2 8.0 13.0 17.8 22.3 23.4 19.2 12.7 7.6 3.4
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 147 122 133 109 135 190 252 114 198 120 131 138

The climate in Okinoshima town (Dougo island)
Highest Temperature (deg C) 7.8 8.2 11.3 16.6 20.8 24.1 27.6 29.8 25.9 21.1 15.9 10.9
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 0.9 0.6 2.4 6.9 11.8 16.5 21.4 22.8 18.4 12.1 7.4 3.4
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 160 117 119 110 140 172 220 121 225 114 138 160

Tourist spots in Shimane Prefecture

Shimane Prefecture map

Matsue city /1/
Lake Shinji /2/
Tamatsukuri hot spring resort /3/
Izumo-taisha shrine /4/
Cape Hinomisaki /5/
Ichibata-Yakushi temple /6/
Adachi Museum of Art /7/
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine /8/
Tsuwano town /9/
Oki Islands /10/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Shimane Prefecture

Sagi-maiSagi-mai (July 20th, 27th)

Sagi-mai means "Dance of egret", and it is danced in Yasaka Shrine in Tsuwano town.
Two dancers dress as a brace of egrets, and they dance to the song.
The dance is one of the events in the annual festival of the shrine.
The dancers, singers and players of instruments march throughout the town, and they play the dance at about a dozen places in the town in a day.

UshitsukiBullfighting in Oki Islands (August 15th, September 1st, October 13th)

It is the match between two bulls, and has been held in Oki islands. In Japanese, this event is called "Ushitsuki".
Emperor Go-Toba pulled off the coup in 1221, but it was abortive. After that, he was exiled to these islands.
The people in these islands showed this fight to compfort him. It is the origin of this event.
Two bulls controlled by men butt each other. When a bull flees, the game is over.
The main tournaments are held in the above three days.
And the show of the matches for tourists are held every Saturday from May to October.

Local foods and products in Shimane Prefecture

Izumo-sobaIzumo soba

Izumo is the eastern area of Shimane Prefecture, and Izumo soba is the soba noodle producing and eating in the area.
Soba noodle (buckwheat noodle) is one of the popular noodle in Japan.
Izumo soba is produced by grinding buckwheat with hull, so its color is darker than the common soba noodle.
We generally eat soba noodle after dipping in the sauce, but Izumo soba is usually eaten after putting the sauce on the noodle.
Izumo soba is often served after setting in three-tiered lacquer boxes. It is called "Warigo-soba", and we can enjoy tasting the soba three times in different toppings.


It is a unique tea for snacking in Matsue city. Well, is this a tea?
A cup of foamed tea is served. The tea is made of green tea leaves and flowers and is whipped.
And you put a small amount of red rice, sweet black beans and pickles into the tea. But you must not stir it.
And you drink the tea and the foods without using the chopsticks.
It is said that this wonder food was invented as a lunch for busy workers in the middle ages.

Freshwater clamShijimi clam in Lake Shinji

Shijimi is a black clam a few centimeters in size, and lives in brackish water.
Lake Shinji produces about 40 percent of all shijimi clams in Japan.
Shijimi in Lake Shinji is tasty, and various dishes using Shijimi are served around Lake Shinji.
But most popular dish is Miso soup of Shijimi. It's the best cure for a hangover.

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