|Travel Reports by Aaron Chong||view profile of Aaron Chong|
|Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.|
May 19, 2019 - Matsue Horanenya - Izumo Taisha
After the fantastic start of the Horanenya festival yesterday, good weather had come and it was time to explore more of Shimane prefecture by visiting its most famous tourist attraction, Izumo Taisha.
Getting to Izumo Taisha was easy with the Sanin-Okayama Pass. First I took the express train from Matsue to Izumoshi station. Then, from Izumoshi station, I switched from the JR to the privately owned Ichibata rail. I walked to the nearby Dentetsu Izumoshi station and had to pay the fare to Izumo Taisha Mae station, as the Ichibata rail was not included in the Sanin-Okayama Pass. Between Dentetsu Izumoshi and Izumo Taisha Mae station, there was a change of trains at Kawato station.
Izumo Taisha is one of the most famous shrines in Japan as this is known as the 'headquarters' of the gods. Instead of the usual bow twice, clap twice and bow once to make a wish to a god, one must bow twice, clap four times and bow once at Izumo Taisha. There were many cute rabbit statues that make great photos and I immediately knew what these rabbits are for since I have read the story of the White Rabbit of Inaba.
After the shrine, I decided to drop by at the Shamine Museum of Ancient Izumo to learn more about the history of the region. It was surprisingly a very interesting museum as there were many ancient artifacts from the region and the exhibits deepened my understanding of the ancient Izumo civilization and its folklore.
I had already decided to have Shimane Prefecture's well-known dish, Izumo Soba, for lunch. Earlier, I dropped by at the tourist office near the train station to get a map and ask for recommended places to have Izumo Soba. One of their recommendations was Kizuki, located along Kamimukae no Michi street. It was a great advice from the tourist office to come here for lunch as other well-known soba restaurants in the vicinity were packed, and Kizuki was relatively empty when I arrived.
After lunch, it was already too late to take the bus to Hinomisaki. I changed my plans to go and have a look at the old JR Taisha Station. The old JR Taisha Station is a lavishly decorated station that has been decommissioned in 1990. As my lunch was quite light, I had a Shimane wagyu rice burger at a senbei shop along the main shopping drag before moving on to see the Taisha Station.
After visiting the old Taisha Station, I headed back to the Izumo Taisha Mae station and took the train to Kawato, where I dropped by at a local onsen place called Kitayama Onsen that I found from the internet. I had a chat with a local patron and apparently the establishment is owned and funded by the people of the area. After a relaxing dip in the onsen it was time to head back to Matsue.
Back in Matsue, I found a nice izakaya called Yamaichi where I tried the local shijimi clams picked from the shores of Lake Shinji. The atmosphere was very convivial and friendly and the obaasan (grandma) of the izakaya was very cute and funny. I ordered nodoguro with rice, pickles and a delicious bowl of shijimi clam miso soup, and later added a piece of their homemade crab croquette. I finished my meal and as I made my way out I was given a bump in the back by the eccentric obaasan. I left the izakaya with a full belly, happy as a clam.