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May 19, 2019 - Matsue Horanenya - Izumo Taisha

View of Lake Shinji from the train

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.

JR Izumoshi station
Two panels depicting the rabbit of Inaba and Susanoo fighting against Orochi
Izumo Taisha Mae station
Entrance to Izumo Taisha

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.

Arrival at Izumo Taisha, headquarters of the Gods
Japanese tourists queuing to get a stamp from the shrine
Japanese tourists queuing for their turn to pray to the southern main facade of Izumo Taisha
Two rabbits praying to the northern facade of Izumo Taisha
Eastern facade of Izumo Taisha, where the Gods reside
One must bow twice, clap four times and bow once to the Gods of Izumo Taisha
Kagura-den and its famous shimenawa
Bridal photoshoot at Kagura-den
The rabbit of Inaba and Okuninushi

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.

The Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
Hiyashi zenzai - Cold adzuki bean soup with a chestnut, whipped cream and mochi with ice-cream filling
How Izumo Taisha was believed to be like during the Heian period
Archaeological discoveries of broken clay potteries and figurines
A bronze bell that was used between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD
Izumo horse-riding warrior with a golden headpiece

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.

Kizuki
Izumo soba with mountain yam and noyaki fish cake

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.

Shimane wagyu rice burger
The old JR Taisha station
Old fare table
Taisha station signboard and offices
Steam locomotive and the Izumo countryside
Enjoying a free performance at the old 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.

R&R at Kitayama Onsen

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.

Dinner in Matsue at Yamaichi
Horanenya sake
Braised nodoguro with rice, pickles and shijimi clam miso soup
Homemade crab croquette

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List of Posts:
2019/05/31 - Matsue Horanenya - Koyasan
2019/05/30 - Matsue Horanenya - Horyuji and to Wakayama Prefecture
2019/05/29 - Matsue Horanenya - Uji
2019/05/28 - Matsue Horanenya - Amanohashidate
2019/05/27 - Matsue Horanenya - Tottori Sand Dunes
2019/05/26 - Matsue Horanenya - Kangyosai Ҍ
2019/05/25 - Matsue Horanenya - The World Heritage Sites of Hagi
2019/05/24 - Matsue Horanenya - Akiyoshido and Akiyoshidai
2019/05/23 - Matsue Horanenya - The Beluga Whales of AQUAS
2019/05/22 - Matsue Horanenya - Chunichisai
2019/05/21 - Matsue Horanenya - Matengai Cliff and the Kuniga Coast
2019/05/20 - Matsue Horanenya - Sakaiminato
2019/05/19 - Matsue Horanenya - Izumo Taisha
2019/05/18 - Matsue Horanenya - Togyosai n
2019/05/17 - Matsue Horanenya - Getting to Matsue from KIX
2016/07/15 - Hokkaido Day 14 - End of the Trip and My Top Five Highlights
2016/07/14 - Hokkaido Day 13 - Biei's Patchwork Road and the Blue Pond
2016/07/13 - Hokkaido Day 12 - The Lavender Fields of Furano
2016/07/12 - Hokkaido Day 11 - Usuyukiso Habitat and Peach Rock
2016/07/11 - Hokkaido Day 10 - Rebun's 4-Hour Trekking Course
2016/07/10 - Hokkaido Day 9 - Wakkanai, the Northernmost City of Japan
2016/07/09 - Hokkaido Day 8 - Journey to the North
2016/07/08 - Hokkaido Day 7 - Last Day in Shiretoko
2016/07/07 - Hokkaido Day 6 - Bear Watching Cruise and Rausu
2016/07/06 - Hokkaido Day 5 - Shiretoko Five Lakes
2016/07/05 - Hokkaido Day 4 - Obihiro Butadon and the Kushiro Norokko Train
2016/07/04 - Hokkaido Day 3 - Hell Valley and Heavenly Ramen
2016/07/03 - Hokkaido Day 2 - Yoichi and Otaru
2016/07/02 - Hokkaido Day 1 - Late Night Ramen Dinner
2015/05/02 - Hanami 2015 Day 6 - The Wisterias of Ashikaga Flower Park
2015/05/01 - Hanami 2015 Day 5 - Kakunodate and Long Winding Route to Aomori
2015/04/30 - Hanami 2015 Day 4 - The Lonely Sakura of Koiwai Farm
2015/04/29 - Hanami 2015 Day 3 - Matsushima and the Shiogamazakura
2015/04/28 - Hanami 2015 Day 2 - Hirosaki
2015/04/27 - Hanami 2015 Day 1 - Shibazakura in Chichibu