Shimane and Tottori prefectures are located in the south of Honshu Island, north of Chūgoku, along the Sea of Japan. Breathtaking landscapes, preserved authenticity, centuries-old know-how, charming lands and traditions with myths and legends, exceptional gourmet products, sporting activities of all kinds, mangas… these two regions reserve many surprises to visitors wishing to discover a unique historical and cultural concentrate of Japan. Shimane is home to the famous Izumo Shrine, dedicated to Ōkuninushi, the master of the "country" that gave it to the human descendants of the goddess of the sun, that is to say to the imperial family.
Shimane and its spectacular sites
Shimane Prefecture has rural landscapes, spectacular sites like Lake Shinji, breathtaking gardens among the most beautiful of the country. First, the Yuushien Garden is located in the middle of Nakaumi Lake, on the island of Daikonshima, east of Matsue city center. The archipelago's most beautiful guesthouse is discovered. Closer to Matsue, the Adachi garden, regularly elected as the most beautiful Japanese garden in the country by a specialized magazine. A visit to this exceptional place will naturally link with that of the art museum of the same name, which presents a collection of unique paintings of the greatest Japanese painters of the Edo era. In Matsue, the castle surrounded by channels was recently designated national treasure. Only four castles across Japan received this distinction. The capital of the prefecture also boasts many medieval streets and Samurai residences. A break at the Meimei-year pavilion will even allow you to attend a tea ceremony in its purest tradition. The samurai immersion south of Matsue will be even more spectacular in the small town of Oda, close to the silver mines of Iwami Ginzan. In addition to the visit of the museum and the reconstituted mines, you will stroll along the traces of the former major families of the region, enter their homes frozen over time, cross old stone bridges to discover the temple Gohyakurakan and its hundreds of Buddhist statues.
A stay in Shimane would not be complete without a theater representation of Kagura. No doubt unless you are a specialist in shintoism, you will soon be lost by the intrigue and subtleties of these stories of warriors. But players' game, special effects and grandiose costumes, especially those of giant snakes, will keep you in breath until the end.
Tottori and its beautiful walks
Tottori Prefecture is one of the most amazing regions in Japan. Here again, we move from one landscape to another in a few minutes. We drive from Mitoku Mountain, a sacred place of Buddhism for over 1,300 years to the sand dunes of Tottori, in less than 40 minutes. The contrast is incredible, especially in winter, when the snow mountains are left covered with immaculate white for a camel ride on the sand by the sea of Japan. Tottori Dunes are the largest wavy dunes in the country. They allow the most sportsmen in many activities such as paragliding or sandboard. Each year, a sculpture contest is organized at the Sand Museum. Don't miss the Watanabe Art Museum. This museum has a collection of over 30,000 antique objects, including a hundred samurai armors, helmets, katanas, etc. Other geological curiosity, Mount Daisen, the giant of the region. It is one of Japan's most famous summits, and with its national park, allows very nice hiking or cycling. Much more, the ascension of the Sanbutsu-Ji Nageiredō temple on Mitoku Mount. This place is dedicated to the harsh spiritual practices of the Shugendō. The temple has the reputation of being the most dangerous national treasure in Japan. Nageiredō's visit is worth it and is not given to everyone. You'll need to have good shoes, you'll cling to the roots and rocks to reach the rokkon shōjō, the purification of your soul. To recover from this experience, nothing is worth a bath in the hot springs (onsen) of Misasa, at the foot of Mitoku Mountain. They have the particularity of being very rich in radium, making it a great place for thermalism. Known for over eight centuries, these sources have gained international reputation.
Mangas and good
All west of the prefecture, the city of Sakaiminato to honor its most illustrious citizen, Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015), the creator of Kitarō and Yōkai, these natural spirits from Japanese folklore, has adorned its most beautiful arteries of statues representing strange creatures. of the manga. Taxis proudly display on their roofs the big eye, (Kitarō's father), the most unlikely derivatives fill the stalls of many plots, Yonago's airport itself was officially renamed the Kitarō airport, and it's not uncommon to fall. nose on a street, on one of those heroes in person. Hokuei, a city farther west, also has her mangaka illustrious in the person of Yoshimasa Aoyama, father of little Conan. Like Sakaiminato, the small city has many bronzes of comrades from the BD scattered everywhere, a train station and trains decorated in the colors of the famous detective, a museum: The Gōshō Aoyama Manga Factory, during Mizuki Shigeru Museum, dedicated to Kitarō… And if you're not crowded, another destination, Kurayoshi, just as picturesque, awaits you further south. The readers of the distant neighborhood of the draftsman Jirō Taniguchi, award winning at the Angoulême Festival, will recognize the medieval streets and the most emblematic sites of the saga. These three cities organize fun courses that will delight both small and large!
Finally, lovers of good loved ones, you will be very pleasantly surprised by the wealth of the products offered in these two prefectures. First, the Shimane beef meat, known for its unique taste, ideal for sukiyaki or shabu shabu. Izumo soba made of complete buckwheat beans are particularly fragrant, Tottori ramen, cooked in beef-based broth, Nijisseiki Nashi pears, which have a dedicated museum. You can also cite the watermelon of Tottori, juicy, the huge oysters of the sea of Japan, Sakai seiches, the various fish for an unforgettable sashimi part. But the indisputable star is undoubtedly snow crab, a true must that we can taste immediately caught. It is consumed in various ways: grilled, soup, believed. It's a treat! Add to this many local beers like Daisen G Beer, world champion in 2011 and tasty sake, Shimane prefecture alone accounts for nearly 32 breweries and Tottori 18.
When? Shimane and Tottori visit all year and every season of wonder. Spring - cherry cherry period - and fall are particularly popular for the beauty of vegetation. But if you want to enjoy your stay in the sea of Japan, or to ski on the snow slopes of Mount Daisen, summer and winter are options.
Go there. There is no direct flight between France and these two prefectures. You will need to go to Tokyo or Kyōto first, and then take a domestic flight for one of the two destinations. You can also travel aboard the Shinkansen, the Japanese high speed train. Japan Rail offers an unlimited pass system.
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