Today, I take you (re) discover Sanin region, which brings together the prefectures of Shimane and Tottori, by the Sea of Japan. On the program: nostalgic visits, superb landscapes, villainous onsen and brigand’s evening with hostesses …
IZUMO, A SPIRITUAL AND PLEASANT PLACE
Direction first of all the city ofIzumo, in Shimane prefecture. It’s a place that I know well where you really feel a very spiritual side with its sanctuary Izumo Taisha, one of the most important in Japan where every year all the gods from all the shrines of the country come to gather for a week.
Right next to it, we find Inasa No Hama, a sacred beach by which all the gods arrive during their week in Izumo.
One of my favorite places in Izumo is the Izumo Bunka Denshokan (Izumo Cultural Heritage Museum), a cultural museum with garden, tea pavilion and Soba restaurant which served as a model for the manga Shaman King.
Finally, I tasted the specialty of the city: Izumo Soba at Haneya restaurant. Izumo, it’s really a nice place and I invite you to see my video dedicated to Izumo released at the end of 2018 to discover other places in the city! 🙂
TAMATSUKURI ONSEN, THE BATHS OF THE GODS
Direction then Tamatsukuri Onsen, the Onsen district of the city of Matsue. Nicknamed the baths of the gods, it is said that for millennia the gods have come to bathe here during their week of meeting in Izumo.
There are 15 Ryokan there and I highly recommend you Chorakuen, an exceptional hostel that includes the largest mixed onsen in Japan ! We bathe there with a disposable swimsuit and tattoos are allowed. You can also enjoy a night stroll in the large garden of the Ryokan and of course walk the Ashiyu Tamatsukuri Onsen audiences.
MATSUE, A CITY I LOVE
The next day, I visited the highlights of Matsue with first of all Matsue castle, one of the last 12 authentic Japanese castles which is my favorite in Japan because the interior is worth it. Walking a bit, then arrive at the historic street Shiomi Nawate and its many museums, shops and old restaurants.
Matsue being with Kyoto and Kanazawa one of the 3 cities known for their Wagashi (Japanese pastries that accompany Matcha tea) I went to taste it at MeiMei-An, a tea pavilion that dates from 250 years ago.
I then went to visit the Yuushien garden which is truly magnificent all year round. Even in February, we can fully enjoy it!
Without forgetting of course the famous sunset of shinji lake…
RETURN TO MIHONOSEKI, A SMALL FISHING VILLAGE
In the evening I spent the night at Mihonoseki, a small fishing village located in the town of Matsue. He is known for his large Miho-jinja shrine, dedicated to Ebisu, divinity of fishermen and merchants and where every morning a Mikomai (dance of Miko, young women in red and white in the service of the sanctuary).
In this village, there are not 30,000 things to do but it is a nice place to rest away from it all and feel an atmosphere of old Japan. And there are also pretty Onsen, like the one at the inn Mihokan which dominates the whole village!
And then I was able to see Sumiyoshi San again, whom I had met more than 3 years ago during my stay in Mihonoseki.
SAKAIMINATO, THE TOWN OF SHIGERU MIZUKI
The next day I went to find out Sakaiminato, in the prefecture of Tottori (but actually right next to Mihonoseki). It is a port city through which one can reach the very wild Oki Islands, where I visited 3 years ago. But it is above all the city of Shigeru Mizuki, a mangaka who is a legend in Japan and who has dedicated his work to Yokai, the creatures of Japanese folklore.
I recommend you in particular the Yokai dictionary which is fascinating, but his most famous work is GeGeGe No Kitaro or Kitaro the Repulsive, the story of a Yokai who seeks peace in the world by trying to reconcile Yokai and humans. It’s really well known in Japan, moreover the latest Anime is still broadcast every Sunday on Japanese TV just before One Piece.
YONAGO UNDER THE SNOW
Then direction the city of Yonago, right next to Sakaiminato, to enjoy the snow at Teramachi, the historic district of the city which includes 9 temples aligned on the same street, then to ruins of Yonago castle which offer a superb panorama.
I also found there Hibinokate, a great restaurant 100% vegan run by a Japanese woman who has lived in France and speaks perfect French.
THE ADACHI ART MUSEUM
Then return to Matsue prefecture, more precisely in the city of Yasugi, to visit the Adachi art museum. It is famous for its original and very pretty garden, considered one of the most beautiful in Japan.
Next door, you can also attend daily performances of Yasugi Bushi, the local folk dance which features a funny fisherman.
THE EVENING OF THE BRAVES IN MATSUE
After these 3 days of visit, I returned to Matsue to spend the last night of the trip which reserved a lot of surprises for me!
I first discovered Bubutei, a Midnight Dinner-style restaurant that only open at night, run by a grandpa and a grandma who prepare whatever the customers want based on the ingredients they have. My big recommendation if you come to Matsue!
There, I met Mogura San, a Japanese man who enlisted me in the nightlife district of Matsue! I thus met the hostesses of the Snack Seven Colors who were very cool and allowed me to do a little interview that you can find in the video! 🙂
This is where this trip to the Sanin region ended, a place that is unfairly too neglected but that I recommend to you, if only for the warmth of the people! 🙂