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The Soul of Shimane

Step into the enchanting realm of Shimane Prefecture, where you will be prepared to be swept away by a symphony of cultural treasures, timeless beauty and nostalgic countryside. Nestled in the western part of Honshu, one of the less-trodden prefectures of Japan beckons travelers with its pristine landscapes and rich heritage. Straddling the coast of the Sea of Japan, the breathtaking coastlines and the immaculate and storied traditions of Shimane provides all the sense of awe and grandeur. The samurai heritage prominent exuding a lost Japan, so little-known that a journey there will stay in the memories for a long time, effortlessly.

This journey outline is by no means fixed. As the traveller takes centre stage in our planning – from the type of lodging to daily activities – your journey will be crafted to suit you.

Day by Day Highlights

Day 1
Arrive Masuda / Tsuwano

Arrive into Masuda’s Hagi-Iwami Airport where we begin our exploration of Shimane Prefecture with a pleasant drive to the historic samurai town of Tsuwano, named the “Kyoto of the Sanin”. Visit the incredible Taikodani Inari Shrine, one of the five most important “Inari” shrines in Japan built in 1773. Be mesmerized by the spectacular “torii tunnel that exceed more than 1,000 as we make the approach to the stunning shrine. We pray for good luck to our journey amid an opportunity to be enthralled by the Mikomai dance ritual, performed by shrine maidens. Stroll the historic center of the town at the Tonomachi-dori, lined with traditional buildings, teahouses and shops and a beautiful canal where carps swim freely and learn about Tsuwano’s samurai legacy from the remnants of old “buke-yashiki” residences.

Worth visiting as well is the Tsuwano Catholic Church, built by Father Schafer, a German, in 1931 that contrasts against the feudal atmosphere of Tsuwano’s townscape with its Gothic-inspired architecture but interestingly, fitted with tatami flooring. Admire the Anno Mitsumasa Art Museum, who won the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, detailing some of his finest contributions to the world of folklore and literature. Stop at the Komien Kamiryo Chaho, a local teashop run by a French and Japanese couple that specialize in Zaracha local tea, that has been consumed since the Edo Period.

Day 2
Tsuwano / Hamada / Arifuku Onsen

A short drive takes us to the spectacular surroundings of Shusuien – home to the “Mamecha” tea plantations of Tsuwano that has been the pride of the region since ancient times, where we enjoy an immersive understanding of the medicinal qualities of Tsuwano Mamecha. Thereafter, we continue to Nishida Washi Kobo Mill, one of the region’s most celebrated mills of Sekishu-styled washi for its preservation and authentic lineages of Sekishu washi-making learning about its incredible strength and durability that is pivotal for Shimane Prefecture’s Iwami Kagura theatrical performances.

Shortly, continue to the incredible Murodani Rice Terraces, one of the largest rice terraces in Japan with over 4,000 paddy fields that had been cultivated since the Heian Period (794 – 1185) and selected as one of Japan’s “Top 100 Terraced Rice Fields”. From here, we arrive at the Kakita Katsuro Mask Workshop, with a deep understanding into the world of Iwami Kagura unique to Shimane Prefecture. The father and son mask craft makers make the Kagura masks in their studio and here, you will learn about the intricate manufacturing of the masks, made from Sekishu washi paper. This evening after dinner, an opportunity for you to witness the legendary Iwami Kagura performance at the Yu no Machi Kagura-den that involves a dramatic and high-energy presentation of songs and dance, performed in dedication to the Shinto Gods.

Day 3
Arifuku Onsen / Iwami Ginzan / Izumo-Hirata

Departing Arifuku Onsen along the Sea of Japan, visit the Nima Sand Museum, with its interesting glass pyramidal design, conceptualized by world-renowned architect Shin Takamatsu. Consisting of a total of 6 glass pyramids, the museum is an ode to the Sanin Kaigan’s “Singing Sands” that makes mysterious sounds when stepped on.

Continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, that once flourished between 1527 to as recent as 1923 with more than half of the world’s silver were sourced here. Beginning our insightful visit, we start from the center of Omori town, winding through the streets of historic buildings before leading to the Ryugenji Tunnel on the Ginzan-Kodo course where we enter into the depths to understand life back in the day.

Day 4
Izumo-Hirata (The Izumo Domain)

Visit to the ancient Izumo Taisha, one of the oldest and most important Shinto shrines in Japan, designated as a National Treasure, enshrining Okuninushi, the deity promoting good encounters in life. Stop to admire the Bentenjima on Inasanohama Beach, a picturesque stop and one of the most photographed rock in West Japan. Return to Izumo-Hirata thereafter where we focus on the legacies of the “Momen Kaido”.

Visit the Oka Moichiro Shoten Shoyu Factory, founded in 1897 since the end of the Edo Period that has still been employing the same traditional technique of double fermentation in making high quality soy sauce. Enter into Ishibashi-tei, the 250-year old former residence of Daimyos “feudal lords” where you get a sense of the lavish lifestyle and ornate decorations of the wealthy. Our next stop will be the Mochida Honten Sake Brewery, established in 1877 and a government-registered tangible cultural property for its historic relevance and importance.

Day 5
Izumo-Hirata / Matsue / Kaike Onsen

We depart Izumo-Hirata today for the water city of Matsue, renowned for its beautiful waterways and canals. Matsue’s rich samurai heritage is deeply embedded in the city’s history and culture and was the stronghold of the Matsudaira clan. Explore the well-preserved Shiomi Nawate district, lined with beautiful samurai houses which runs alongside the northern moat of Matsue Castle. Designated a Cultural Preservation Area for its impressive collection of feudal era buildings. Our walk takes us next to the Meimei-an Teahouse, built in 1779 by Harusato Matsudaira, the lord who introduced tea ceremony culture across the region. Be in awe of the precision of the tea preparation developed in the signature “Fumai-ryu” style and enjoy matcha and wagashi.

Continue to the impressive Horan-enya Memorial Hall, dedicated to one of the three biggest boat festivals in Japan, a Shinto ritual with 370 years of history and in Matsue, it is rare considered the festival is held once every 10 years. From here, we take a walk to the Matsue Castle, named the “Black Castle” and without doubt, one of Japan’s most beautiful and significant, for being one of only 12 remaining original castles and one of only 5 designated as a National Treasure. Later, visit the historic Kokki Sake Brewery, on the shores of Lake Shinji set in a building that was the former storehouse of the Matsudaira clan.

Day 6
Kaike Onsen (Arts & Crafts of Yasugi and Daisen through the Lens)

Enjoy an excursion to Yasugi, where the pace of life gradually slows down. We dedicate the first half of the day for a visit to the renowned Adachi Museum of Art, founded by businessman Zenko Adachi who believed that a Japanese garden should be seen as a living painting. Later, we head on to the town of Hirose to meet Mr Hisashi Amano at his workshop, Amanokouya to let us into the art and traditions of Aizome indigo dyeing that has continued for over 150 years.

Return to Tottori Prefecture to the foot of Mount Daisen visiting the impressive Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography, displaying some of the most incredible works of the renowned and internationally-celebrated late photographer.

Day 7
Departure Yonago

Today, an incredible journey comes to an end as we transfer to Yonago Kitaro Airport (20minsdrive) where we will board our domestic flight to Tokyo Haneda for departure.

Let’s plan your perfect escape. To start the conversation, contact us via our interactive form or drop us an email at


Practical Information

Locations covered

Tsuwano, Hamada, Arifuku Onsen, Iwami Ginzan, Izumo-Hirata, Matsue, Yasugi, Yonago

Recommended months to travel

Late March – Early December

Level of difficulty


Indicative price

SGD$9,000 - $13,000/pax based on twin-sharing, on a private basis. Excludes international flights.

As we’ll customise your journey based on your preferences and needs, please note that this indicative price is just a rough estimate. Prices can fluctuate depending on season, type of accommodation and activities/experiences chosen (private vs. shared) etc.

This journey outline is by no means conclusive. It is just a guideline and can be tailored according to your comfort level, interests and preferences for every detail from accommodation to activities.

This journey outline is by no means conclusive. It is just a guideline and can be tailored according to your comfort level, interests and preferences for every detail from accommodation to activities.

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