The tallest lighthouse in Japan at over 43 meters, Hinomisaki is considered one of the 100 most beautiful on the planet. This Western-style structure was completed in 1903, which was just two years after the death of Richard Henry Brunton, a British subject who is considered to be the father of Japanese lighthouses. While he did not construct Hinomisaki Lighthouse, there are many similarities to the 26 that he built around Japan, the last of which was completed in 1876.
Hinomisaki Lighthouse is open to the public and for a modest entrance fee you can treat yourself to a panoramic view of Hinomisaki Cape. As you make your way up the seemingly endless spiral staircase, you will notice the black and white photos on the walls that tell the story of the lighthouse’s construction. On a clear day you can see all the way out to the Oki Islands from the top floor.
There is a park that surrounds the lighthouse with pathways that run around the cape.The cedar trees add an extra touch of beauty to the entire scene. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the cape is the most obvious. The high elevation and the absence of guardrails is enough to make your knees shake at times so it is a good idea to tread carefully.
The neighborhood near the lighthouse has several quaint souvenir shops and places to buy snacks. A stroll through the area doesn’t take long and is a good way to connect with the locals.
Hinomisaki Shrine is nearby if you feel like taking in another sightseeing spot. Its fiery vermilion and bright white color scheme starkly contrasts Izumo Taisha’s dark earth tones.
Access: Take the Super Yakumo Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Izumo Station. Hinomisaki Lighthouse is about an hour bus ride from JR Izumo-shi Station.
About the Area
Shimane Prefecture can be understood best by making a distinction between its eastern and western halves. The east is made up of the cities and towns near and around Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi.
The major municipalities include the cities of Yasugi, Matsue and Izumo. An area of exception that should also be in this category is the Oki Island Archipelago, which is 75-85 kilometers off the coast. The eastern region of Shimane has the largest population and is home to the prefectural capital, Matsue City.
Western Shimane Prefecture or more precisely the southwest, includes the cities of Masuda and Hamada as well as the Tsuwano Town on the border with Yamaguchi Prefecture. The western half of Shimane is characterized by its natural beauty from the hinterland to the coast.
The cultural bond that unites the entire prefecture can be found in the shared reverence for the history, myths and legends of the land. One example is the Kagura dance for the gods that is performed throughout Shimane in several variations.
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