The coast of the Japan Sea is home to some of the best beaches in the country and Inasa is a fine example. Considered one of the most beautiful in the nation, it is both a haven for swimmers and a key spot for ritual offerings to the gods.
According to local beliefs, gods from around Japan gather there on October 10th at a ceremony that is held on the beach, where priests light a special fire to summon them.
Dozens, if not hundreds of spectators, watch the event from several meters away, captivated by the flames and the movements of the priests. There is a charge in the air brought on by the darkness and the sound of the waves rolling along the beach.
The most popular spot for photos at Inasa Beach is Benten Shima. A Shinto gate and small shrine sit atop this rock outcropping that juts sharply from the spot where the sea meets the sand.
After a day at the beach, visit nearby Houno Uzan Park and Izuki Kaihin Park. Houno Uzan Park is only a few minutes inland from Inasa beach and Izuki Kaihin Park is just down the coastline. Izumo Taisha is also close, so if you haven’t been there yet it is the perfect chance for a visit.
There are a number of fine eateries in the area which offer some delicious local cuisine and if you would like to stay the night there are quite a few hotels, guesthouses and hot spring resorts as well.
Inasa Beach and the surrounding community is a wonderful place to feel the connection between the spiritual and the natural world.
Access: Take the Yakumo Super Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Izumo-shi Station. Take the bus bound for Hinomisaki Lighthouse to the Inasa-no-Hama (Inasa Beach) stop.
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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