Where all the Gods of Japan gather

Izumo Taisha

visit west japan, visitwestjapan, shimane prefecture
Photo | Izumo City Facebook Page

 

Located in Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture, this shrine is said to be the oldest in Japan, dating back to the 7th century. This was the time when Japan became recognizable as a political entity so it is safe to say that is has existed for as long as the nation has. That being the case, the founding deities of the Shinto pantheon are enshrined there and people from around the country take comfort from a visit.

One of the mysteries of the shrine concerns its original dimensions. Archaeological excavations have brought to light that the original structure may have been much larger and older as revealed by the remains of massive pillars that have been uncovered.

A statue of the great god Okuninushi greets you at the entrance to the shrine with arms raised to the heavens. From there you walk down a path of pine trees which lead you to the 24 meter high Great Hall.

As Izumo Taisha is so ingrained in the national consciousness, it draws visitors nationwide who come with prayers for success in their exams, relationships and life in general. There are also a myriad of events held throughout the year and it is actually safe to say that there is literally something always happening within the complex.

One of the rare spectacles at the shrine is the changing of the unimaginably massive rope that hangs at the entrance. At a staggering 13.6 meters in length, 5.2 tons in weight, and approximately 8 meters in circumference people gather in great numbers to witness its replacement every few years.

Traditional performances such as the ancient kagura dance for the gods are regularly held at the shrine making it a wonderful place to connect with Japanese culture. If you happen to visit the area on New Year’s Day, a visit to Izumo Taisha should be on the top of your itinerary.

 

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.

 

 

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee