Secret San'in

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Culture & History

History Over Two Millennia Old and Locals Still Involved in an Ancient Culture

Mysterious ruins, traditional dances, and divine gatherings can all be found here in the San'in region. With historic sites that you can visit and centuries-old working techniques that you can still witness, this is one of the areas with the most ancient history to see, explore, and experience in Japan.

A Heritage Preserved by the Locals' Love

Traveling San'in feels like touring a massive open-air museum. The remains of mysterious structures of the Izumo Taisha shrine will let your imagination run wild about what could have been, while the many bronze artifacts found in this area open a time gate all the way back to thousands of years ago.

The very air around the many religious sites fills with mysticism, as you listen to century-old myths narrated by the people of this land. You will feel the sacrifice of hundreds of men as you enter the dark tunnels of an ancient silver mine and appreciate the dedication of craftsmen as you discover the old furnaces used to produce steel for Japanese swords. The people of San'in are its most precious treasure, as they keep their traditions alive with passion and work hard to preserve the traces of their past.

Where to Visit

  • Izumo Taisha Area

    Massive wooden pillars were excavated from the grounds of the Izumo Taisha Shrine. The purpose of these columns eludes experts to this day. Many have speculated what this structure could have been and impressive models of what the shrine might have looked like can be seen at the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo.

    Yonago Airport

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  • Sugaya Tatara Sannai

    Until the early 1900s Shimane Prefecture was home to a thriving iron trade. The tatara furnace was, and still is used to this day to produce the steel for forging Japanese swords. The last remaining original tatara building in Japan can be found here in the city of Unnan.

    Yonago Airport

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  • Wakou Museum

    At this museum in Yasugi city you will learn everything about the ancient Japanese steelmaking technique called Tatara. Through interesting exhibitions and plentiful English explanations, Wakou illustrates the process of gathering iron sand from the surrounding mountains and using the Tatara technique to make tama-hagane, the concentrated steel used for Japanese swords.

    Yonago Airport

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  • Kurayoshi

    Immerse yourself in old Japan in Kurayoshi, a historic town once home of the provincial government of the Houki region. Stroll along the picturesque white-walled storehouses and restored traditional houses from the Edo Period, and feel like you're walking on the set of a samurai movie.

    Tottori Airport

    Yonago Airport

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  • Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo

    This museum features impressive exhibits about the history of Izumo and the Shimane Prefecture. The highlight is a massive wooden pillar dating back to the 13th century found under the Izumo Taisha Shrine, and the reconstructions of the ancient main hall of the shrine based on the size of these pillars.

    Yonago Airport

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