Monday, October 5, 2015

Shimane Guide: Inner Izumo Edition

Omikuji Tree at Izumo Taisha

Izumo city is the second largest city in Shimane, and located just minutes to the west of Matsue, and is also accessible by bus or train from many major cities in Japan.

When I first arrived in Shimane, I tool the Sunrise Izumo, an overnight train from Tokyo to Izumo. I liked this journey, though I had to sleep on the floor....

From Izumo Station, I recommend taking the local Dentetsu-Izumo line to IzumoTaisha Mae station. I made this same journey in 2010, although the station looks very different today! When I first visited there were hardly any businesses around the Taisha, and almost no tourists. Now, there is even a café in the Taisha Mae station!

Everything you need is now right outside Izumo Taisha. First, you must visit the Taisha itself, which is the oldest in Japan. Remember, when making a prayer, clap four times – twice for yourself, and twice for your current or future partner. When I visited the Taisha in 2010, I wished that I would get married – and my wish came true! 

Around the Taisha you will find tons of restaurants and shop, but I will recommend a few unqiue places.

Taisha Starbucks
I know Starbucks is all over the world, but this one is truly special. Even if you don’t want a drink, go inside just to experience the traditional Japanese atmosphere.

Izumo Taisha Starbucks

Sanbe Burger
For lunch, head to Sanbe Burger, a Shimane establishment, named after the local Mt. Sanbe. Order their original Izumo Buger, which is only available in this location.
The Izumo Burger

Inside of Sanbe Burger Izumo

Zenzai Marco Cafe
For dessert, Izumo is famous for Zenzai. There are many cafes selling this all over Japan, but I prefer Marco Café.  Go upstairs and enjoy the youthful, homey atmosphere. The original Zenzai is good, but I prefer the much sweeter Zenzai with ice cream.

Too excited, as usual

Zenzai with ice cream, the dessert of Izumo

Izumo Soba
If you are still hanging around for dinner, try Izumo soba from any one of the many soba restaurants in the area. I recommend, “soba three ways” or "soba five ways."

Izumo soba: five ways

Map of Izumo:

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