Monday, October 26, 2015

Shimane Guide: Oda Edition

The city of Oda is just outside the limits of Izumo, about 45 minutes to one hour by car. It is accessible by train, but the San-In line only comes  few times a day, is slow, and often late. Also, nothing is within walking distance to Oda Station.

I recommend exploring the area by car. I have divided the Oda activities up into two regions, which are about an hour apart form one another: Mt. Sanbe region and Iwami Ginzan region

Mt. Sanbe region

Before you climb Mt. Sanbe, visit Sanbe Burger, at the foothills of the park. You might recognize Sanbe Burger from Izumo, but this is the original. Definitely worth a stop. You will need the calories if you plan to climb to Sanbe.

Mt. Sanbe or Sanbe-San, as it is known in Japanese, is the generic name for a range of mountains in Japan. Osanbe San is the tallest.  There is also Ko-Sanbe, which is a steep course, involving climbing on all fours, and Jo-Sanbe, which is much easier, but offers a strange and surreal view from the top, covering with netting.

I have personally climbed Ko Sanbe, Jo-Sanbe and O-Sanbe. Here are some images from those hikes:

After climbing the mountain, you will be a sweaty mess. How about rinsing off at the nearby Sanbe Onsen, an internationally famous place with traditional outdoor baths. Usually people with tattoos are not allowed in Japanese Onsens, but Sanbe welcomes them. Admission is cheap and I usually spend about 1 hour at the onsen.

After the Onsen, I recommend dinner at Café Doma. This was one of my go-to cafes in Shimane, but it also serves great food. I recommend the curry rice, or whatever their seasonal special is. Here are some photos from this great café.

Iwami Ginzan region

Iwami Ginzan is a restored mining town in another part of Oda. It is a UNESCO world heritage site with a visitor center completed in 2007. There are two main things to view here: the mining town, and the mines. One could easily spend hours walking slowly down the main road of the mining town, visiting tiny tea shops and souvenir shops, but the mine itself is also worth a visit. Foreign visitors even get a special discount, and when I took my father, they even had an English-speaking guide present. 

Park at the Visitor's center and take a bus to the start of the town, or park near the police station and walk. It's about a half-hour stroll from the start of the town to the entrance of the mines. 

A walk through the old mining town

view of the mining town from atop a temple

a walk up to the shrine

view from along the mining town

a patio of a local shop

view of the houses and fall leaves

crossing a bridge while walking through the town

crossing over a bridge in the town

view from inside a store

ascending the stairs to a temple

view from the path to the mines

cemetery near the entrance to the mines

the mining town

underground in the mines

things got pretty narrow

but at least it was well lit

After visiting the mines, which was surround by Shimane’s lush and beautiful scenery, I recommend having coffee or lunch in the mining town. Café Cagliari serves excellent coffee and muffins. The gregarious owner lived in Italy for a while and will spare you no detail if you are willing to listen. 

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