|Manhole cover at Hinomisaki|
If you happen to travel to Izumo by car, or if you choose to rent a car from a rental agency nearby, you can explore much more of the city, specifically, the little coastal hamlet of Hinomisaki.
Follow signs to Hinomisaki, up the windy route 29. After a fifteen-minute drive, you will come to an abandon hotel on the left side. I’ve never been inside the hotel, but others have. I'm more afraid of getting in trouble for trespassing than I am of ghosts, but the hotel is worth a look just for the novelty of it.
The road dead-ends into a large parking lot, and that’s how you know you have made it to Hinomisaki. If you are there before 4:00 pm, grab a kaisendon (raw fish over rice) at any one of the many restaurants by the lighthouse.
I always stop at Hinomisaki Shrine first, which is a mere five-minute walk from the lighthouse. It's completely free and almost totally empty. Every time I have been there the place has been deserted, which gave it a serene and eerie atmosphere.
|Rock for seagulls, called "Sea Cats" in Japanese|
After you explore the shrine, head to the lighthouse, which is the tallest in Japan. If you are there before 4:00 pm, you can go up to the top, but I have never made the climb myself. I prefer to watch the sunset from the rocky cliff at the foot of the lighthouse. Cue romance!
Kirara TakiFrom Izumo, if you are heading toward western Shimane by car, I recommend stopping at Kirara taki, a reststop on Route 9 just before the town of Oda. This is a huge place and you can’t miss it.
Don’t leave without trying the Ichijiku (fig) soft cream, which is their specialty!
If you missed kaisendon at Hinomisaki, the restaurant at Kirara has some good options!
I also love the bakery, which is quiet popular.
|Kaisendon at KiraraTaki|
|Ichijiku - fig - ice cream|
Outer Izumo Map: