2019 Matsue Water Lantern Festival (9/21-10/31)

Light up the Castle Town of Matsue

Matsue Water Lantern Festival (Matsue Suitoro) is a light-up event taking place in Matsue, where is known as a water city. During the event, about 2,000 lanterns are set up at Matsue Castle and the surrounding area. Main Events are held on weekends and public holidays during 9/21-10/31 from 6PM to 9PM (*except for 10/22).

*Please come back again for more updates

Suitouro Map

VENUE: 
Matsue Castle [map] and the surrounding area

TIME:
6PM – 9PM

Opening Lighting Ceremony (by Matsue Samurai Supporters)
9/21  5:55 PM~
At Otemae Hiroba Boat Pier [map]

MAIN EVENT DATES:
September  21 / 22* / 23* / 28 / 29   *canceled due to typhoon (updated 9/20)
October      5 / 6 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 27

[OFFICIAL WEBSITE]   https://www.suitouro.jp/ (Japanese site)

Matsue Water Lantern Festival

 

Horikawa Night Sightseeing Boat Tour

At the Horikawa Night Sightseeing Boat Tour which goes the castle moat  (The night operation is only during the period of this event), visitors can enjoy the fantastic and mysterious atmosphere made by lights in the darkness and the reflections in the water. Various events, such as music and art events also take place mainly in the castle ground and Shiomi-nawate Street.

Horikawa-night-boat-tour

Date:  Main event dates only (*Please see above)
Time:   6PM ~ 9PM
Fare:   <One-way>  Adult : 800 yen / Child : 400 yen / Charter : 7,200 yen (1 boat / need prior booking)
Boarding Points:  Otemae Hiroba [map] ⇔ Fureai Hiroba [map]  ※20 min one-way

 

Special Night Green Tea Service at the top floor of Matsue Castle

Enjoy a bowl of green tea and a Japanese confectionery made in Matsue at the top floor of National Treasure Matsue Castle, while looking over the beautiful night scenery of the castle town.

Matsue-castle

Date:  Main event dates only (*Please see above)
Time:  6PM ~ 8PM
Price:  700 yen (green tea & Japanese confectionery) (50 sets per night)
*Admission fee for the castle to be paid separately
Location:  At the top floor of the castle

Matsue Castle Night Entrance

Date:  Main event dates only (*Please see above)
Time:  6PM ~ 9PM  (Last admission at 8:30PM)
Price:  (~9/30) Adult: 330 yen / Child: 140 yen (10/1~) Adult: 340 yen / Child: 140 yen
Location:  Matsue Castle [map]

 

Suitoro at Kencho Garden

In collaboration with Matsue Water Lantern Festival, Shimane Prefectural Government Office holds a small water lantern festival, called “Yuitoro” at the front garden for 3 nights during the Festival. There will be rows of handmade water lanterns, cafe, live music as well as the lighting-up of the government office building which has been designated as Registered Tangible Cultural Property along with the surrounding prefectural buildings in August 2019.

suitoro

Date:  10/18, 10/19 & 10/20
Time:  6PM ~ 9PM  (*close at 8:30PM on 10/20)
Location:  Front garden of Shimane Prefectural Government Office  [map]

 

Access

Free Shuttle Bus:   Main event dates only (*Please see above)
(JR Matsue Sta. South Ext.[map]~ Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Sta.[map] ~ Otemae[map])
shuttlebus

From JR Matsue Station:
By bus: 10 min by public bus bound for Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Sta.
By foot: 30 min walk (2km)

From HIROSHIMA:
By highway bus: There is a special promotion for international travelers!
Please check here!     HIROSHIMA – MATSUE 500YEN BUS (4/1/2019 ~ 3/31/2020)

 

 

2019 UMI KAGURA (9/15)

The gorgeous costumes, the rhythmical sounds of Japanese instruments, and the dynamic movements all come together at a marvelous location for the special event called “Umi Kagura”.  

What is “Umi Kagura”?

In the Iwami region of Shimane, as the sky begins to darken stories of the “kami” gods battling the forces of evil are told through the performances known as Iwami Kagura. During the weekends performances are held at the local shrines and performed by the local troupes.

This year, Iwami Kagura has been designated a Japan Heritage!!

In the Iwami region of Shimane, as the sky begins to darken, locals gather at their local shrines to watch the stories of the “kami” deities battling the forces of evil through the performances known as Iwami Kagura. But once every year, the stage is set at a different location. A more natural setting, somewhere where the setting sun sets the backdrop, the ocean air fills the atmosphere, and the gentle sound of the waves crashing against the coastline can be heard within the beats of the music.

Last year’s “Umi Kagura” event.

*Last year was a special event so the event stage will differ from this year.

This year’s “Umi Kagura” event takes place on September 15th (sunday) and is set at the beach on the coastline of the Sea of Japan with the setting sun in the background. It’s a small event where locals gather to watch the stories of Iwami Kagura and support their local troupe.

Information

Date: September 15, 2019 (Sun)
Time: 16:00 ~ 21:00
Price: 2,000 JPY w/ 1 free drink incl. *tickets can be bought from 15:30 on the day 
Location: Fukumitsu Beach, Ohda City
Website: https://iwaminokuni.jp/news/20190819.html

Where is it?

Fukumitsu Beach (5min walk from JR Iwami Fukumitsu Station)

Fukumitsu Kaigan, Yunotsu-cho, Ohda City, Shimane Prefecture

 

Directions to JR Iwami Fukumitsu Station

Example 1 : From Izumo Airport side

[Rapid Service Train]
MATSUE STATION (13:20 departure)
-> IZUMOSHI STATION (14:01 departure)
-> YUNOTSU STATION (14:50 arrival)
  transfer
-> [Normal Train] YUNOTSU STATION (15:46 departure)
-> IWAMI FUKUMITSU STATION (15:49 arrival)

Example 2 : From Hagi-Iwami Airport side

[Normal Train] MASUDA STATION (13:30 departure)
-> (14:18 arrival) HAMADA STATION
  transfer
[Normal Train] HAMADA STATION (14:37 departure)
-> IWAMI FUKUMITSU STATION (15:21 arrival)

*express trains do not stop at JR Iwami Fukumitsu Station.

umikagura-access

2019 Summer Festivals

Rows of food stalls, music performances and fireworks lighting up the night sky is how Japan celebrates summer. From July through August, summer festivals are held all over the country. And in Shimane, like many other areas in Japan, many people get together to enjoy traditional Japanese-style dancing, singing, fireworks, and the delicious festival foods. Some of the smaller festivals are mostly enjoyed by locals and are recommended for those who really want to experience the traditional Japanese countryside.

Grab your yukata, jinbei, or whatever summer attire you might have and join in on one of the summer festivals in Shimane!

   East Area         Central Area         West Area        Island Area   

 

   Summer Festival in Tamatsukuri Onsen    

Summer event

WHERE:  Tamatsukuri Onsen Area (Tamayu-cho, Matsue City) [map

WHEN:  July 20th (sat)~ August 31st (sat) 2019   everyday from 8:15 p.m. ~

ABOUT :  Tamatsukuri Onsen Area is well known for its long history and highly qualified onsen water. During the summer, while lanterns illuminate the riverside, visitors can enjoy night stalls and various stage events every night. There are night kids stalls offering mini-games that children will love to play! Stage events differ every day. Two shows are shown every night – first show, starting at 8:15 pm featuring local artists, differs every day and second show, starting at 9 pm, showcases traditional performances (Yasugibushi or Izumo Kagura)!! Please stay a night here, take a walk along the riverside and enjoy the Japanese summer night festival!

 

   Kanekobara Mushi Okuri Festival    

Ohnan Mushi Okuri WHERE :  Kanekobara Yakami (Ohnan Town)
Mihoryo Shrine (13:30) ->
Koboku no mori (15:00) ->
Suwa Shrine (17:30)

WHEN :  July 20th (sat)  2019  13:00 ~ 18:00

ABOUT :   A 200-year-old traditional dance to send bugs away from the rice fields! [link]

 

   Tsuwano Gion Festival, Sagimai Ritual    

Yasaka Shrine Sagi-mai

WHERE : Yasaka Shrine and other spots around central Tsuwano
                    (Tsuwano Town, Kanoashi-Gun) [map]

WHEN :  July 20th (sat)  2019  3:00 p.m. ~ 5:10 p.m.
                 July 27th (sat) 2019  3:00 p.m. ~ 5:20 p.m.

ABOUT :  The Sagimai Ritual in Tsuwano is a ritual that has been designated an Important Intangible Cultural Property with 400 years of history. Wearing costumes that evoke herons, ritual dancers perform to music and drums at several spots around Tsuwano. Originating in Kyoto, Tsuwano is the only location in Japan where the Heron Dance has been continuously held for over 400 years. Performed every year on July 20th(during Yasaka Shrine’s Gion Matsuri) and 27th around Tsuwano town center and Yasaka Shrine.

 

   Shirakata Tenmangu Shrine Summer Festival    

Tenjin fes2014

WHERE :  Matsue Castle ~ Shirakata Tenmangu Shrine area (Matsue City) [map]

WHEN :   July 24th (wed)  17:00 ~ , 25th (thurs)     2019

ABOUT :   A lot of night stalls stand on the both sides of the main street that leads to Shirakata Tenmangu Shrine. Group of locals bring portable shrines called mikoshi through the main street accompanied by resounding drums and folk music with cheerful and powerful enthusiasm in the heated summer evening air. You can totally soak yourself up in and enjoy the mood of Japanese summer festival!

 

    Mitoya Tenmangu Shrine Summer Festival    

mitoya tenmangu-shrine
WHERE :  Mitoya Shopping Street  (Mitoya-cho, Unnan City) [map]  

WHEN :   July 25th (thurs) 2019

 

 

    Hikawa DanDan Yosakoi-sai Festival   

WHERE :  [STAGE] Youme Town Hikawa  (Hikawa-cho, Izumo City) [map]

[PARADE] Shobara Green Town

[CONTEST STAGE] Izumo Irisuno-Oka  [map]

WHEN :   July 27th (sat) 2019  12:00 ~ 21:30

INFORMATION: [link]

 

    Hirata Festival / Hirata Tanabata Decorated Boat Parade   

WHERE :  Hirata-cho Main Street (Hirata-cho, Izumo City)

WHEN :   July 27th (sat) 2019

Hirata Festival Stage Event 13:00 ~ 18:00

Hirata Tanabata Decorated Boat Parade 19:00 ~ 20:30

INFORMATION: [link]

 

    Okinoshima Town Summer Festival   

WHERE : Saigo Port  (Okinoshima Town) [map]

WHEN :  August 3rd (sat)  2019  17:00 ~ 21:00

ABOUT :  Walk down rows of food stalls while watching special performances of Oki folk songs on stage.

 

   Yamanba Festival   

WHERE : Yakami Elementary School (Ohnan Town) [map]

WHEN :  August 14th (wed)  2019  18:30 ~ 22:00

ABOUT :  Parade floats built by the 5 village councils that make up the Yakami district is a sight to see. The “Yamanba Odori” dance is something everyone can enjoy participating in. The shops and bazaars are also popular every year.

 

    Takase River Lantern Floating Festival   

WHERE : Takase River (Izumo City) [map]

WHEN :  August 15th (thurs)  2019  20:00 ~ 

 

   Tsuwano Lantern Floating Festival    

WHERE : River bed near Tsuwano Ohashi Bridge (Tsuwano Town) [map]

WHEN :  August 15th (thurs)  2019  19:00 ~ 

ABOUT :  An old end of summer tradition of the “Little Kyoto” Tsuwano town. The multicolored lanterns, that carry the spirits of the ancestors, slowly float down the clear stream creating a spirited away world.

 

   Tsuwano Bon Dance Festival    

WHERE : Tsuwano Tonomachi Street (Tsuwano Town) [map]

WHEN :  August 15th (thurs)  2019  20:30 ~ 22:00 *times may change without notice

ABOUT :  Designated as an Intagible Cultural Assest by the prefecture. This Tsuwano dance is one type of Buddhist invocation dance. In 2017, the festival has reached its 400th anniversary.

 

   Lantern Floating Festival   

WHERE : near Matsue Ohashi Bridge (Matsue City) [map]

WHEN :  August 16th (fri)  2019   19:00 ish ~ 21:00

ABOUT :  The current layout of lantern floating fesival in the “city of water” dubbed Matsue hasn’t changed much since 1955. The lanterns float under many bridges as they make their way down the Ohashi River and the scenery it creates resembles a home town atmosphere you would expect in a fairytale.

 

   Takeuchi Shrine Festival   

WHERE : Takeuchi Shrine (Higashiizumo-cho, Matsue City) [map]

WHEN :  August 31st (sat)  2019

ABOUT :  Festival celebrated at the end of the summer. A little more than 300 stalls lighting up the night for the 100,000 visitors. From 4 o’clock in the morning on the following day, a mysterious Shinto ritual also begins to take place.

 

 

2019 Firework Festivals

 

Japan celebrates spring with “hanami” and they celebrate summer with “hanabi*”. From July through August, summer fireworks festivals are held all over the country. And in Shimane, like many other areas in Japan, many people get together to enjoy the festivities, the fireworks, the delicious festival foods, and to enjoy the time with the camaraderie of friends. Many of the fireworks festivals are parts of larger summer festivals, so please check them out as well. The festivals are really good for those that want to experience the traditional Japanese countryside.

Grab your yukata, jinbei, or whatever summer attire you might have and join in on one of the summer festivals in Shimane!

*hanabi = 花火、はなび = flower fire (lit. transl.) = fireworks.

   East Area         Central Area         West Area        Island Area   

    Nima-Goise Festival     

Nima goise

WHERE :  Around the Nima Sand Museum (Nima-cho, Ohda City)  [map]  

WHEN :  July 13th (sat)  2019  17:00 ~
*fireworks 20:30 ~ (2000 count)

 

   Kisuki Summer Festival    

WHERE :  Hii-River riverbed  (Kisuki-cho, Unnan City)  [map]

WHEN :  July 20th (sat)  2019  *fireworks 20:00 ~  (2000 count)

ABOUT :   Boasting over two hundred years of history, the festival is host to street stalls that line the main street while Kagura (a traditional dance ritual) is performed. Visitors can enjoy about 2,000 fireworks from a distance of just 120m. Kagura starts at 8:30 p.m.

 

   Eena Matsuri Kawamoto Gonokawa River Fireworks Display    

Go-nokawa River Fireworks Festival

WHERE :  Kawamoto Main Street   (Kawamoto Town, Ochi-Gun) [map]  

 WHEN :  July 27th (sat)  2019  *fireworks 20:00 ~ 21:00 (2000 count)

 

   Tonbara-Furusato Summer Festival  

WHERE :  Former Tonbara Brand of Iinan Town Hall (Iinan Town) [map]

 WHEN :  July 27th (sat)  2019  *fireworks 20:30 ~ 21:00 (1000 count)

 

   ‘Koi Koi Koi’ Festival in Tsuwano    

WHERE : Roadside Station Nagomi-no-Sato (Tsuwano Town, Kanoashi-Gun) [map]

WHEN :  July 27th (sat)  2019 18:00~
*fireworks 20:00 ~ 20:40 (3000 count)

ABOUT :   This festival allows guests to traditional drumming and modern performances in the historic town of Tsuwano.

 

    Yurahime Shrine Festival     

WHERE :    Yurahime Shrine (NishinoshimaTown, Oki-Gun) [map]

WHEN :      July 27th (sat), 28th (sun)  2019   *fireworks on 28th at Urago Port [map]

 

   Matsue Suigo-sai Festival    

matsue_suigosai

WHERE :  Lake Shinji, near the Matsue City Office  (Matsue City)  [map

WHEN :   August 3rd (sat) 2019 *fireworks 20:00 ~ 21:00  (10000 count)
               August 4th (sun) 2019  *fireworks 20:00 ~ 20:20 (3000 count)

ABOUT :    One of the biggest festivals in San-in, Matsue Suigo-sai Festival fireworks take place on two days this year. Incredible 10 thousand fireworks are to be set off above the Lake Shinji, which reflects the beautiful sparks of fireworks on its glossy surface.

*Due to the expected amount of traffic, please use public transportation. If you plan on coming by car please park in the designated parking areas.

 

     Tenryo-san Festival      

WHEN :  August 3rd (sat)  2019  17:00~
WHERE :   near JR Odashi Station (Ohda City) [map]
*
WHEN :   August 4th (sun)  2019  9:40~ 
*fireworks 20:00 ~ 21:00 (6000 count)
WHERE :  Kute Port (Ohda City) [map]
*

WHEN :  August 25th (sun)  2019 10:00~
WHERE :  Omori-cho  (Ohda City) [map]

ABOUT :    Tenryo-san festival takes place in 3 days at 3 different venues. On August 4th, more than 6,000 beautiful fireworks are set off at Kute Port. On August 3rd, you can enjoy many local folk performances such as Tenryo Dancing, Tenryo Drums, Iwami Kagura, etc. around JR Oda-shi Station. Lastly, on the 25th, people parade in traditional costumes along with the historic town of Omori, in the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine World Heritage Site!

 

   Masuda Suigo-sai Festival    

WHERE :  Takatsu River Bank (Masuda City) [map]

WHEN :  August 3rd (sat)   2019  16:00 ~
*fireworks 20:00 ~ (4800 count)

 

   Hamakko Summer Festival    

WHERE :   Hamada Port (Hamada City) [map]

WHEN :   August 3rd (sat)  2019  16:00 ~
*fireworks 20:30 ~ 21:15  (5000 count)

   Yunotsu Onsen Summer Festival     

yunotsu summer festival

WHERE :  Yunotsu Port (Ohda City) [map]

WHEN :  August 10th (sat)  2019  17:00 ~
*fireworks 19:50 ~ 20:20 (1000 count)

ABOUT :    Fireworks are displayed over the Japan Sea and you will enjoy the dynamic view of beautiful fireworks at close! Awe-taking Kagura performances, local food stalls are also something that you can really enjoy!

   Daito Tanabata (Star) Festival    

Daito Tanabata Festival

WHERE :  Daito Shopping Street (Daito-cho, Unnan City) [map]

WHEN :    August 6th (tues)  2019  *fireworks 20:30 ~ (1500 count)

ABOUT :    This traditional festival has more than 400 years of history. Bamboo are beautifully decorated with wishing papers, as well as the unique amazing floats with lanterns are a must-see!

 

   Izumo Shinwa (Japanese Myth) Festival    

Izumo Myth Festival

WHERE :   Kunibiki-chuou Street (Imaichicho, Izumo City),
Kandachi River Bank Park (Otsu, Izumo City) [map]

WHEN :  August 10th (sat)  2019   17:00 ~ 20:15
                    *fireworks  August 11th (sun)  2019  19:45 ~ 20:50

ABOUT :    This festival take places over 2 days. Izumo Bon Odori folk dancing on 10th and breathtaking 8,000 fireworks display at the Hii River bank on 11th . The Hii River is the setting of one of the Japanese myths, ‘Yamata-no-orochi’. There will also be many night stalls set up too.

 

    Chiburijima Fireworks Festival     

WHERE :    Chibu Village [map]

WHEN :      August 14th (wed) 2019 18:00 ~
*fireworks  20:00~

 

   Yoshika Town Furusato Summer Festival   

WHERE :  Kakinokimura Aioi Bridge area (Yoshika Town) [map]

WHEN :    August 14th (wed)  2019  *fireworks 20:00 ~ (3,000 count)

 

   Yasugi Tsuki-no-wa Festival    

Tsukinowa

WHERE :   Main street in Yasugi [map] & Yasugi Port (Yasugi City) [map]

WHEN :   August 14th (wed) ~ 17th (sat)   2019
                 *fireworks 8/14 20:00 ~ 20:45 (5000 count)

 

   Tsuwano Nichihara Ayu Summer Festival    

WHERE :   Takatsugawa River Fisheries Cooperative Nichihara Office (Tsuwano Town, Kanoashi-Gun) [map]

WHEN :       August 15th (thurs)  2019  18:00 ~
*fireworks 20:00 ~ 21:00 (2500 count)

 

    Gonokawa River Festival    

Go-nokawa River Fireworks Festival

WHERE :    Around JR Gotsu Station, Gonokawa River (Gotsu City) [map]

WHEN :     August 16th (fri) 2019   10:00 ~
                    *fireworks 20:10 ~ (6000 count + 4000 lanterns on the river)

 

    Kin Nya Monya Festival     

WHERE :    Hishiura Port (Ama Town, Oki-Gun) [map]

WHEN :      August 24th (sat) 2019  food stalls open from 11:00 ~
*parade starts at 18:00 ~; fireworks from 19:30 ~

 

   Minari Atago Festival  

WHERE :  Minari (Okuizumo Town) [map]

 WHEN :  August 24th (sat), 25th (sun) 2019  *fireworks 8/24 20:30 ~ (1000 count)

 

Horan-Enya Festival 2019 (May 18, 22 & 26)

Around 370 years ago, during a time of feudal Japan, the Izumo province was struck with bad weather which lead to a bad harvest that threatened the region with famine. The lord of the domain at the time, Matsudaira Naomasa, then decided to take the deity by boat from Jozan-Inari Shrine, behind Matsue Castle, to Adakaya Shrine on the outskirts of the city in order to pray for a good harvest. That year was Shōhō 4 or 1647 according to the Gregorian calendar and since then they have continued the tradition every 10 or 12 years.

Horan-Enya

Currently, the festival is known as one of three big boat festivals in Japan, where the procession of boats involved total to about 100 boats, but it always didn’t involve that many boats. It actually wasn’t until 1808 when stormy conditions threatened the festival that local fishermen from the Makata village became involved in escorting the boats safely to the shrine. Since then it became a tradition to have these “kaidenma” boats help with the escorting, and four other villages (Yada, Ooi, Fukutomi, Oomisaki) also joined in the ceremony as well.

The ceremony encompasses a total of nine days and is split up into three main parts; “Togyosai” Transfer Festival, “Chuunichisai” Middle Day Festival, “Kangyosai” Return Festival.

“Togyosai”  Transfer Festival
May 18, 2019 (Sat)

“Chunichisai”  Middle Day Festival
May 22, 2019 (Wed.)

“Kangyosai”  Return Festival
May 26, 2019 (Sun.)

 

For more information check out the official Horan-Enya 2019 homepage.
https://www.ho-ran2019matsue.jp/en.html

 

And, check out the Horan-Enya Memorial Hall museum if you want to learn more about the festival and the history of past festivals. They also offer admission discounts to international visitors. ↓More Information↓

To commemorate the festival they are offering FREE ADMISSION on May 18, 26 2019

Also, check out our 1 min. YouTube video of the Horan-Enya Memorial Hall.

Matsue Horan-Enya Memorial Hall (松江ホーランエンヤ伝承館)
■Address: 250, Tonomachi, Matsue City
Google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/yrZWmNaqvb3hj5oS6
■Website: https://matsu-reki.jp/en/horanenya.html
■TEL: 0852-32-1607
■Hours of Operation: [Apr. ~ Sep.] 8:30am – 6:30pm (last admission at 6pm)
[Oct. – Mar.] 8:30 am – 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)
*Closed 3rd Thurs. of the month (Fri. if Thurs. is a holiday)
■Discounted Admission: Adults 100JPY
Elementary/ Junior High School students: 50JPY

SL Yamaguchi Train Schedule for 2019

Experience a Steam Locomotive Journey

SL Yamaguchi

SL Yamaguchi-go Steam Train, is an engine model C571 steam locomotive train which runs through the unspoiled countryside between JR Shin-Yamaguchi Station (Yamaguchi) and Tsuwano Station.  Its beautiful black solid iron body impresses all the SL fans. And even if you are not an SL fan, your heart will beat just as fast when you hear it blowing its whistle as it comes by leaving a trail of steam and smoke. 

SL YamaguchiSL Yamaguchi, also known by its nickname “The Lady”,  is a retro five-coach train with three different car style types.

Shin-yamaguchi Station, easily reachable by bullet train, is where your 2-hour journey on the SL Yamaguchi will start. It is recommended to reserve in the observation coach or open the windows to enjoy the lovely scenery, however, please be careful when you go through tunnels. Hurry back inside and close the windows, or you will find yourself sooty by the time you get out.

 At the last stop, the old castle town of Tsuwano will be waiting for you. At this time you can watch the SL train turn around on the turntable at the Tsuwano Station to make its return trip back to Shin-yamaguchi Station. 

 

SL yamaguchi

History of SL Yamaguchi

 In Japan, steam locomotive trains were put out of service at the end of the 1960s, and steam locomotives on the Yamaguchi Line also disappeared in 1973. However, a lot of SL fans were eager to see restored SLs run again and it was then decided that the traction engine Model C571 would run again on the Yamaguchi Line.

During the summer of 2013, heavy rain hit Shimane several times, leaving damages across the western Shimane. JR Railway’s lines were seriously damaged and some sections were put out of service. SL Yamaguchi was also put out of service for a year and its absence was lamented by not only train fans, but also many locals and sightseers. 

The beloved SL Yamaguchi made its come back the next summer, running proudly through the unspoiled nature again and was welcomed by a lot of people.  

 

Operation schedule 2019
     *The operating schedule may be subject to change.

March – 23, 24, 30, 31
April – 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, 30
May – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
June – 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23,
July – 20, 21, 27, 28
August – 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
September – 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29
October – 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 26, 27
November – 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 17, 24

※ SL Yamaguchi doesn’t run during winter, except Christmas holidays and New Year holidays.

Time Table
[Outbound : Shin-Yamaguchi 10:50 ⇒ Yamaguchi 11:13 ⇒ Tsuwano 12:59 ]
[Inbound : Tsuwano 15:45 ⇒ Yamaguchi 17:09 ⇒ Shin-Yamaguchi 17:30 ]

SL YamaguchiTicket Information
*SL Yamaguchi is a reserved -seat train. You need a railway ticket (You don’t need it if you are a Japan Rail Pass holder) and also need to reserve your seat in advance (Rail Pass holders also need to pay the fee for the reserved seat ticket). You can purchase and/or reserve your seats at ticket reservation office Midori-no Madoguchi at JR stations or major travel agencies. Tickets can be purchased from a month in advance.
The fare and the vacant seat conditions are available on the official website (Japanese) or by phone.
Customer support center: +81(0)570-00-2486 /JR WEST JAPAN Hiroshima Branch :+81(0)82-264-7420

 

Iwami Kagura, the world of Japanese Mythology & 2019 Performance Schedule

Iwami Kagura

Amongst famous Japanese traditional performing arts like Kabuki and Noh, Kagura is the oldest with its origin in ancient Japanese mythology. It was originally offered to shinto deities to welcome and entertain them and performed only by shinto priests and miko at shinto shrines thanking and praying for abundant crop and bumper, however, it has become widely common for the public to be enjoyed with. 

Especially in western Shimane, which is referred to as the Iwami region,  it is called “Iwami Kagura” and very popular for containing entertaining features, such as the use of sound and visual effects so that the performance can be better understood for the audience.

 

 

The series of performances usually start with a ritualistic dance to welcome the deities, and then entertaining performances follows.  Performers dressed up in gorgeous costumes dance to the rhythmical sounds made by traditional Japanese instruments.

There are varieties of about thirty programs, and performers play deities, demons, and sometimes humans who appear in ancient Japanese mythology. Among them, “Orochi” can be said as the most popular. This program is about a heroic deity Susano-o slaying an evil serpent called Yamata-no-orochi and save Princes Inada. The serpent had eight heads and eight tails and its body was long enough to cover eight peaks and valleys.

Umi Kagura

This is the special version of Kagura, which is performed on the beach. It is called “Umi (the Sea) Kagura” and take place on August 13th every year. The highlight of the day comes along the dark when they dance with the setting sun on their back. Bonfires are lit, and it makes the ritual dances even more mysterious.  

 

kagura Orochi (photo contest)

 

 

Where you can enjoy Iwami Kagura casually

==Regular Schedule from April 2019== *Please refer the map below

 Oda City 

1.  Tatsuno-gozen-jinja Shrine (Yunotsu Onsen) [map]
Dates and times : 8pm~9pm, Every Saturday
Admission Fee : 1000 JPY (Junior High School and under get in for free)

 Gotsu City 

2.  Yunomachi-Kaguraden (Arifuku Onsen) [map]
Dates and times :
[Apr.] 13, 27
[May] 4, 25
[Jun.] 22
[Jul.] 13, 27
[Aug.] 10
[Sep.] 14, 21
[Nov.] 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
[Dec.] 14
[Jan. 2020] 11
[Feb. 2020] 8
[Mar. 2020] 21
8:30pm ~ 9:30pm
 
Admission Fee: 500 JPY

3.  PALETTE Gotsu [map]
Dates and times: 2nd Sunday of every month, including 4/28 and 6/8. No performances in October and November.
[First show] 10:30am ~ 11:30am
[Second Show] 1:00pm ~2:00pm
Admission Fee: 500 JPY (Junior High School and under get in for free)

 Hamada City 

4A.  Sanku Shrine [map]
Dates and times: 8pm~9pm, Every Saturday  *special performances may go until 11:30 pm
Admission Fee: 700 JPY  *Special Performances: 1,000 JPY

4B.  Asahi-so (Asahi Onsen)  [map]
Dates and times: 8:30pm~, Every Saturday between Sep. 9 – Nov.18)
Admission Fee: 500 JPY (Junior High School and under get in for free)

5.  AQUAS Hasshi Square  [map]
Dates and times: 1pm~3pm, Every Sunday in Mar to beg. of Nov. and National Holidays (Apr.to Nov.)
Admission : Free of Charge

6.  Road Station Yuhi Park Hamada  [map]
Dates and times : 1pm~3pm, 2nd Sunday of every month
Admission : Free of Charge

 Masuda City 

7.  Masuda EAGA Building  [map]
Dates and times : 7:30pm~9pm, Every Saturday (except Sep. to Dec.),  no performances during Aug. 13-15
Admission Fee: 500 JPY (Junior High School and under get in for free)

 Tsuwano Town 

8.  Road Station Nagomi-no-sato (Tsuwano Onsen)  [map]
Dates and times: 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month
[First Show] 11am ~
[Second Show] 2pm ~
Admission Fee: Free of Charge

9.  Taikodani Inari Shrine  [map]
Dates and times : 8pm~9:10pm, Every Saturday (Aug. to Sep.), Special Performance days
Admission Fee : 500 JPY (Junior High School and under get in for free)

 

==Iwami Kagura Venues==

kagura_schedule2017

 

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EXPLORE more into Iwami area !

The Nagata Collection of Hokusai

The Shimane Museum of Art is celebrating their 20th Anniversary with a very special Hokusai exhibition from the “Nagata Collection”.

Hokusai Collection Flyer (front)Hokusai Collection Flyer (back)

The “Nagata Collection” is a 2,000 piece count collection of Hokusai and his pupils that had been personally owned by the foremost ukiyo-e specialist, Mr. Nagata Seiji and donated to the Shimane Art Museum. From the collection and on display will be rare high-quality first editions, Hokusai classics, hand drawings, and other ukiyo-e related pieces. Beginning with this two-part exhibition of Hokusai, the museum will display the whole “Nagata Collection”  to the public over the course of 10 years.

[Part 1] February 8th (Fri.) ~ March 4th (Mon.) 2019
[Part 2] March 6th (Wed.) ~ March 25th (Mon.) 2019

Hokusai (Part 1)Hokusai Collection (Part 2)

Nagata Seiji who is known as the foremost ukiyo-e specialist and owner of one of the world’s biggest Hokusai collections was born in the town of Tsuwano in the western part of Shimane.

Information

Shimane Art Museum

The museum offers a spectacular view of the sunset over Lake Shinji

Shimane Art Museum
1-5, Sodeshicho, Matsue City
TEL: 0852-55-4700
HP: http://www.shimane-art-museum.jp/en

Opening Hours:
[October ~ February] 10:00 ~ 18:30
[March ~ September] 10:00 ~ *30 min. after sundown
The museum is closed every Tuesday
*last admission is 30 min. before closing

Admission Fee:

Special Exhibition Museum Collection Set Ticket
(Special Exhibition + Museum Collection)
General Admission 1,000 JPY 300 JPY 1,150 JPY
University Student 600 JPY 200 JPY 700 JPY
Elementary / Junior / High School Student 300 JPY FREE 300 JPY

*International Visitors Discount Information → present your passport or residence card when purchasing your tickets to receive 50% off the admission fee.

 

2018-2019 Shimane Snow Resorts Schedule

Shimane_Asahitengusuton_01

Japan has over 500 snow resorts from small to large throughout the nation. Of course, some are in Shimane too, located along its southern border with Hiroshima prefecture.

ski2

Compared to other Japan’s well-known snow resorts, i.e. Niseko in Hokkaido, Hakuba in Nagano, Yuzawa in Niigata, they are smaller and have a less number of courses. Though, they are less packed, usually no need to que up for lift, and furthermore, family-friendly! All equipment and clothing can be rented, so head there to have fun in the winter.

ski3

Shimane_kotobiki_02

 


Snow Resorts in Shimane

Kotobiki Forest Park

Shimane_kotobiki_02[Official Website] (English site)
Open Season: December 8th, 2018  ~ mid March 2019
*closed for holiday on 12/31 ~ 1/4
Hours of Operation: [weekdays] 8:30 ~ 16:30 [weekends/holidays] 8:00 ~ 17:00
Night Skiing Hours: 16:00 ~ 21:00 (available thru reservation)
Address: 1151, Sami, Iinan Town, Iishi-gun, Shimane [map]

 

Miinohara Ski Resort

[Official Website]
Open Season: December 23rd, 2018 to February 28th, 2019 *end date is subject to change
Hours of Operation: 8:30 ~ 17:00
Address: Miinohara, Yakawa, Okuizumo Town, Nita-gun, Shimane [map]

 

Mizuho Highland

mizuho ski run snow[Official Website]
Open Season: December 15th, 2018 ~ April 7th, 2019
Hours of Operation: 8:00 ~ 17:00
Night Skiing Hours: 17:30 ~ 22:00 [every Sat. thru Jan. and Feb. including 1/13, 2/10]
Address: 6242-19, Ichigi, Ohnan Town, Ochi-gun, Shimane [map]

 

Asahi Tenguston Snow Park

asahi tenguston snow[Official Website]
Open Season: December 28th, 2018 ~ March 10th, 2019
Hours of Operation: 8:30 ~ 16:30
Address: 7600, Ichigi, Asahi-cho, Hamada City, Shimane [map]

Overnight Course Model : An Active Holiday in Western Shimane

 

*Most resorts are open from December to March, but please check their schedules on their websites. Ski Resorts are subject to close due to sudden changes in weather conditions. 

 

 

 

 

Okuizumo Autumn Tour 2018

Easy access to enjoy autumn in Okuizumo in addition to the open-air sightseeing train! 

Enjoy autumn in Okuizumo Town and take a glimpse of the history and culture of good old Japan with the new 4 hour bus/taxi tour! Autumn is the best season to enjoy the open-air sightseeing train called “Okuizumo Orochi-go” on JR Kisuki Line. The bus/taxi service allows you easy access, after arriving by the open-air train, to the popular autumn tourist destinations within Okuizumo such places as the Okuizumo Tatara and Japanese Sword Museum, Orochi Loop Bridge, Maitake Mushroom farm, Oni-no-Shitaburui Gorge, and much more. Okuizumo was an area prominent with Tatara craftsmen who altered the landscape shaping the once mountainous land and it gave birth to the popular Nita-mai brand rice.

okuizumo-autumn-tour

 

Scheduling & Booking

[September  16, 17, 23, 24, 29 ,30]
[October  5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26, 28, 29]
[November  2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25]

Time:  12:15 PM ~ 4:08 PM  *finishing time depends on course
Capacity:  20 persons
Minimum:  3 persons

For Reservations or Inquiries
Contact:   Okuizumo Tourism Association
https://okuizumo.org/en/inquiry/

*Reservations must be made 7 days prior before 5:00 PM (JST)
*Participants have to be 3 years old or older
*In the case of bad weather or insufficient amount of people, visitors will be notified 7 days prior of cancellation and will not be charged with a cancellation fee

 

Tour details

Timetable

12:15   Miinohara Station (Start)
12:20   Orochi Loop Roadside Station
12:45   Maitake Mushroom Farm
13:20   Cultural Landscape: Terraced Rice Fields
13:30   Okuizumo Tatara and Japanese Sword Museum
14:20   Izumo-Yokota Station
(End of course for Orochi-go Train riders *14:32 departure)
14:50   Oni-no-Shitaburui Gorge & Suspension Bridge
15:50   Izumo-Minari Station
(Local Market Place)
16:08   Izumo-Minari Station
(Connecting to the local train on JR Kisuki Line *16:08 departure)

okuizumo-orochigo-train

Okuizumo Orochi-go Train (Train ticket is not included in this tour)

maitake-mushrooms

Maitake Mushrooms

okuizumo-tatara-and-japanese-sword-museum

Okuizumo Tatara and Japanese Sword Museum

onino-shitaburui-gorge

Oni-no-Shitaburui Gorge

Fees
●Miinohara Station ~ Izumo-Yokota Station Course
(Adult: 1,000 yen / Elementary School Student: 500 yen)
●Miinohara Station ~ Izumo-Minari Station Course
(Adult: 1,500 yen / Elementary School Student: 800 yen)
*prices include admission to Okuizumo Tatara and Japanese Sword Museum and transportation costs (bus/taxi)
*prices to be paid on the day

 

Cancellation Policy
*no cancellation fee for cancellations due to the weather
*no cancellation fee for cancellations made more than 3 days prior
*cancellation fee of 30% will be applied for cancellations made 2 days prior
*cancellation fee of 40% will be applied for cancellations made 1 day prior
*cancellation fee of 50% will be applied for cancellations made on the day of

 

For reservations or inquiries contact:
Okuizumo Tourism Association
https://okuizumo.org/en/inquiry/

 

Discover more of Okuizumo Town
https://okuizumo.org/en/