Cute beluga whales welcome visitors to Aquas aquarium with their charming “bubble rings” performance. You can also watch as penguins dive into the pool from the viewing glass below. As you watch the sun pierce through the water to the animals swimming freely below, you will slowly become mesmerized as time slips by.
AQUAS [Official Website]
Access : Take a highway bus from the Shinkansen Ent. at Hiroshima Sta. / Hiroshima Bus Center to JR Hamada Sta. (approx. 2hrs and 30 min). Then take the bus bound for “JR Gotsu Sta.” and get off at “Aquas Aquarium” or walk 15 min from JR Hamada Sta.
A short one hour drive from central Hiroshima and you will be at the skiing slopes of Shimane. Both areas have trails for children and are recommended for families. Even without a car you can enjoy the winter sports with the express bus that runs from Hiroshima station and rental shops are there for those who need to borrow equipment and clothing.
Asahi Tenguston Snow Park [Official Website]
Open : From the end of Dec. to the middle of March
Access : 10 min drive from Mizuho IC, Hamada Express Way
Mizuho Highland [Official Website]
Open : Dec. 3, 2016 – Apr. 9 2017
Access : Take the “Mizuho Snow Express” bus from the Shinkansen Entrance at Hiroshima Sta. or Hiroshima Bus Center. (1 bus in the morning from Hiroshima & 1 bus in the evening from Mizuho Highlands. Available from Dec. 23 2016 to Mar. 20 2017) [Operated by JR Chugoku TEL 0510-666-012], or 5 min drive from Mizuho IC, Hamada Express Way
Registered as “Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape” to UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2007, Iwami Ginzan was one of the world’s most prominent silver mines during the Age of Discovery. The streets of Omori, which were developed along with the mines, are still preserved with traditional historic buildings. Nearby is also an old onsen resort called Yunotsu.
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
Access : Take the express bus, operated by Iwami Kotsu, from the Shinkansen Ent. at Hiroshima Station or Hiroshima Bus Center to Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center (approx. 2hrs and 30 min).
Click here to see more about Iwami Ginzan Area
If you want to feel Japanese divinity, Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is definitely a place to visit. The shrine is one of the most important and most ancient shrines in all of Japan. According to the legends, the myriad gods from all over Japan gather at this shrine to hold their annual meetings. Its origin goes back to ancient Japanese mythology, but during the annual meetings many visitors from all over the country pay a visit to pray for good fortune.
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
Access : Take the express bus from the Shinkansen Ent. at Hiroshima Station or Hiroshima Bus Center to JR Izumo Sta.(approx 3hrs) [Operated by JR Chugoku TEL0510-666-012], then take the bus bound for Izumo Taisha
Matsue Castle, designated as a National Treasure in 2015, stands as the symbol of the castle town of Matsue and was ranked at #3 by visitors according to their level of satisfaction (2013, Trip Advisor). The castle tower was constructed in four sections with five floors and is currently the 2nd largest, 3rd tallest and 6th oldest of the 12 remaining castle towers in Japan. From the tower, you can experience the same view of the city that samurai once had 400 years ago.
Access : Take the bullet train from Hiroshima Station to Okayama Station, then take the limited express train “Yakumo” to JR Matsue Sta.(approx 3 hrs), or take 500yen bus from Hiroshima to JR Matsue Station. Then take the Matsue Lakeline Bus to “Matsue Castle” bus stop (10 min).
Yuushien Garden is a beautiful 40,000 sq. m. Japanese garden filled with trees, ponds, a waterfall, paving stones, and flowers that change with the season. You are free to walk around and enjoy the gardens at your own leisure. The picture above is of 30,000 peonies floating on the garden’s pond, which is the highlight of the season and can only be seen here. This spectacle lasts for only one week a year and usually occurs near the end of April to the beginning of May.
Yuushien Garden [Official Website]
Access : Take the bullet train from Hiroshima Station to Okayama Station, then take the limited express train “Yakumo” to JR Matsue Sta.(approx 3 hrs), or take 500yen bus from Hiroshima to JR Matsue Station. Then take the bus bound for Sakaiminato and get off at “Yuushien Garden” (25 min).
If you are a fan of Japanese gardens, then for sure Adachi Museum of Art is at the top of the list of things to do in Shimane or even Japan. The Michelin Green Guide and Guide Bleu Japon praises the museum with 3 stars. Currently the museum is gaining a lot more attention overseas as its popularity grows. Its beautiful Japanese gardens were chosen as the No. 1 Japanese garden for 14 years in a row. The museum is blessed with beautiful nature and visitors can enjoy the interaction of the gardens and surrounding mountains as the seasons change.
Adachi Museum of Art [Official Website]
Access : Take the bullet train from Hiroshima Station to Okayama Station, then take the limited express train “Yakumo” to JR Yasugi Station (approx 3 hrs). Then take the free shuttle bus to “Adachi Museum of Art”.