The western part of Shimane, Iwami, is home to the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Located nearby is Mt. Sanbe (1,126 m), Shimane’s tallest mountain. Many people enjoy nature walks and hiking here, especially in the early months of summer. There is also the Iwami Seaside Park, where you can visit the Shimane Aquarium AQUAS. This aquarium’s most popular attractions are its bubble-ring blowing beluga whales and its seal and sea lion show.
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine – 石見銀山
During its peak, Iwami Ginzan was Japan’s largest silver mine and was known in Europe by the 16th century. Part of the mine shafts are still open to visitors, and the historic town of Omori is located nearby. With its narrow streets lined with the former homes of samurai and merchants, this mining town provides a glimpse into the atmosphere of Edo period Japan. Discounts for international visitors.
Yunotsu Onsen – 温泉津温泉
The town of Yunotsu once prospered as a port for the shipment of silver. It has two public baths, Motoyu and Yakushiyu, both with a long history and renowned for their therapeutic effects. The layout of the town remains unchanged from the Edo Period, with many traditional buildings and inns.
Iwami Kagura Sacred Dance – 石見神楽
Iwami is said to be the birthplace of Kagura, a lively dance dedicated to the gods and now practiced as a type of folk entertainment. With magnificent costumes and stirring music, the fast-paced dances depict heroic battles between deities and demons. The most famous story depicts the battle between Susanoo and the eight-headed serpent called Yamata-no-Orochi. You can see these performances as part of other events and celebrations all year round.
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine is 30 min by bus from JR Odashi Station, which is 90 min from Matsue by train. Yunotsu Onsen can be accessed from the JR Yunotsu Station or on foot by following a trail from Iwami Ginzan (approx. 4 hours). Shimane Aquarium AQUAS is a 10 min walk from JR Hashi Station.