Izumo-taisha (出雲大社) is one of the oldest and most important shrines in Japan and definitely one you should visit. It receives fewer international visitors in comparison to landmarks in Tokyo and Kyoto, but this shrine is definitely worth the trip.
Izumo-taisha is located in Izumo, Shimane, and is about an hour ride from Matsue station by train, so it’s not too complicated to reach. Once you have reached Izumoshi station, you have two options to reach Izumo Taisha:
You can take the Ichibata train to Izumo Taisha station or you can take the bus (it will stop quite close to the entrance of the shrine).
The train is a little cheaper, but during my trip, I chose to take the bus, as it was arriving in five minutes to the bus stop. Remember to check the train or bus timetable as they do not come frequently, usually arriving every 20 or 30 minutes.
Once reaching the main entrance of the shrine, have a look at the main street at the back. I personally found the view of the other white Torii gate simply breathtaking.
Once approaching the grand shrine, I noticed a statue of Okuninushi, the main deity of this shrine, who is also the deity of happiness and good relationships. One important thing to remember when you approach the shrine: clap four times (instead of three). Two claps for yourself and another two for your partner. Cool, right?
During my trip in October, there was renovation happening in the worship hall area. By 2016, the renovation should be completed. When walking to the back of the main hall, my friend and I were greeted by a lovely surprise. Little rabbit statues in various poses looking adorable. I learned that they are not just any rabbits, but actually a character in a traditional myth. For those interested to know more about the story, try finding the tale, “Hare of Inaba”.
If you want a place to travel to in Japan where fewer tourists have been, why not drop by Izumo Taisha to check out its splendor yourself?