Izumo Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, and where to stay in Izumo, Japan with our comprehensive travel guide. Find out about the rich cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, local food scene, and more.

Introduction to Izumo

Located in the Shimane prefecture in Japan, Izumo is a captivating city famed for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking nature, and mouthwatering local cuisine. Known for its iconic Shrine of Izumo, which is considered one of the holiest places in Japan, Izumo is a must-visit destination for travelers looking to explore the country beyond the usual tourist hotspots.

With its serene countryside, pristine beaches, and tranquil lakes, Izumo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, biking, surfing, and more. Besides, the city boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with many museums, galleries, and cultural festivals taking place throughout the year.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best places to visit, things to see and do, where to stay, and how to get around in Izumo.

List of Places to Visit in Izumo

Whether you’re interested in learning about the region’s cultural heritage or exploring its stunning natural landscapes, Izumo has a lot to offer. Here are some of the top places to visit in Izumo:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Shrine of Izumo: The Shrine of Izumo, also known as Izumo Taisha, is one of the oldest and holiest shrines in Japan, dedicated to the god of marriage and matchmaking. The shrine, which dates back to the 8th century, is known for its impressive architecture, serene atmosphere, and lively festivals.

  • Izumo Museum of Quilt Art: Designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando, the Izumo Museum of Quilt Art is a stunning museum that showcases the traditional Japanese quilting techniques and designs.

  • Izumo History Museum: The Izumo History Museum is a modern museum that chronicles the region’s rich history, from ancient times to modern-day.

  • Izumo Cultural Heritage Center: The Izumo Cultural Heritage Center is a museum that displays objects related to Izumo’s cultural heritage, including ceramics, textiles, and ancient documents.

Natural Attractions of Izumo: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Matsue Vogel Park: Matsue Vogel Park is a beautifully landscaped park that is home to over 200 species of colorful birds, including parrots, flamingos, and peacocks.

  • Lake Shinji: Lake Shinji is a serene freshwater lake that offers spectacular views of the sunset and sunrise. The lake is also famous for its delicious clams, which are served in local restaurants.

  • Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse: The Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse, located on the scenic Cape Hinomisaki, is a great place to enjoy panoramic views of the Sea of Japan and watch the sunset.

  • Izumo Taisha Forest: The Izumo Taisha Forest is a tranquil forest that surrounds the Shrine of Izumo. The forest is home to many species of birds and offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Izumo

Izumo is a paradise for hikers and bikers, with its many scenic routes that offer breathtaking views of the region’s pristine nature. Here are some of the best hiking/biking routes in Izumo:

  • Kumano Kotai Shrine: Located in the scenic surroundings of the Kumano Kotai Shrine, the Kumano Kotai Shrine Trail is a popular hiking route that offers stunning views of the countryside and the sea.

  • Mt. Sanbe: Mt. Sanbe is a dormant volcano that offers panoramic views of the Shimane prefecture. Hiking to the summit is a popular activity for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Izumo City Cycling Road: The Izumo City Cycling Road is a flat and easy bike route that takes you past the Lake Shinji and the Kamitonda Dam.

Best Things to Do in Izumo: Activities and Tours

Besides exploring the region’s cultural and natural attractions, there are many fun things to do and tours to take in Izumo. Here are some of the best activities and tours:

  • Mochi Making Experience: Mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice. At the Mochi Making Experience, you can learn how to make mochi and try different flavors.

  • Surfing Lesson at Lake Shinji: For a unique surfing experience, try surfing at Lake Shinji. The calm waters and gentle waves make it a perfect spot for beginners.

  • Izumo Soba Making Class: Soba is a traditional Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. At the Izumo Soba Making Class, you can learn how to make soba and enjoy a delicious meal.

Week-Long Itinerary for Izumo

If you have a week to spend in Izumo, here’s an itinerary that covers some of the best places to visit and things to do:

Day Activities
1 Explore the Shrine of Izumo and Izumo History Museum
2 Hike to Mt. Sanbe or cycle along the Izumo City Cycling Road
3 Visit Matsue Vogel Park and take a surfing lesson at Lake Shinji
4 Take a day trip to the Adachi Museum of Art or Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
5 Enjoy a Mochi Making Experience and visit the Izumo Taisha Forest
6 Explore the Izumo Cultural Heritage Center and Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse
7 Relax on the beaches of Yunotsu Onsen and enjoy a traditional Japanese hot spring bath

Food and Drink Scene of Izumo

Izumo’s local cuisine is a mix of traditional Japanese and local specialties. Here are some of the must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Izumo Soba: Made from buckwheat flour, Izumo soba is a delicious noodle dish that is a favorite among locals.

  • Kakinoha Sushi: Kakinoha sushi is a traditional Japanese sushi that is wrapped in persimmon leaves instead of seaweed.

  • Nishime: Nishime is a vegetable stew made with root vegetables, tofu, and dried shiitake mushroom.

Local Beverages

  • Sake: Shimane prefecture is known for its high-quality sake, with many local breweries producing a variety of flavors.

  • Mizu Shochu: Mizu shochu is a type of Japanese distilled spirit made from barley, rice, or potato. It has a light, crisp taste and is a popular drink during summer.

Where to Stay in Izumo: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Izumo has a range of accommodation options that cater to all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the top hotels, hostels, and guesthouses:

  • Dormy Inn Izumo: A stylish hotel located near the station, with spacious rooms and onsite hot spring baths.

  • Kumano no Yado Izumofuji: A traditional Japanese ryokan that offers private hot spring baths and traditional kaiseki cuisine.

  • Guesthouse Ooyado Izumo: A cozy guesthouse located in the heart of the city, with a friendly atmosphere and affordable rates.

What to Buy in Izumo: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Izumo is famous for its ceramics, textiles, and other locally made products. Here are some of the best souvenirs and local products to bring home:

  • Izumo Sobagaki: Izumo Sobagaki is a type of mochi made from buckwheat flour.

  • Izumo Ceramics: Izumo is renowned for its ceramics, with many local artisans producing unique and beautiful pottery.

  • Izumo Cotton: Izumo cotton is a traditional Japanese cotton that is used to make towels, bags, and other textiles.

Local Culture and Customs of Izumo

Izumo has a unique culture and customs that reflect its rich history and natural surroundings. One of the most important customs is paying respect to the gods at the Shrine of Izumo, which is believed to bring good luck and fortune. Another interesting custom is the local practice of creating scarecrows, which are used to protect the rice fields from birds and other pests.

Best Time to Visit Izumo

The best time to visit Izumo is from March to May and from September to November. During these months, the weather is mild and pleasant, and the autumn foliage and cherry blossoms create a stunning backdrop for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Izumo

To make the most of your trip to Izumo, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Do pay your respects at the Shrine of Izumo and other religious sites.

  • Do try the local cuisine and visit the local markets.

  • Do respect the local culture and customs.


  • Don’t litter or damage the natural environment.

  • Don’t ignore the local customs and traditions.

  • Don’t be loud or disruptive in public places.

Safety and Health

Safety in Izumo

Izumo is a safe city with low crime rates. However, as with any travel destination, it’s always a good idea to take precautions and remain vigilant.

Health in Izumo

Izumo has a high standard of healthcare, with many hospitals and clinics located throughout the city. If you require medical attention, look for the hospitals that have English-speaking staff or ask for assistance at your hotel.

Getting to Izumo: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Izumo

The nearest airport to Izumo is Izumo Airport, which is located approximately 20 km east of the city center. The airport serves domestic flights to Tokyo, Osaka, and other cities in Japan.

Bus Stations Near Izumo

Izumo has a well-connected bus network, with buses running to and from major cities like Hiroshima, Matsue, and Osaka. The Izumo Bus Station is located near the JR Izumo Station, and local buses also operate in the city center.

Other Options

The easiest way to get around Izumo is by renting a car or taking local buses. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive.

How to Get Around in Izumo

The best way to get around Izumo is by car or local bus. Many of the city’s top attractions are spread out across the region, and a car provides the flexibility to explore at your own pace.

Where to Go Next from Izumo: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Located in Shimane prefecture, Izumo is a great base to explore the surrounding region. Here are some of the nearby destinations that are worth a visit:

  • Matsue: Known as the “water city”, Matsue is a charming city that is home to many historic buildings and cultural attractions.

  • Izumo Hinomisaki: A scenic cape that offers stunning views of the Sea of Japan.

  • Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine: A UNESCO World Heritage site that features the remains of one of the largest silver mines in Japan.


Izumo is a must-visit destination for travelers looking to explore the cultural and natural wonders of Japan. With its plethora of attractions, outdoor adventures, and tasty local cuisine, Izumo offers travelers an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re here for the Shrine of Izumo, the stunning landscapes, or the delicious food, Izumo is sure to leave a lasting impression.