Anchoring either end of the Shimane Peninsula with Lake Shinji (a Ramsar Wetland) between them, the cities of Matsue and Izumo offer a treasure trove of things to do and sights to see, whether your interests lean toward history, the fine and folk arts, or outdoor fun. Elegant Matsue, the prefectural capital, is known for its castle—a National Treasure whose tower dates back to 1611—as well as its tea culture and the writings of its famous émigré, Lafcadio Hearn. But stay longer and it will reveal other gems, like the peninsula’s breathtaking northern coast with sea caves to explore, and Yuushien, a garden renowned for its peonies. Izumo, meanwhile, is the very seat of Japan’s creation myths, a center of power still known today as the Land of the Gods. It’s home to the must-see Izumo Taisha Shrine, excellent archaeological museums, and a papermaking craft revived by a living national treasure that you, too, can try your hand at.
A great 3-hour cycling tour experience with local guides! It's an in-depth tour and is a lot of fun. The route was flexible, so we could adjust it to suit our needs. We were able to better experience the culture and vitality of Matsue City on this tour.