Hi everyone, I am Gerard from Northern Ireland. I am reading a master’s degree at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima.
Last weekend I and some other residents of Hiroshima took a trip to the neighboring prefecture of Shimane. We visited the city of Izumo. At one time, the Japanese islands were controlled from Izumo, according to Shinto myths. The main attraction in Izumo is Izumo Ōyashiro.
This is one of the oldest and important Shinto shrines in Japan. Its main structure was originally constructed to glorify the great achievement of Ōkuninushi, considered the creator of Japan. Ōkuninushi is considered the guardian god and god of happiness, as well as the god who establishes good relationships.
We also visited Inasanohama Beach. Here it is said eight million gods are believed to congregate once a year to determine the destiny of lovers. Located on this beach is Benten-jima shrine, a strangely located shrine on top of a rock on the beach. Benten-jima shrine is believed to house a female sea deity, keeping watch over seafarers and protecting them from being tossed on the waves of the Sea of Japan. Up until the 19th century, Japanese people lived according to the lunar calendar (based on cycles of the moon), where each month was given a particular name.
The tenth month was known as Kan-na-zuki, or the “Month of No Gods”. Except, not in Izumo. This month is marked by the week-long Kamiari Festival. This yearly homecoming, usually held around the 10th to the 17th of November, welcomes a myriad of deities from all over Japan to Izumo, beginning with a ceremony held at Inasa Beach. From here they drink saké and decide the fates of lovers.
We also saw a sun halo but this is far too complex to explain haha.
We visited Shimane Winery where you are able to sample many different wines. The wines here have different flavors with my favorites being the strawberry and pomegranate.
Lastly, we visited an onsen which being from a western country seems strange but is actually really relaxing. I can highly recommend you give one a try.