• Day13

    Izumo taisha and Matsue in Shimane

    May 9, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Light rain this monring as I head off to Izumo taisha, reputedly the oldest Shinto Shrine and the birthplace of Japan. It is said that all the kami, or gods, visit here together one month in every year, known as the 'month of the gods'. In the rest of Japan that month is known as the 'month without gods'.

    It is a spectacular shrine in a spectacular setting with superb buildings in the 'hioku-irimoya-zukiri' style which I really find appealing for its simplicity, grace and sense of mystery and magic. This place is also known as the shrine of marriage and relationships and is dedicated to Okuninushi no Mikoto the god of marriage. When worshipping here it is common to clap four times, rather than twice, two for you and two for the other; the object of your heart.

    The light rain actually adds a bit of atmosphere and grey skies are always good to bring out the colours in a photograph, especially the greens, of which there are multiple shades in this forested, mountainous place. The central compound is unfortunatly inaccessible to us mere mortals but what can be seen is spectacular and the main compound with its arched roofs and flying cross pieces is ringed by smaller shrines and other things like lots of statues of bunny rabbits in various poses. How cute or 'kawai' as they would say here.

    In the afternoon its back to rainy Matsue and I figure I'll visit the Shimane Art Museum and head of in the pouring rain with my trusty travel umbrella... only to find on arrival that the Museum is closed on a Tuesday...duh! Oh well I'll save it for tomorrow, I think, and promptly head off to the nearest giant shopping mall; sprawling multi floored temples to mass consumption which every city has many of.

    Tomorrow is another day and I hope the weather clears as I want to visit Matsue Castle and take a boat tour around the city on its many canals and rivers. Matsue is known as the Venice of Japan. Its also known for its amazing sunsets over lake Shinji so it would be pretty ironic if I come all this way and don't even see the sun let alone a good sunset.

    Fingers crossed!
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