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Shimane

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  • Day257

    Sanctuaire géant (Izumo)

    November 22, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Au-delà de la beaute intrinsèque du site et de ses bâtiments massifs en lisière de forêt, cette visite m'a donné un nouvel aperçu de ce que font les Japonais dans un sanctuaire shintoïste : faire la queue pour prier et se recueillir devant les autels, écrire leurs voeux sur des plaquettes, acheter des porte-bonheur et des calligraphies, honorer des animaux, ici beaucoup de statues de lapins (?), emmener leurs enfants habillés en Kimono...
    Activités plus spécifiques : se marier en tenue traditionnelle et prendre des photos (mais le couple en question n'a pas apprécié que je me joigne au photographe pour les immortaliser, oups. Je me suis platement excusée puis enfuie !). Ce sanctuaire est l'un des plus anciens et importants au Japon et a donné nom à un style architectural distinct (lien pour les férus d'architecture traditionnelle : https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taisha-zukuri). Il y a ici quelques touristes occidentaux (première fois que j'en croise depuis une semaine, hormis un Suisse dans une guesthouse), mais ma présence semble tout de même susciter l'étonnement.

    Avant cela, j'ai participé à une enquête dans un centre touristique, ce qui m'a fait gagner des bonbons, et déambulé dans les nombreux magasins avoisinant le temple. Un site touristique attire toujours tout un arsenal de commerces : restaus, glaciers et ce que je qualifierais de "magasins souvenirs de pâtisseries japonaises et divers trucs à manger jolis et suremballés". Les Japonais en sont friands, pour offrir à leurs proches et collègues. Je repars dans une très belle lumière le long de la mer, mais ne trouverai le soir qu'un site de bivouac moyen, entre un parking et un équipement sportif.

    PS : pardonnez la qualité moyenne et le cadrage étrange des photos. Ce sont des "selfies externes" ou "inversés" (nouveau concept !), donc sans voir ce que je prends et avec un objectif peu adapté à la longue distance/ aux paysages...
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  • Day43

    Iwami-Ginzen Silver MIne

    October 9, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Heading north-east today, into one of those random isolated areas that we seem to end up in. Took a series of local trains and by lunchtime we'd arrived in a small two-horse town in the middle of nowhere. This was the location for the Iwami-Ginzen Silver Mine, Japan's most productive silver mine that operated between the late 16th century and the early 20th century. Got some brochures from a very friendly if puzzled lady at the train station, then caught the bus for about an hour out to the actual mine site.

    Had some lunch at a tasty recommended restaurant, then started exploring the town. It's a historic town and fairly well preserved, with a lot of the old buildings built off the silver wealth. Though probably the highlight was walking a couple of kilometres through the forest to find the old mine shafts. It's ticketed and well lit, but wandering through for a few hundred metres was pretty cool. In some places you could see chisel marks where the miners had done their work - remembering most of this was extracted by hand, not explosives.

    Back down to the town, we wandered around for a few hours looking at the buildings, a ruined refinery, shrines to pray for the miners' safety, and graveyards for those who didn't come home. Moderately interesting stuff, about on par with other mining sites we've been to. Hurriedly finished up before getting a 4pm bus all the way to Hiroshima. It would've been cheaper but longer to get a series of trains south to Hiroshima, but the thought of just sitting on a coach for a few hours was fairly appealing, so that's what we did.

    Arrived in Hiroshima after 7pm, where we found the hotel and grabbed some 7-11 food for dinner.
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  • Day256

    Morning croquet, castle & onsen (Matsue)

    November 21, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Some days are busier than others (with activities other than cycling I mean !). The day started with an odd encounter in a park with the elderly : I camp and have my breakfast here, while they come to play croquet very early in the morning. We look at one another a bit puzzled but they are nice and polite and wish me a pleasant trip (Iterashaï, Ganbatte !).
    Then I visit a castle in Matsue. Or to be honest I cycle to the castle then feel lazy and just satisfy myself looking at it from the park, bathing in the sun (at last, a decent weather !). I also go to a nice restaurant in the castle premises. It changes from my own very basic cooking.
    Afterwards, I close up the afternoon with a visit at the thermal district of Tamutsukuri. There, like in the onsen-village of Yunomine in the Kumano Kodo, you can dip your feet in the city's main river, while seating on little benches. I combine this with a proper onsen visit, in a vast round-shaped modern building (architect : Shin Takamatsu). Some basins are even located outside, on a terrace between two aisles of the building. The effects of this bath with other naked ladies are intense well-being and physical and mental rejuvenation ! I get back on my bicycle all rested, singing and whistling. I must also "look" nice and clean, for everyone smiles back at me ! This onsen visit for 500 yen (less than 5€) will allow me to hold on a few more camping nights outside...

    I did not take any pictures so if you want to see what Tamatsukuri looks like : www.japan.travel/en/spot/931/
    And some of Shin Takamatsu's projects : www.takamatsu.co.jp/projects/projects.php
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  • Day259

    Renards à l'honneur (Tsuwano)

    November 24, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Une autre journée de route et la pluie est revenue. J'atterris humide dans une guesthouse à Tsuwano : de nouveau une chambre tatamisée avec futon. Cette fois, sont aussi mis à disposition desvpeignoirs/ kimono à enfiler après le traditionnel et réconfortant bain chaud. C'est ma deuxième guesthouse en 10 jours et ce n'est pas du luxe ! Comme chaque fois que je retrouve plus de confort, épuisée, je dors comme une souche.

    Je visite le lendemain un important temple dédié au dieu du riz "Inari" et à ses renards messagers "Kitsune", représentés un peu partout, comme au Fushiminari à Kyoto . Là c'est moins photogénique avec la pluie et mon appareil handicapé, mais on trouve des points communs : le vermillon omniprésent, les allées de toris, les symboles associés au renard, comme sa bavette rouge et un rouleau ou une boule dans la gueule (représentant un sutra et de la nourriture, Kitsune/ Inari étant priés pour plus de fertilité et de prospérité).

    En lisant un peu sur ce Kitsune qui en vient souvent a être confondu avec Inari lui-même et vénéré comme tel, je découvre une croyance traditionnelle selon laquelle on peut etre possédé par ce renard, qui peut être aussi trompeur et malveillant que bienfaiteur. Et, surprise, cela arrive surtout aux femmes, dont le comportement est suspect si entre autres elles deviennent lettrées et peuvent parler des langues étrangères ! Il faut alors les exorciser dans un sanctuaire dédié à Inari. Mais, je cite, "en cas d'échec ou d'indisponibilité du prêtre, les kitsunetsuki [possédées par le renard] étaient battues ou gravement brûlées dans l'espoir de forcer le renard à quitter le corps de la victime". Tiens, une pratique cousine de nos chasses aux sorcières ? Décidément dans toutes les civilisations, on n'aimait pas trop les femmes cultivées ou originales ! En tous cas, la figure d'Inari est majeure au Japon : on compterait plus de 30 000 sanctuaires qui lui sont dédiés, soit un tiers des sanctuaires shintoistes.
    Plus à lire ici : http://www.aly-abbara.com/voyages_personnels/Japon/data/kitsune_I.html
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  • Day258

    Corons japonais (Iwami Ginzan)

    November 23, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Comme j'ai profité de la visite du village minier d'Iwami pour brancher mon telephone et ma batterie externe dans un point relais touristique, je n'ai pas de photos et visité un peu au pif : pédalant puis m'arrêtant dès que quelque chose semblait intéressant et ouvert. A noter que le sentiment de sécurité au Japon est tel que je ne me suis pas du tout inquiétée de laisser mes appareils sans surveillance, dans un batiment d'ailleurs resté vide et ouvert avec plein d'équipements (télévision, enceintes, livres, prospectus...). Les Japonais sont aussi confiants que moi !
    Je n'ai donc pas de photos de ce que j'ai vu. Un peu flemmarde, je vous renvoie vers ce site qui explique bien ce qu'était cette vallée de mines d'argent exploitées dès le 17eme siecle, l'organisation sociale associée et ce qu'on y voit :
    www.kanpai.fr/oda/iwami-ginzan-omori
    Des temples, des maisons de seigneurs/contremaîtres, samurais et ouvriers, des puits d'entrée vers les mines, le tout au milieu de belles forêts et montagnes (ça grimpait pour y arriver, mais ça descendra pour repartir). Les appareils électriques mettant beaucoup de temps à se charger au Japon, cela me fait une excuse pour une longue pause déjeuner/lecture dans un joli restaurant au cœur du village minier.

    Après une longue et jouissive descente des collines, je pose le soir ma tente dans un vrai camping (gratuit, hors saison estivale). C'est agréable : le terrain est vaste et plat, l'herbe toute douce et il y a encore plus de sanitaires que d'habitude. Surtout, pour une fois je n'ai pas le sentiment de n'être "pas au bon endroit" et ne me ferai a priori pas réveiller par des retraités matinaux qui font du croquet ou de la gym, ni par des militaires en entraînement intensif (précédentes expériences). En revanche, j'ai beau silloner le camping : pas de prise électrique. Ceci va être une limite à ma volonté de camper le plus possible !
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  • 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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  • Day15

    Adachi Museum of Art

    May 11, 2017 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    I keep thinking I have discovered japan's most beautiful gardens, Katsura being the most recent, only to be surprised by even more beautiful locations. The Japanese Gardens that now have to be exceeded are those at the Adachi Museum of Art near Yasugi in Shimane. I found them just stunning and set within the context of an Art gallery made them even more beautiful somehow. The art on display was pretty spectacular in and of itself but the gardens all around and the way they are incorporated into the gallery display spaces and the overall Museum is amazing.

    But be a judge for yourself from my photos below. They don't really do them justice but I think you will see the beauty. I would love to return here in all 4 seasons to see how the gardens change.
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  • Day14

    Samurai, Kami, Canals and a Castle

    May 10, 2017 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

    Up early today, the forecast is good! Breakfast at the hotel then off for a brisk walk up by the lakefront and across lots of bridges to the Matsue Castle grounds. There are only 12 Castles remaining in Japan, most having been destroyed during the Meiji Restoration. I have visited 6 so far and will visit one or two more on this trip. Today it was the turn of Matsue Castle. Not the largest or most imposing - Himeji takes that accolade - but with a beauty and authenticity that immediatly make it one of my favorites. Inside is a veritable history lesson with many suits of samurai armour, minature models of Matsue in different eras and lots of original artefacts as you climb up the levels to the top floor. The top floor is open on all sides for some stunning views out over Matsue and environs. Really helps appriciate the city and its many canals.

    The grounds also contain two Shrines, the most famous of which is the Jozen Inari Shrine filled with thousands of fox statues of every shape and size and some clearly very ancient. Its amazing to think that these places have been here for many hundreds of years, especially coming from N.Z. where almost nothing is more than 150 years old.

    I take a boat ride around the canals in a boat whose roof lowers so it can get under low bridges. Lowers so much I have to lie almost flat on the floor of the boat. Everything in Japan is made for small flexible people not large inflexible ones like me. The bus seats are so small I have to stand even when the bus is empty :-)

    I wander aimlessly around the city streets exploring and come across many Temples. In fuedal times they served a military purpose too, being situated in strategic spots that were easily defensible.... and many 'monks' were actually troops in disguise. There is a whole area of them the 'teramachi' among a network of canals that served to defend the city and make it difficult for attackers to get anywhere near the Castle.

    After lunch I head off to visit two 'Art Museums' but they deserve a post all of thier own :-)
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  • Day14

    Landed

    April 6, 2018 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 19 °C

    We're in Japan.

    Getting off the boat here was a lot faster and less stressful. The tour guides assembled by the doors, the Korean tour parties assembled themselves upstairs, and the 11 foreigners (9 Russians and us) were herded to the front and whisked off the boat before we could interfere with the elaborate queuing systems that were clearly abpit to be implemented.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Shimane-ken, Präfektur Shimane, Shimane, Prefektur Shimane, شيمانه, Şimane, Шимане, Prefectura de Shimane, شیمانێ, Prefektura Šimane, Gubernio Ŝimane, Shimane prefektuur, استان شیمانه, Shimanen prefektuuri, Préfecture de Shimane, Tó-kîn-yen, Prefektura Shimane, Prepektura ti Shimane, Prefettura di Shimane, 島根県, ខេត្តស៊ីម៉ាណិ, 시마네 현, Šimanės prefektūra, Simanes prefektūra, शिमाने, Wilayah Shimane, ضلع شیمانے, Prefectura Shimane, Симане, Šimane, Префектура Шимане, Shimane Prefecture, Shimane prefektur, Mkoa wa Shimane, Префектураи Шимане, จังหวัดชิมะเนะ, Prepektura ng Shimane, Префектура Сімане, 岛根县

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