When in Izumo, it’s customary to do two things: eat the soba noodles the area is famous for and visit Izumo Taisha Shinto shrine.
The shrine is one of Japan’s oldest, as well as a top destination when in Shimane Prefecture. Many of the buildings at the shrine complex reflect the indigenous Taisha-zukuri style, the oldest architectural tradition in Japan. Almost completely surrounded by mountains, the atmosphere here is sacred and serene.
The giant straw ropes called shimenawa that resemble anacondas coiled around a tree branch are Izumo Taisha’s most famous feature. They represent the separation between the mortal and supernatural worlds. In fact, the shimenawa at the Kagura Hall at Izumo Taisha are the largest in Japan, measuring 13 meters long and weighing five tons.
What’s with all the rabbits at Izumo Taisha?
The main worship hall, where the Shinto deity Okuninushi is enshrined, is fenced in to divide the sacred from the everyday space. Built in 1744, this hall is the tallest in Japan, at about 24 meters. But it’s what lies behind the cherished building that catches most visitors’ attention.
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