Japan Today

Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo blends history and mythology for glimpse of ancient Japan

By Laura Payne

Archeological evidence, historical texts and oral traditions trace the story of Shimane Prefecture so far that eventually, one exits the realm of concrete records and enters the world of myths. This is why exhibits at the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo blend historical and mythological sources to capture a glimpse of the old Izumo Province (now eastern Shimane).

Located just a short walk from the famous Izumo Taisha Shrine, visitors to this museum can expand their knowledge of Shimane and learn what makes this rural region important in the history of Japan.

Life in early Japan

Check out the recreated models and videos of life in early Japan. Image: Laura Payne

When one pictures Japanese history, samurai and castles often come to mind, but what did the country look like before this feudal era emerged? We can imagine thanks to a record from Izumo Province.

During the early 8th century, when Japan was a young nation, fudoki (records of regional geography, traditions, and resources) were compiled and sent to the imperial court. Of the many fudoki created, only the ones from Izumo Province survive in a nearly complete form today. These pages offer insight into the daily life of old Japan, which is recreated in models and videos in the museum’s permanent exhibits.

Mysteries of the ancient world

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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