Shimane prefecture, together with Tottori prefecture is known as the Sanin region, meaning "the shady side of the mountains". There is a mountain range separating these two prefectures from Hiroshima and Okayama, which means that the weather here is drastically wetter than further to the south.
- Matsue[松江] — The prefectural capital, has an original castle (most in Japan are modern remakes/rebuilds).
- Izumo[出雲] — Site of Izumo Taisha, one of Japan's most famous shrines.
- Hamada[浜田] — fishing port and recreation area
- Tsuwano[津和野] — destination of steam train and birthplace of Mori Ogai.
- Masuda[益田] — Westernmost city in Shimane; long-time home of Sesshu, one of the most famous artists in Japanese history.
- Gotsu[江津] — a small city between Hamada and Oda.
- Oda [大田] — a reasonable sized city close to Iwami Ginzan and good for Shopping.
- Iwami Ginzan (Silver Mines)[石見銀山] — World Heritage Site
- Yunotsu — old onsen town perfectly preserved in the 1920s
There are no common entry ways into Shimane via boat. However, if you are traveling from South Korea to Shimane, the cheapest way would be to take a ferry boat from Busan to Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and then take a train into Shimane.
The best way to get around Shimane is to drive. Most towns and cities, especially those on the coast, can also reached by train. Buses go pretty much everywhere, but some places may only have a few buses a day.
- Izumo Shrine (Izumo) the second holiest Shinto Shrine in Japan
- Matsue Castle (Matsue) Beautiful black castle; One of Japan's few remaining original castles.
- Iwami Kagura 
There are many ski resorts in the prefecture. Most will blow snow when it hasn't fallen, giving a reliable season from late November until late March.
Mizuho Highland is the biggest (10 slopes, 5km longest run) and probably best (the only half-pipe in the region) resort.
The Yabusame (horse-back archery) festivals of Shimane are quite famous, especially that of Tsuwano, which holds the oldest Yabusame range in all of Japan (some 1000+ years old). They usually are held in early April. If one is particularly lucky, the festival will coincide with the cherry blossoms blooming, for the consummate Japanese cultural experience.
During the year there are numerous festivals. Many towns and cities have a fireworks show in August.
- Seven Delicacies of Lake Shinji To get a taste of Matsue and the area around Lake Shinji, you should try to sample the famous seven delicacies: Shijimi clams, icefish, eel, sea bass, among others.
- Izumo Soba Noodles For the most authentic soba in Izumo, make sure to try Warigo Soba
- For cheap accommodations, the prefecture has a number of youth hostels.
This page was last edited at 11:12, on 16 March 2009 by Wikitravel user ChubbyWimbus. Based on work by Ben Stephens, Jani Patokallio and Andrew Haggard, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme, Morph, Texugo, KakinokiJames and Historian and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.