Oku-izumo Area

Shimane, Chugoku

An entire village devoted to iron manufacturing, with hot springs in Oku-izumo, the land of the Yamata-no-Orochi legend.

In the eastern part of Shimane, Hii-kawa River flows into Lake Shinji-ko, and the region where its tributaries, O-maki-gawa River and Mitoya-gawa River, run is called Oku-izumo.

The small village of Yumura-onsen Hot Spring, deep in the mountains of Oku-izumo, has only two inns. One of the hot springs is an open-air hot spring in the middle of a river. In ancient times, this hot spring region manufactured iron by a method called Tatara. The whole village of Yoshida-mura Village, in the southwest of Yumura, is an open-air museum of iron manufacturing history. Visitors can learn about iron manufacturing methods at Tetsu-no-rekishi Hakubutsukan (Historical Museum of Iron) and Mirai-kagakukan (Iron and Science Museum). The storehouses of samurai families who made their fortunes in iron manufacturing and Takadono, with its furnace, still remain.

In the upper stream of O-maki-gawa River, torrents erode the rocks into a V-shaped valley, Oni-no-shitaburui, or the Trembling Tongue of the Ogre, and many people come to see the tinted foliage in fall. Hii-kawa River also has Ama-ga-fuchi, a very deep valley among woods and rocks. The Creation Myth of Japan tells that a giant snake with eight heads, Yamata-no-Orochi, lived in this valley of Ama-ga-fuchi.

Around the Oku-izumo Area