After a hearty breakfast, we set out for Izumo-taisha (出雲大社), the Izumo Grand Shrine. It is located on the northwestern outskirts of the city and is one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. Though the exact date of its establishment is unknown, it is believed to be the oldest shrine in Japan. In the Heian Period, it was described as the tallest wooden structure in Japan, exceeding even the Todai-ji in Nara.
The Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo displays several models based on ancient descriptions and remnants of massive pillars found in 2000.
The Kaguraden was built in 1776 and has the largest shimenawa (wooden straw ropes) in Japan, weighing in at 4 tons!
The honden (main hall) with the Monjin-no-Yashiro, Amasaki-no-Yashiro, Mimukai-no-Yashiro.
Do not miss the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, with great models of the Izumo temple and artefacts dating back to the Kofun Period, such as the haniwa figure below.
The figure dates back to the 6th century and is described as a 'sumo wrestler' though sumo in its current form did not appear before the 15th century.
We had a terrific lunch at a small soba shop nearby, a shop that once again proved the fact that the cruddier the place, the more palatable the food.
Saturated and replenished we left for Himeji. We had decided to skip Ako this time and were looking forward to the scenic ride from San'in (on the Sea of Japan) to Sanyo (the Pacific coast). On our way, we ran into some tempestuous downpours, portents of Typhoon No. 20 that was approaching from the south. When we went out for dinner in Himeji, the city had already barricaded and prepared for the onslaught.