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Tsuwano, located in the westernmost part of the Shimane Prefecture, is a small castle town which prides itself on preserving the traditional arts and crafts of Japan. Tsuwano is sometimes called "Little Kyoto of San-In" for its picturesque town reminiscent to Japan's cultural capital. The town has an abundance of traditional Japanese culture from koi ponds and delicious soba noodles to stunning samurai buildings and classic Japanese architecture.
While lauded for the scenic beauty, perhaps Tsuwano is more known as a major stop of the Steam Locomotive Train Yamaguchi (SL Yamaguchi). The SL runs through the countryside of Yamaguchi City to the charming Tsuwano Station. The retro train stops at Tsuwano for about three hours before making its way back to the Shin-Yamaguchi Station.
Overflowing with traditional Japanese landmarks, Tsuwamo's Taikodani Inari Shrine is arguably the crown jewel. Considered on of the five greatest Inari Shrines in Japan, the shrine was built in the mid 18th century near the Tsuwano Castle in order to protect the town from evil spirits. Similar to Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine, the entrance of Taikodani Inari Shrine feature a mystifying collection of tori gates leading from the base of the hill to the shrine.
There are 273 vermilion red tori gates lining the path, or tourists who aren't interested in a brisk hike can opt to drive to the top of the shrine. For travelers who do choose to walk along the path, there are fried tofu and candles sold along the base in the event tourists come across a fox. Foxes are regarded as the familiars to the deities at Inari shrines, and the fried tofu is believed to be a fox's favorite food. More than one million travelers make their way to the shrine each year in the quiet city of Tsuwamo.
Registered in Japan's Preservation District of Groups of Historic Buildings, Tsuwano's Tonomachi is lined with old samurai houses and a gorgeous water canal (Horiwari). Well-preserved, these former Samurai homes are a popular tourist destination in the small mountain town. It isn't uncommon to see carps swimming along the canal as if it were a koi fish pond, while the Folklore Museum offers fascinating exhibits of the tools and artifacts used by the commoners and samurai knights of Tsuwamo. In addition to the charming Samurai homes, the street also is home to a traditional Sake brewery and even a stunning Catholic Church based on the Oura Church in Nagasaki.
Discover the scenery and traditional culture along Tsuwamo's Tonomachi and the rest of Shimane Prefecture. Talk to your travel agent about Japan Deluxe Tour's affordable private tour packages, or contact one of our Japan specialists to get you started on planning your dream vacation. Whether it's holiday travels, a family vacation, or just a treat for yourself, Japan Deluxe Tours is here to make your vacation in Japan unforgettable.
One of Japan's oldest and most important shrines; enshrines the creator of Japan
Former Silver Mine now recognized as a World Heritage Site
Capital city and center of administration and economy of Shimane
Hot spring famous for its sulfate water for great effects on skin
Architectural museum featuring world's largest hourglass
True traditional Japanese garden with a great collection of artwork
Noodles made of buckwheat flour
Japanese garden filled with pink and yellow peonies