The Best Times to Visit Shimane

Luck of the Irish in Spring
 
And Irish festival? In Japan? You heard right. Each year in March, there is an Irish Festival complete with parades, drinking, and bagpipes as a celebration of Irish culture. This is due to the fact that a famous international writer, Lafcadio Hearn, lived and taught as a teacher in Shimane prefecture. This year in particular, the Matsue Castle was lit up in green to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland.
 
Oki Islands in Summer
 
Japan’s summers are, of course, hot and humid. What better way to relieve yourself from the heat than taking a quick dive into the Sea of Japan, near the Oki Islands. The Oki Islands are a series of islands, part of the Oki District of Shimane. Off the northern coast of Shimane, it is the perfect getaway for those that love marine sports such as scuba diving, sea kayaking and fishing. Beaches are also very beautiful and relatively open due to the islands’ remote location.

Photo Cred: Flickr user Ganmed64 https://www.flickr.com/photos/32827327@N03/3496760821/
Gakuenji Temple in Autumn
The Autumn season cannot be complete without the beautifully red Momiji leaves that light up the mountainsides. At Gakuenji Temple, you are welcomed with a staircase lined on both sides with trees of red, yellow, and orange, leading to the temple above. The Temple itself is also located deep in the mountains, which themselves are also bright orange during Autumn. Accompanying the main temple are various other buildings, as well as waterfalls and winding roads in the surrounding mountainside, allowing for a great exploration experience outside of the temple as well.

Photo Cred: Flickr user u-dou https://www.flickr.com/photos/154778190@N03/35823853886/
Peonies at Yuushien Garden in Winter
While many feel that Spring is the best time to visit Japanese gardens for their blossoms, or Autumn for their red Momiji leaves, very few see Winter as a time to visit these gardens. Yuushien Garden should change your mind. Every winter, Peonies are diligently taken care of in a traditional way, by crafting a little hood made of straw to protect the flower from snow. The sight truly represents the frailness and beauty of the plant, and is the definition of Japanese beauty: that which is delicate yet beautiful. 


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