713,056 (Mar 31, 2012)
| Shimane University, University of Shimane, University of Shimane Junior College|
Izumo-taisha, Lake Shinji, Adachi Museum of Art, Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, Shimane Art Museum
Matsue, Izumo, Hamada, Masuda, Oda
Shimane Prefecture (, Shimane-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Ch?goku region on the main Honshu island. The capital is Matsue. It is the second least populous prefecture in Japan, after its eastern neighbor Tottori. The prefecture has an area elongated from east to west facing the Ch?goku Mountain Range on the south side and to the Sea of Japan on the north side. It is divided into the Izumo Region in the East, the Iwami Region in the West and the Oki Region, a small group of islands off the northern coast. Most of the cities are near the shoreline of the Sea of Japan. Izumo Taisha in Izumo City is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan.
The Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan are also part of Shimane Prefecture, which also claims to have jurisdiction over the South Korea-controlled island of Liancourt Rocks (Korean: Dokdo(??), Japanese: Takeshima(??)).
The history of Shimane starts with Japanese mythology. The Shinto god ?kuninushi was believed to live in Izumo, an old province in Shimane. Izumo Shrine, which is in the city of Izumo, honors the god.?At that time, the current Shimane prefecture was divided into three parts: Iwami, Izumo, and Oki. That lasted until the abolition of the han system took place in 1871. During the Nara period, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro read a poem on Shimanes nature when he was sent as the Royal governor.
Later on in the Kamakura period, Kamakura Shogunate forced emperors Gotoba and Godaigo into exile in Oki. Emperor Godaigo later escaped away from Oki and began rallying supporters against the shogunate, which succeeded.
Shimane Prefecture is situated on the Sea of Japan side of the Chugoku region. Because of its mountainous landscape, rice farming is done mostly in the Izumo plain where the city of Izumo is located. Another major landform is the Shimane peninsula. The peninsula is located across the Sea of Japan from Izumo to Sakaiminato, which is located in Tottori prefecture. Also, the peninsula created two sea water lakes, Lake Shinji and Nakaumi. The island of Daikon is located in Nakaumi. Off the main island of Honsh?, the island of Oki is in Shimane prefecture as well. The island itself is in the Daisen-Oki National Park. Shimane also claims the use of Liancourt Rocks, over which they are in dispute with South Korea.
As of 1 April 2012, 6% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Daisen-Oki National Park; Hiba-D?go-Taishaku and Nishi-Ch?goku Sanchi Quasi-National Parks; and eleven Prefectural Natural Parks.
Most major cities are located either on the seaside, or along a river.
In Shimane, the largest employer is the retail industry, employing over 60,000 workers. The supermarket, Mishimaya, and the hardware store, Juntendo, are examples of companies based in Shimane. The manufacturing industry has the second number of employees with 49,000 workers. The retail industry has over 12,000 locations within the prefecture, the most of any industry.
Adachi Museum of Art
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
Shimane Art Museum
Iwami Art Museum