Shimane-prefecture is composed of three regions, Izumo (east part), Iwami (west part) and Oki (islands in Japan sea), and Izumo is known as “the home of the Gods” as many of Japan’s myths are set there. Iwami includes Iwami Ginzan (silver mine) in Ohda city, which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007.
The Masuda city is located in Iwami region and is famous for a great “Zen” ink painter and a celebrated poet who left great traces in Japanese history. All the Japanese learn their names in history class, Sesshu Toyo(1420-1506) and Kakinomoto no Hitomaro(660-720 approx.).
People of Masuda (and Iwami region) are also proud of Iwami Kagura, which features gorgeous costumes and dynamic dance, is a traditional performing art of the region. Every fall, dances take place to thank the deities for the bountiful land and sea harvests for the year. There are over thirty different dances and most of them are based on Japanese history, and people of many generations belong to Kagura groups to inherit their unique tradition to the next generation.
It is located far from big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, so the land remains largely unspoiled. In other words, it is in Masuda city that you can learn about Japan deeply.