Shimane is situated on the western tip of Honshu Island (the main island of Japan), and faces the Korean Peninsula over the Sea of Japan. Trade with the continent and China thrived in olden times, and this region was once the leading edge of culture. The Chugoku Mountain Range extends from east to west, and rivers flow down northwards from the mountains, carving out cool, pleasant valleys before running into the sea. The long coastline changes rhythmically, as cliffs and boulders give the coastline a rugged appearance, before giving way to gentle sand dunes. First-time visitors get a strange feeling of nostalgia from the atmosphere of little fishing villages by the inlets and small towns nestled in the valleys.
Shimane is full of must-see places, starting with the Daisen-Oki National Park that contains the Oki Islands, Shimane-hanto Peninsula and Mt. Sanbe-san, Hiba-Do-go Taishaku Quasi-National Park and West-Chugoku Mountain Quasi-National Park. Other essential sights are cultural monuments such as the Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine, Matsue, named after the beautiful city Matsue-fu (Songjiang) by a district near Lake Taihu in China, which it is said to resemble, and the old castle town of Tsuwano reminiscent of olden times.