Misumi Shinto shrine (三隅神社) is in Misumi. This shrine is next to Misumi park, which is famous for azaleas festival. In the azalea blooming season in late spring, many people go there to enjoy looking at flowers. The whole mountain turns pink and red with the flowers. During azalea festival, you can watch Kagura which is a type of Shinto theatrical dance there and enjoy listening to Kagura music, played with a flute and drum. You can also see cherry blossoms too, so spring is one of the best seasons to visit.
The shrine was built in 1937 for Kanetsura Misumi (三隅兼連). He lived in Iwami in South and North courts period. He fought with Takauji Ashikaga, who had a strong power in Muromachi era and is famous for building Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto. His life was lost in the battle in North Korea in 1349.
Around the shrine, there is a small stream and some statues which are symbols of the shrine. In the stream, you can see colorful carp swim. When you visit a shrine in Japan, you can see a pair of stone-carved guardian dogs or foxes. It depends on the kind of shrine. At this shrine, there are dogs. Japanese lanterns line the sides of the path from entrance to the shrine. By the shrine, there is a sacred lottery. People can pick omikuji, or fortune telling papers, and divine their fortunes from the paper. You can buy an omikuji for only 20 yen.
To the left of the main shrine, don’t miss this somewhat odd looking horse or pony. Shrines usually feature lions, dogs, tapirs or dragons in their carvings and statues but Misumi Shrine has this cute little horse. You can see more common lions too. These guardians of the shrine come in pairs, one with an open mouth and one with a close mouth. The one with an open mouth may have a stone ball in its jaws, guarded by fangs. It is said that if you can take the ball out, withour breaking the statue’s teeth, you will live forever. Hence the number of statues with broken fangs…
Access: Take a San’in line train from Hamada station to Mihomisumi and then, take a bus for about 10 minutes from Mihomisumi station. If you come by car, exit at Hamada IC and drive for about 30 minutes on Route 9 toward MasudaAddress: 697-0027 Misumi Misumi, town Hamada Shimane
HP: http://www.kankou-hamada.org/index.php (information about sightseeing around Hamada *in Japanese only)