Things to do: See where Japan was born

Japan was born in what's now Shimane Prefecture, according to the country's mythology. In 2012, the prefecture will host a Mythology Expo to share its historical roots with the world.

Shimane is one of Japan's most rural prefectures and is a good choice for those looking to go far off the beaten path. Its public transit is limited and train service is much more sparse than the major cities. On the plus side, the access to untouched nature is second to none. Tumblr_lt4wuhUrYr1qaiz7oo1_400

According to histories recorded over 1,000 years ago, Japan's many gods gather at Izumo Taisha, one of the country's grand Shinto shrines, to convene and discuss affairs.

The activities will be split between the prefecture's Exhibition Hall and the Museum of Ancient Izumo.

In the Exhibition Hall, you'll find:

  • A movie theater with a 10 x 50 feet screen
  • Mythological Gourmet featuring local foods and Souvenir Market
  • Walking Tours of Izumo Taisha
  • Appeal of Shimane Stage with traditional Kagura theater and performances by new character Shimaneko (right)

In the nearby Muzeum of Ancient Izumo, you can check out:

  • A mini replica of Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine as it stood during the Heian Period (ended 1185)
  • Land of the Gods photography exhibit
  • Ancient artifacts: 358 bronze swords discovered in 1988 and 39 bronze bell-like vessels extracted in 1996

At the Museum you can also learn to make magatama, beads shaped like commas.

The expo will go on from July 21, 2012 to November 11. It's best to reach the city of Izumo by plane: at least 5 flights leave Tokyo Haneda airport daily. 

via JNTO [PDF]

Special thanks to Greg Ferguson for the Shimaneko pic.