Shimane Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chugoku region on 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 Chugoku Mountain Range on the south side and to the Sea of Japan on the north side. 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 Okinoshima Islands and Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan are also part of Shimane Prefecture.
Yamaguchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan in the Chugoku region on Honshū island. The capital is the city of Yamaguchi, in the center of the prefecture. The largest city, however, is Shimonoseki.
Tsuwano is a town in Kanoashi District, Shimane Prefecture, Japan. Tsuwano is remotely located and surrounded by hills. Though geographically closer to Yamaguchi, the capital of Yamaguchi Prefecture, it is situated in Shimane Prefecture. A train trip to Matsue, Shimane’s capital, takes as long as four hours. Due to its proximity to the border to neighboring Yamaguchi, many tourists who come to Tsuwano also visit Hagi on the Sea of Japan and Yamaguchi at the same time, and Tsuwano is often mistaken as being located in Yamaguchi Prefecture for this reason.
Popularly called the "Little Kyoto of Sun・ing," Tsuwano is known for its picturesque mainstreet, "Tono-machi," which is lined with Edo-era buildings and Koi ponds. It also boasts one of the oldest still in use "Yabusame" (horse back archery) ranges in all of Japan, and its annual Yabusame festival is a large tourist draw for the Sun・ing region.
Tsuwano is somewhat unusually home to two Catholic churches. The Catholic church in Tsuwano itself is dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier, who visited Japan as a missionary in 1549–50, and is located on its mainstreet. The church at Otome Pass is part of a memorial for Christians persecuted and tortured in Tsuwano by the government during the Edo and Meiji-eras.
Hagi is a castle town located on the delta of the Abugawa River, dotted with traditional Japanese buildings. Yamaguchi Prefecture.
In the medieval period, Hagi was dominated by the Yoshimi clan, who built Hagi Castle, of which the ruins can be visited today. The Mori clan became daimyo of Choshu Domain at the beginning of the Edo-era and built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki in 1608. They transferred the capital of the domain from Hiroshima to Hagi at the same time. Since then, Hagi developed as the political center of Choshu for over 250 years. When the Meiji Restoration came about in the 1860s, as the result of efforts by samurai from Choshu and a number of other domains, this small city gained great historical significance. Many Japanese statesmen and Prime Ministers were born and brought up in this city.