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5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Shimane

Wagyu beef, traditional tea culture and sake brewed by the gods.

By Laura Payne

Shimane Prefecture is located north of Hiroshima. It is home to a World Heritage Site silver mine, a 400-year-old castle and Izumo Taisha–a shrine said to attract favorable chance encounters. As the second least-populated prefecture in the country, Shimane promises sightseeing experiences away from large crowds.

Rich in agriculture, hunting, fishing and other food production industries, expect to chow down on dishes with deep connections to local communities.

1. Izumo soba noodles

Izumo soba noodles

Photo by: PIXTA/ HAPPY SMILE Fill up on Warigo soba before making your way around the prefecture.

Made with whole-grain buckwheat flour, these noodles can be eaten hot or cold, but a style called warigo soba is the most famous.

Warigo soba divides a single serving of noodles into two or three stacked dishes. Put sauce and toppings into the uppermost dish and enjoy. After finishing this portion, pour any leftovers into the next dish (adding more seasonings as needed) and repeat. Warigo soba sets also tend to include a cup of water in which the noodles are boiled. A nutritious hot drink!

2. Wagashi (traditional sweets)

Photo by: iStock/ akiyoko For colder months, stay warm with a bowl of zenzai.

Fans of green tea and sweets will feel at home in Shimane. In Matsue, one of Japan’s top three tea cities, try wakakusa (a sticky rice cake coated in green sugar) at local tea houses. In Izumo, zenzai (sweet azuki bean soup with rice cakes) is popular in colder months. Meanwhile, the westernmost town of Tsuwano serves genjimaki (rolled cakes filled with azuki bean paste).

3. Shijimi clams

Shijimi Clams

Photo by: PIXTA/ kai A hearty serving of one of Japan’s superfoods.

Shijimi is considered a superfood because they are known to promote liver health. Local fishermen harvest them year-round from Lake Shinji–the seventh largest lake in Japan. Side dishes such as shijimi jiru (shijimi miso soup) or shijimi gohan (shijimi rice) are the most common ways to enjoy these clams, but they can also be found in clam chowder or ramen.

4. Shimane beef

Shimane Beef

Photo by: PIXTA/trikehawks Satisfy your cravings with Shimane Beef.

Grasslands of the Oki Islands and Mount Sanbe provide ample space for cow herds. Local chains like Sanbe Burger use Shimane beef in their signature sandwiches. Meanwhile, gourmet restaurants serve umami-rich Shimane wagyu as steaks, rice bowls and other tempting meals.

5. Sake (rice wine)

Cold sake with rice and ear of rice on the table

Photo by: iStock/ kuppa_rock Don’t leave Shimane Prefecture without tasting locally brewed sake.

Shimane is called the birthplace of sake because The Kojiki–a record of Shinto deities–tells legends of gods brewing the drink here. Today, breweries around the prefecture use local rice and spring water to create multiple varieties and flavors of sake, which can be bought by the bottle, paired with a meal or enjoyed at free tastings.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of our Famous Food in Japan series

How To Get There


Where To Stay

Matsue Excel Hotel Tokyu
  • 590 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥9,450 - ¥82,650
  • 4.32/5 (1,335 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Matsue Urban Hotel Cubic Room
  • 590-3 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥3,630 - ¥9,900
  • 4.38/5 (141 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Matsue Urban Hotel
  • 590-3 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥6,490 - ¥24,420
  • 3.66/5 (2,818 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Green Rich Hotel Matsue Station Across Yunohana
  • 589-1 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥9,240 - ¥87,840
  • 4.19/5 (265 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Green Rich Hotel Matsue Ekimae Futamata Yunohana
  • 493-1 Asahimachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane, 690-0003 Japan
  • ¥7,110 - ¥23,240
  • 3.42/5 (3,543 reviews)
  • 0.4 km

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