The seventh largest lake in Japan and one of the most famous natural sights of Shimane Prefecture.By Laura Payne
Stretching sixteen kilometers between Izumo and Matsue, Lake Shinji is the seventh-largest lake in Japan and one of the most famous natural features of Shimane Prefecture. It is also renowned nationally as one of Japan’s best 100 sunset spots and internationally recognized as a waterway of global importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Whether you want to play by the water, catch glimpses of migratory birds, try local delicacies or enjoy beautiful scenery, this lake has something to share.
Parks and activities
On the lake’s western side, visitors can observe local wildlife by exploring the nature trails of Shinjiko Green Park or visiting Gobius–a small aquarium dedicated to educating people about the animals of Shimane’s waterways.
Meanwhile, Lake Shinji’s eastern side is the best place to view sunsets and to help people enjoy these, Matsue City maintains multiple waterfront parks. Additionally, fans of bird’s eye views can visit the observation deck of San’in Godo Bank’s headquarters and see the lake’s expanse from fourteen stories up.
Boats are another way to enjoy the lake’s scenery. On the lake’s northern side, Aikanagisa Park offers kayak and swan boat rentals for those who want to try outdoor sports. From central Matsue, visitors can hop on the Lake Shinji Pleasure Cruise and take a tour with views of the cityscape and Yomegashima, the only island on Lake Shinji. This cruise runs multiple times a day from morning until sunset, providing options for how to enjoy the view.
Delicacies and events
Early on Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings, fishermen can be seen on Lake Shinji harvesting shijimi clams. These clams, gathered year-round, are a common addition to regional miso soup varieties and are considered one of the seven delicacies of Lake Shinji (along with whitebait, eel, shrimp, bass, smelt and carp). These delicacies can be purchased at souvenir shops such as the Shimane Local Products Center (located next to Matsue Castle) and in restaurants around the city.
Visitors to Lake Shinji in the summer also have the opportunity to sample Japan’s festival foods. One of the most anticipated festivals of the summer season is Matsue Suigosai, a fireworks festival held in the eastern shore’s public parks. After eating from yatai (food stalls) and enjoying stage performances, festivalgoers can watch the sunset before being treated to a display of thousands of fireworks bursting over the lake.
Topics: Japan's Great Outdoors, lakes in japan, shimane