Shimane Prefecture (島根県, Shimane-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu.[1] Shimane Prefecture is the second-least populous prefecture of Japan at 665,205 (February 1, 2021) and has a geographic area of 6,708.26 km2. Shimane Prefecture borders Yamaguchi Prefecture to the southwest, Hiroshima Prefecture to the south, and Tottori Prefecture to the east.

Shimane Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese島根県
 • RōmajiShimane-ken
The coast of Gōtsu City, Shimane Prefecture seen from the Osakihana lighthouse
The coast of Gōtsu City, Shimane Prefecture seen from the Osakihana lighthouse
Flag of Shimane Prefecture
Official logo of Shimane Prefecture
Anthem: Usu-murasaki no yamanami
Location of Shimane Prefecture
RegionChūgoku (San'in)
SubdivisionsDistricts: 5, Municipalities: 19
 • GovernorTatsuya Maruyama
 • Total6,708.26 km2 (2,590.07 sq mi)
 • Rank19th
 (February 1, 2021)
 • Total665,205
 • Rank46th
 • Density99/km2 (260/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-32
Symbols of Japan
BirdWhooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)
FishFlying Fish
FlowerMoutan peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)
TreeJapanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)

Matsue is the capital and largest city of Shimane Prefecture, with other major cities including Izumo, Hamada, and Masuda.[2] Shimane Prefecture contains the majority of the Lake Shinji-Nakaumi metropolitan area centered on Matsue, and with a population of approximately 600,000 is Japan's third-largest metropolitan area on the Sea of Japan coast after Niigata and Greater Kanazawa. Shimane Prefecture is bounded by the Sea of Japan coastline on the north, where two-thirds of the population live, and the Chūgoku Mountains on the south. Shimane Prefecture governs the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan which juridically includes the disputed Liancourt Rocks (竹島, Takeshima). Shimane Prefecture is home to Izumo-taisha, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and the Tokugawa-era Matsue Castle.

History edit

Matsue Castle

Early history edit

The history of Shimane starts with Japanese mythology. The Shinto god Ōkuninushi was believed to live in Izumo, an old province in Shimane. Izumo Shrine, which is in the city of Izumo, honors the god.[3] At that time, the current Shimane prefecture was divided into three parts: Iwami, Izumo, and Oki.[4] That lasted until the abolition of the han system took place in 1871. During the Nara period, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro read a poem on Shimane's nature when he was sent as the Royal governor.[5]

Later on in the Kamakura period (1185–1333), the Kamakura shogunate forced emperors Go-Toba and Godaigo into exile in Oki. Emperor Go-Daigo later escaped from Oki and began rallying supporters against the shogunate, which proved successful.[6]

Middle Ages edit

A view of Shimizudani silver mine refinery ruin, a part of UNESCO World Herritage area

During the Muromachi period (1336–1573), Izumo and Oki were controlled by the Kyōgoku clan. However, after the Ōnin War, the Amago clan expanded power based in Gassantoda Castle and the Masuda clan dominated Iwami Province. The Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine was located between Amago territory and Masuda territory, and there were many battles between the clans for the silver. In 1566 Mōri Motonari conquered Izumo, Iwami, and Oki.[6] In 1600, after over 30 years of Mori control, Horio Yoshiharu entered Izumo and Oki as the result of Battle of Sekigahara, which Mori lost. Following the change, Horio Yoshiharu decided to move to build Matsue Castle instead of Gassan-Toda, and soon after Yoshiharu's death the castle was completed. In 1638, the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu Matsudaira Naomasa [ja] became the ruler because the Horio clan had no heir, and his family ruled until the abolition of the han system.

The Iwami area was split into three regions: the mining district, under the direct control of the Shogunate, the Hamada clan region, and the Tsuwano clan region. The Iwami Ginzan, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, produced silver and was one of the nation's largest silver mines by the early 17th century. The Hamada clan was on the shogunate's side in the Meiji Restoration, and the castle was burned down. The Tsuwano clan, despite then being ruled by the Matsudaira, was on the emperor's side in the restoration.[7]

Modern Age edit

In 1871, the abolition of the han system placed the old Shimane and Hamada Provinces in the current area of Shimane Prefecture. Later that year, Oki became part of Tottori. In 1876, Hamada Prefecture was merged into Shimane Prefecture. Also, Tottori Prefecture was added in the same year. However, five years later, in 1881, the current portion of Tottori Prefecture was separated and the current border was formed.[7]

Geography edit

Shimane Prefecture is situated on the Sea of Japan side of the Chūgoku region. Because of its mountainous landscape, rice farming is done mostly in the Izumo plain where the city of Izumo is located.[8] Another major landform is the Shimane peninsula. The peninsula is located across the Sea of Japan from Izumo to Sakaiminato, which is located in Tottori prefecture. Also, the peninsula created two brackish lakes, Lake Shinji and Nakaumi. The island of Daikon is located in Nakaumi. Off the main island of Honshū, the island of Oki belongs to Shimane prefecture as well. The island itself is in the Daisen-Oki National Park.[8] Shimane also claims the use of Liancourt Rocks, over which they are in dispute with South Korea.[9]

As of 1 April 2012, 6% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Daisen-Oki National Park; Hiba-Dōgo-Taishaku and Nishi-Chūgoku Sanchi Quasi-National Parks; and eleven Prefectural Natural Parks.[10]

Most major cities are located either on the seaside, or along a river.[8]

Cities edit

Map of Shimane Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
Cape Hinomisaki near Izumo
Saigo area of Oki Island

Eight cities are located in Shimane Prefecture, the largest in population being Matsue, the capital, and the smallest being Gōtsu. The cities Masuda, Unnan, Yasugi, and Gōtsu had a slight population increase due to the mergers in the early 2000s.[11]

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Gōtsu 江津市 268.51 24,009  
  Hamada 浜田市 689.6 57,142  
  Izumo 出雲市 624.36 172,039  
  Masuda 益田市 733.16 46,892  
  Matsue (capital) 松江市 572.99 202,008  
  Ōda 大田市 436.11 34,354  
  Unnan 雲南市 553.4 38,281  
  Yasugi 安来市 420.97 38,875  

Towns and villages edit

These are the towns and villages of each district. The number of towns and villages greatly decreased during the mergers. However, they hold about one-third of the prefecture's population.[11]

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Ama 海士町 33.5 2,293 Oki District Town  
  Chibu 知夫村 13.7 657 Oki District Village  
  Iinan 飯南町 242.84 4,908 Iishi District Town  
  Kawamoto 川本町 106.39 3,331 Ōchi District Town  
  Misato 美郷町 282.92 4,712 Ōchi District Town  
  Nishinoshima 西ノ島町 55.98 2,923 Oki District Town  
  Okinoshima 隠岐の島町 242.97 14,422 Oki District Town  
  Okuizumo 奥出雲町 368.06 12,655 Nita District Town  
  Ōnan 邑南町 419.29 10,922 Ōchi District Town  
  Tsuwano 津和野町 307.09 7,478 Kanoashi District Town  
  Yoshika 吉賀町 336.29 6,231 Kanoashi District Town  

Mergers edit

April 1976 January 2011 January 2012
Izumo Region Matsue City (Old System) Matsue City (New System) Matsue City
(August 1, 2011 Merger with Higashiizumo Town)
Yatsuka District Kashima Town
Shimane Town
Mihonoseki Town
Yakumo Village
Tamayu Town
Shinji Town
Yatsuka Town
Higashiizumo Town
Yasugi City (Old System) Yasugi City (New System) Yasugi City
Nogi District Hirose Town
Hakuta Town
Nita District Yokota Town Okuizumo Town
Nita Town
Izumo City (Old System) Izumo City (New System) Izumo City
(October 1, 2011 Merger with Hikawa Town)
Hirata City
Hikawa District Taisha Town
Koryo Town
Taki Town
Sada Town
Hikawa Town
Ōhara District Daitō Town Unnan City
Kamo Town
Kisuki Town
Iishi District Mitoya Town
Kakeya Town
Yoshida Village
Tonbara Town Iinan Town
Akagi Town
Iwami Region Ōda City (Old System) Ōda City (New System) Ōda City
Nima District Yunotsu Town
Nima Town
Gōtsu City (Old System) Gōtsu City (New System) Gōtsu City
Ōchi District Sakurae Town
Ōchi Town Misato Town
Daiwa Village
Iwami Town Ōnan Town
Mizuho Town
Hasumi Village
Kawamoto Town
Hamada City (Old System) Hamada City (New System) Hamada City
Naka District Asahi Town
Kanagi Town
Misumi Town
Yasaka Village
Masuda City (Old System) Masuda City (New System) Masuda City
Mino District Mito Town
Hikimi Town
Kanoashi District Tsuwano Town (Old System) Tsuwano Town (New System) Tsuwano Town
Nichihara Town
Muikaichi Town Yoshika Town
Kakinoki Village
Oki Region Oki District Saigō Town Okinoshima Town
Fuse Village
Goka Village
Tsuma Village
Nishinoshima Town
Ama Town
Chibu Village

Climate edit

Shimane prefecture has a sub-tropical climate. Winter is cloudy with a little snow, and summer is humid. The average annual temperature is 14.6 °C (58.3 °F). It rains almost every day in the rainy season, from June to mid-July. The highest average monthly temperature occurs in August with 26.3 °C (79.3 °F). The average annual precipitation is 1,799 millimetres (70.8 in), higher than Tokyo's 1,467 mm (57.8 in) and Obihiro with 920 mm (36.2 in).[11]

Shimane Prefecture Yearly Averages by Region (Statistics Period: 1971 - 2000, Source: Japanese Meteorological Agency: Statistical Climate Information)
Average Year
Oki Izumo (Coastal) Izumo (Inland)
Saigo Cape
Ama   Matsue
Matsue  Hikawa  Izumo  Okuizumo
Warmest Month 25.6
Coldest Month 3.9
(Jan, Feb)
Heaviest Month 211.6
Driest Month 110.4
Average Year
Iwami (Coastal) Iwami (Inland)
 Ōda   Hamada Masuda  Masuda City
 Kawamoto  Ōnan
Hamada City
 Tsuwano  Yoshika  Yoshika
Warmest Month 26.5
Coldest Month 4.9
(Jan, Feb)
(Jan, Feb)
Heaviest Month 246.3
Driest Month 98.3

Transportation edit

Airports edit

Three airports serve Shimane. The Izumo Airport located in Izumo is the largest airport in the prefecture in terms of passengers and has regular flights to Haneda Airport, Osaka Airport, Fukuoka Airport, and Oki Airport. The Iwami Airport has two flights each day to Haneda and Osaka and 2 arrivals. Oki Airport has scheduled flights to Osaka and Izumo Airports.[12]

Rail edit

JR West and Ichibata Electric Railway serves the prefecture in terms of rail transportation. The Sanin Main Line goes through the prefecture on the Sea of Japan side into major cities such as Matsue and Izumo.[13] Izumoshi and Matsue stations are the major stops in the prefecture. The Kisuki line, which forks from Shinji Station on the Sanin Line, connects with the Geibi Line in Hiroshima Prefecture, cutting into the Chūgoku Mountains.[13] Ichibata Electric Railway serve the Shimane peninsula from Dentetsu-Izumoshi Station and Izumo Taisha-mae Station to Matsue Shinjiko-Onsen Station.[14]

JR West has three Limited Express trains to Shimane, which are Super Matsukaze, Super Oki, and Yakumo.[15] Additionally, the overnight limited express Sunrise Izumo operates daily between Tokyo and Izumoshi.

Roads edit

General Roads edit

Highways edit

The four expressways in the prefecture connect major cities with other prefectures. The Matsue expressway connects Matsue with Unnan and Yonago in Tottori prefecture. Hamada Expressway forks from the Chūgoku Expressway at Kita-Hiroshima and stretches to Hamada.[8]

Ferry/High Speed Boats edit

Economy edit

In Shimane, the largest employer is the retail industry, employing over 60,000 workers. The supermarket, Mishimaya, and the hardware store, Juntendo, are examples of companies based in Shimane. The manufacturing industry has the second highest number of employees with 49,000 workers.[citation needed]

Companies based in Shimane edit

Manufacturing edit

Financial edit

Others edit

Major factories edit

Demographics edit

Shimane prefecture population pyramid in 2020

One-third of the prefecture's population is concentrated in the Izumo-Matsue area. Otherwise, over two-thirds of the population is on the coastline. A reason for the population distribution is that the Chūgoku Mountains make the land inland harder to inhabit. The capital, Matsue, has the smallest population of all 47 prefectural capitals. Shimane has also the largest percentage of elderly people.[11] The province had an estimated 743 centenarians per million inhabitants in September 2010, the highest ratio in Japan, overtaking Okinawa Prefecture (667 centenarians per million).[16]

Population by age edit

Total Population in age groups
2007 Estimated Population
Unit: Thousands

Age Population
0 - 4      30
5 - 9     33
10 - 14      35
15 - 19     37
20 - 24         32
25 - 29      38
30 - 34       44
35 - 39      41
40 - 44      38
45 - 49       44
50 - 54     51
55 - 59      66
60 - 64       44
65 - 69        45
70 - 74        50
75 - 79      45
80 and over       64

Population in age groups by gender
2007 Estimated population
Unit: Thousands

Male Age Female
15     0 - 4     15
17      5 - 9     16
18       10 - 14      17
19   15 - 19      18
16     20 - 24     16
19   25 - 29   19
22     30 - 34     22
20    35 - 39    20
19   40 - 44   19
22     45 - 49     22
26     50 - 54      25
34      55 - 59      32
22     60 - 64     23
20    65 - 69     24
22     70 - 74      28
19   75 - 79     26
20    80 and over     44
Comparison of Population Distribution between Shimane and Japanese National Average Population Distribution by Age and Sex in Shimane
Japan (average)
1970 773,575
1975 768,886
1980 784,795
1985 794,629
1990 781,021
1995 771,441
2000 761,503
2005 742,223
2010 716,354
2015 Census, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications - Statistics Department
Historical population
1920 715,000—    
1930 740,000+3.5%
1940 741,000+0.1%
1950 913,000+23.2%
1960 889,000−2.6%
1970 773,575−13.0%
1980 784,795+1.5%
1990 781,021−0.5%
2000 761,503−2.5%
2010 717,397−5.8%
2020 679,626−5.3%

Culture edit

Cultural Assets edit

Nima Sand Museum in Oda
World Cultural Heritage
National Treasures
Important Traditional Building Preservation Area
  • Ōmori (Ōda City)
  • Yunotsu (Ōda City)

Languages (Dialects) edit

Universities in Shimane Prefecture edit

Tourism edit

Garden of the Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi

Prefectural symbols edit

The prefectural flower is the mountain peony. On the island of Daikonjima, they have been grown from at least the 18th century.[21]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Shimane Province" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 859, p. 859, at Google Books; "Chūgoku" at p. 127, p. 127, at Google Books
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Matsue" at p. 617, p. 617, at Google Books
  3. ^ "Izumo Shrine website". Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  5. ^ Shimane Prefecture introduction Archived March 3, 1997, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b 古川清行 Furukawa Kiyoyuki (2003). スーパー日本史 Super Nihon-shi. 講談社 Kōdansha. ISBN 4-06-204594-X.
  7. ^ a b History of Shimane Prefecture Archived November 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c d 新編 中学校社会科地図 Updated Social studies map for Junior High school. 帝国書院 Teikoku Shoin. 2007. ISBN 978-4-8071-4091-6.
  9. ^ Liancourt Rocks
  10. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. April 1, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d 考える社会科地図 Kangaeru Shakaika Chizu. 四谷大塚出版 Yotsuya-Ōtsuka Shuppan. 2005. p. 113.
  12. ^ Flight schedule of Oki Airport Archived August 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b Route map for JR West
  14. ^ Route map of Ichibata Electric Railway
  15. ^ JR West website on limited express trains
  16. ^ Japan Times “Centenarians to Hit Record 44,000”. The Japan Times, Sept. 15, 2010. Okinawa Prefecture also had the largest loss of young and middle-aged population during the Pacific War.
  17. ^ Shimane 1995-2020 population statistics
  18. ^ Shimane 1920-2000 population statistics
  19. ^ Shimane University
  20. ^ University of Shimane
  21. ^ Symbols of Shimane Prefecture: From Shimane Prefecture website Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

References edit

External links edit

35°13′N 132°40′E / 35.217°N 132.667°E / 35.217; 132.667