Shimane Prefecture is located in the Chūgoku region, which consists of Yamaguchi Prefecture to the southwest, Hiroshima Prefecture to the south, and Tottori Prefecture to the east. The Japan Sea surrounds the prefecture on the north and the Chūgoku Mountains on the south.



The prefecture is the second-least populous of Japan at 665,205 (February 1, 2021) and has a geographic area of 6,708.26 km2.


Matsue is the capital and largest city of Shimane Prefecture, with other major cities, including IzumoHamada, and Masuda. The prefecture also governs the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan.


The prefecture has the majority of the Lake ShinjiNakaumi metropolitan area centred on Matsue, and with a population of approximately 600,000, is Japan’s third-largest metro area on the Japan Sea coast after Niigata and Greater Kanazawa.


Shimane Prefecture is known for the Izumo Grand Shrine, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and the Tokugawa-era Matsue Castle.


Shimane has many local traditions based on the Shinto ritual because it is said to have been a sort of capital of ancient Japan.