Savouring Japan’s rustic beauty: TAVIKALA’s Okuizumo tour

Okuizumo area — like many municipalities in Japan — faces significant challenges related to depopulation and vacant houses. To address these issues, the development of inbound businesses has been deemed crucial. In pursuit of this goal, TAVIKARA, a travel company based in Okuizumo Town, Shimane, offers unique inbound tours.


Situated in the Chugoku Mountains, Okuizumo offers authentic Japanese scenery. Okuizumo is just a 1.5-hour flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Izumo Airport, followed by a one-hour drive along Route 314, from which it’s hard to miss from the rode the sheets of rugged peaks curtaining the horizon. For those seeking a more leisurely journey, a nine-hour expedition aboard Shinkansen and local railways provides an opportunity to savour the scenic beauty. Alternatively, Sunrise Izumo, a night sleeper train, along with a local train, promise a captivating 14-hour journey, allowing passengers to embark on a timeless discovery.


An Okuizumo’s travel company, TAVIKALA, produces tours that fully immerse travellers in Japan’s rustic landscapes. During the Golden Week holidays, TAVIKALA hosted a walking tour through Okuizumo titled ‘Inaka no Arukikata’, which attracted 16 participants, including Japanese and Americans.


At the beginning of the journey, Sri Lankan Curry was served for lunch as a gesture of hospitality, given that the tour organiser, Sameera Gunawardena, is Sri Lankan. The exotic and spicy food was well-received by all, helping to break the ice among participants.

After lunch, participants visited the iron-making museum to learn about Okuizumo’s traditional industry. Okuizumo thrived during the Edo period (1603-1868) due to iron-making, producing Tamahagane swords known as the soul of samurai. However, prosperity declined with the introduction of cheap Western iron during Japan’s modernisation (19C). Yet, the Okuizumo-style iron-making legacy has been revived thanks to locals’ passion and dedication, attracting tourists today. Fluent English interpretation allowed Americans to understand Okuizumo’s ethos.

Next, the group rode to terraced rice paddies called Tanada, which produce brand Nita Mai rice and exemplify idyllic Japanese scenery. They also learned about Okuizumo’s depopulation-related challenges to shed light on rural Japan’s hidden struggles.

The highlight was hiking on Mt. Sentsuu (alt.1142m), steeped in mythical tales. Revered in Japanese folklore, Mt. Sentsuu is where Susanoo wielded the power of sake, overcoming a fearsome serpent monster. Legend has it that he shrewdly intoxicated the fearsome eight-headed serpent monster, which had unleashed chaos upon ancient Japan before valiantly decapitating the evil snake’s heads on the mountain. The panorama from the peak captivated hikers, beckoning them into the mythical world.

Okuizumo silently attracts tourists and is worth visiting for those seeking the richness of Japan’s off-the-beaten-path. TAVIKALA promises you a bucolic travel tour in Okuizumo.


Join the Inaka no Arukikata tour as we traverse through this facilitating area, uncovering its myriad charms and marvelling at its beauty along the way.

(Words by Takashi Saito)



How to get to Okuizumo by train

By JR Sanin Main Line and Kisuki Line

It takes 2 hours and 30 minutes from JR Matsue to JR Izumo Yokota.


2 Replies to “Savouring Japan’s rustic beauty: TAVIKALA’s Okuizumo tour”

  1. Not many people know about those areas mentioned in this article. TAVIKALA did a wonderful job to arrange such an unique tour and Saito san, the writer of the article, is doing a marvelous thing to spread it to the world!

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