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Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine

One of Japan's holiest shrines, Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is known as the "land of the gods." According to popular lore, all the Shinto gods throughout the country gather here annually in autumn to discuss the world's fate for the upcoming year. In Izumo, this auspicious time is known as the "Month with the Gods," whereas in the rest of Japan it's known as the "Month without Gods" due to their absence. A festival is held at the shrine during this time, attracting many visitors who believe it’s lucky to be close to so many deities.

According to historic chronicles, it was established before the 7th century, making this Japan's oldest site of a Shinto Grand Shrine. Suspended above the entrance to the Worship Hall is a huge, twisted sacred rope, common to region.

The main approach to the shrine starts at a giant torii gate and offers an engaging shopping street lined by stores and restaurants. At the end of the street stands a large wooden torii gate, which marks the entrance to the actual shrine grounds.