South of Lake Shinji

Located south of Lake Shinji is the picturesque hot spring area of Tamatsukuri, known as the “baths of the gods”. Many traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) can be found here along Tamayu River, where you can also find free natural hot spring foot baths to enjoy. The area is also well known for producing agate and magatama stones, which are closely linked to Shinto mythology.

The baths of the gods – 神の湯

Tamatsukuri Onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. This onsen was first mentioned in the Chronicles of the Izumo Province in 733, where it is said that the gods themselves enjoyed bathing here. It is now a popular destination with those looking for a more tranquil Japan, and has excellent dermatological properties, said to improve the elasticity of bathers’ skin.

Statues depicting local legends can be found around the Tamatsukuri area. These statues were designed by the acclaimed artist Satoshi Yabuuchi, who also designed the running rabbits along the shore of Lake Shinji next to the Shimane Art Museum.

Tamayu River – 玉湯川

Flowing into Lake Shinji, Tamayu River is a small river that passes through the district, from the train station to the onsen area. Lined with four hundred cherry trees, it is noted as one of the most beautiful spots in Japan for its breath-taking rows of cherry blossoms (sakura). The trees bloom from late March to mid-April. The rows of trees are also beautiful in the other seasons, and the river is home to many carp and birds, such as herons and egrets. Direct buses from Matsue city centre are also available.

Onsen & inns – 温泉と旅館

Tamatsukuri Onsen is home to many Japanese inns (ryokan) established on both side of the Tamayu River.Two free hot spring foot baths can be enjoyed along the river, and a third at Himekami Square. Similar foot baths can also be found at Matsue Shinjiko Onsen in central Matsue.

Even if you are not there for an overnight stay, most inns have a bathing-only facility available during the day, for a price ranging from ¥500 to ¥1,600. Details depend on each inn (see details in Japanese here). Tamatsukuri Onsen Yuyu is a bathing-only facility where you can enjoy the benefits of Tamatsukuri’s nourishing water.

Tamatsukuri Onsen Yuyu – 玉造温泉ゆ~ゆ
Admission fee Adult ¥500
Opening Hours Closed on Mondays or the following day in the case of a national holiday
Access to bath 10:00 - 22:00 (Last entry 21:20)
URL (Japanese)
Tel 0852-62-1000
Access Located in the middle of the onsen area, at the foot of Izumo Tamatsukuri Historical Park

The land of magatama – 勾玉の地

Magatama, literally meaning “curved bead”, dates back to the Yayoi period or earlier. Tamatsukuri means "bead making", and has been well-known as a source of agate for these beads since ancient times. Thought to hold spiritual powers, a magatama is one of the three imperial regalia of Japan. You can see the motif on the iconic magatama bridge of Tamatsukuri or in Tamayu River. Magatama and agate jewellery and ornaments can be purchased throughout the area.

Lying in the hills just to the rear of the onsen district, Izumo Tamatsukuri Historical Park is home to the largest ruins of jewellery-making facilities and workshops discovered within Japan. Located next to it is the Izumo Tamatsukuri Resource Centre, introducing the history of magatama-making and the local Fujina Ceramics.  Finally, you can have a try at making magatama beads yourself inside the Izumo Magatama-no-Sato Workshop and Museum located by Lake Shinji.

Izumo Magatama Resource Centre – 出雲玉作資料館
Admission fee ¥300
Opening Hours All year from 9:00 - 17:00 Closed on Monday
Tel 0852-62-1040
Access Can be accessed by going through the Historical Park located east of Tamayu River

A spot for romance and relaxation – ロマンとくつろぎの場

Tamatsukuri is known for en-musubi, a divine matchmaking force, but all the more popular for its hot spring water that is great for your skin! Along the river, there are free foot baths that offer a simple way to warm up and improve blood circulation.

At the little square called Yuyakushi, you can take home a small bottle of onsen water that can be used as an effective facial toner! If you do not have an empty container, you can buy an empty spray bottle for ¥200. Tamatsukuri-yu Shrine, located here, is dedicated to two onsen and magatama deities.

Tamatsukuri-yu Shrine’s Wishing Stone – 玉造湯神社の叶い石の使い方
  1. Purchase a Kanai-ishi (granting stone) from the shrine office
  2. Cleanse your mouth and both hands at the water-filled basin (chozuya) of the shrine.
  3. First, give your greetings in the worship hall (haiden).
  4. Clean the Kanai-ishi (granting stone) with water and hold it against the Negai-ishi (wishing stone), located to the right of the haiden.
  5. Write what you wish for, your address, and your name on the wish slip (it will make two copies) at the worship hall. Place one copy with the Kanai-ishi in the drawstring bag and place the other copy in the shrine’s box.
  6. Put your monetary offering in the wooden box, bow twice, clap twice and then bow once.

Kimachi Stone Museum – 来待ストーン

Located next to Tamatsukuri, Kimachi is home to a museum dedicated to a local type of stone which is tender and easy to work with. Kimachi stone is the material used in the large stone lantern by Lake Shinji in central Matsue. These decorative stone lanterns are also often used for night events in Matsue. Another characteristic of Kimachi stone is its ease of growing moss, creating a peculiar texture. Apart from introducing the history and the culture related to Kimachi Stone, the museum enables you to get hands-on carving experience at the crafts centre.

Museum Admission ¥390
Hours 9:00 - 17:00 Closed on Tuesday
Carving/Ceramic workshop ¥2,030 / ¥2,640 Booking: 0852-66-9100
Restaurant Nature Lunch 11:30 - 14:30 Dinner 18:00 - 21:30
URL (Japanese)
Tel 0852-66-9050
Access One kilometre (15-minute walk) south of JR Kimachi Station

Access and useful links - アクセス・リンク

Tamatsukuri Onsen Station can be accessed by train from JR Matsue Station in eight minutes (¥200). The hot spring area is located two kilometres south of Tamatsukuri Onsen Station. Following Tamayu River, a walk from the station to the onsen district takes approximately 20min. The alternative is to take a taxi, or shuttle buses provided by most inns if you are staying there. You can also travel by bus from JR Matsue Station to Tamatsukuri Onsen (30min, ¥530).

  • Sightseeing in Tamatsukuri Onsen – Japanese website ›› Click here
  • Tamatsukuri Onsen Ryokan Association – Japanese website ›› Click here
  • Sightseeing in Shinji – Japanese website ›› Click here


Pamphlets and maps
  • Tamatsukuri Onsen Dandan English Map ›› Click here (PDF:2.95MB)