Try A Slow-Paced Visit To Japan: Omori, Shimane | CoolJapan

I just moved to this town of Omori about a year ago from America. I used to always visit Japan, specifically Tokyo, and I get the appeal of the city, but if you are looking for something new or even a new pace of travel, might I recommend a visit to my town? 

Omori is a town located in Shimane Prefecture in Western Japan. Currently, it has a population of about 400 people, but it has so much to offer for those who make the trek out here.  

Omori, Shimane

Omori sits in a region called Iwami Ginzan which was given World Heritage status back in 2007. The intermingling of history and the daily life of the residents here is visible through the townscape. All houses are made in the same style, giving it that signature Edo-Japan look that is a rarity in modern Japan. It’s a really photogenic town, and all of it is genuine! Residents of this town take pride in their culture and imbibe it in their daily lives.

Gungendo Flagship store

Gungendo cafe food


For a place to shop for some gifts, Gungendo Flagship store is highly recommended. Gungendo is a clothing and apparel company that uses all-natural materials down to the dyes, including plant-based dyes from the local mountains. It also has a café that offers seasonal rice ball lunch plates and parfaits. Instead of focusing on mass production and mass consumption, the company believes in and promotes a slower paced, but higher quality life.

Even though this is the countryside, there is a German bakery. The local bakery Bäckerei Konditorei Hidaka  has a mouth-watering selection of breads, including pretzels and seasonal sweet potato-yuzu-cream cheese bread. The baker, Hidaka-san, makes sure to use as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible, making every one of his creations special. Instead of getting discouraged by what the countryside may lack compared to the cities, Hidaka-san finds ways to re-imagine local ingredients like butterbur, buckwheat, and summer oranges. Tourists must hurry, though. The breads tend to sell out early due to the bakery’s popularity among tourists and locals alike!

Takyo Abeke

An interesting place to stay is Takyo Abeke, a 230-year-old samurai residency turned into an inn. Every night, rice is cooked in traditional wood burning stoves and everybody surrounds a table to have a family-style meal. The owner of this inn believes that by incorporating tradition into the modern way of life, a better quality and more sustainable life can be achieved. The meals are made by a chef who carefully chooses local and seasonal ingredients, and the rooms change styles depending on the season as well. This inn is a breather than the typical business hotel in the city, where the slow pace, good local food and good company comprise a unique experience one will never forget. 

If one is looking for a new way to see Japan, Omori is a place to experience something nostalgic but novel at the same time. Teeming with tradition and culture, the countryside is a new frontier for people who have been to big cities and typical tourist spots. With the hustle and bustle in the world today, slow-paced living may be the break we all need. 

To check the access and more information on Shimane prefecture, please visit this website.

Shun now lives in a small town called Omori-cho in Shimane Prefecture, after moving there from the US. Shun writes mostly about his lifestyle here in Omori, from cooking, beer brewing, plate hunting, farming, scavenging and much more.
Read more of Shun's stories here