West Japan

Western Japan includes prefectures such as Okayama, Shimane, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Tottori

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Adachi Museum of Art

The Adachi Museum of Art in Matsue was founded by Adachi Zenko in 1980 in order to combine his passions for Japanese art and garden design. He hoped that viewing the gardens and artwork together would foster appreciation and interest in Japanese art. The museum is now best known for its award winning garden, which…

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ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima

The recently renovated ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel is conveniently located close to the Peace Park and is easily accessible from Hiroshima Station. The hotel boasts a comprehensive fitness centre, as well as an indoor swimming pool. Japanese, Chinese, and French restaurants are among the other extensive facilities on offer.

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Benesse House Hotel

Benesse House is a unique fusion of modern architecture and art that has a growing legion of worldwide fans. Designed by Japan’s most famous architect, Tadao Ando, the hotel successfully marries art, architecture and nature in a stunning environment. Guests have a choice of four separate hotel areas in which to stay: Oval, Museum, Beach…

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Bizen

A famous pottery town in Okayama Prefecture, Bizen was one of Japan’s six ancient kilns and today remains at the forefront of Japanese ceramics.

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Daisho-in Temple

Miyajima’s main temple, Daishō-in is tucked back into the well-treed lower slopes of Mount Misen, about ten minutes south of Itsukushima-jinja. Daisho-in is one of the most important temples in Shingon Buddhism and the sect’s founder, Kobo Daishi, first began the practice of Buddhism on Miyajima. The temple has interesting pavilions, lily-filled ponds, and stone…

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Hiroshima

Rebuilt post-war, Hiroshima is a thoroughly modern city with glass buildings and wide boulevards. Hiroshima is, however, one of the few Japanese cities to have retained its tram system, giving the city a surprisingly quaint feel. The Atomic Dome and Peace Park are poignant reminders of Hiroshima’s tragic history, and millions of origami cranes are…

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Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle, also called the Carp Castle, is a good example of a castle built on a plain in the center of a city as opposed to hilltop and mountaintop castles. Its main keep is five stories tall, and its grounds are surrounded by a moat. Also within the castle’s precincts are a shrine, some…

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Hiroshima Peace Park

Visiting Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and Museum is likely to be most moving part of your trip to Japan. The spacious park is full of memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives on August the 6th 1945, as well as those who later succumbed to diseases, and is also home to the famous Atomic…

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Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine is built out over the water, as a spiritual threshold that separates the sacred island from the profane outer world. With its large torii gate standing nearby in the sea, it forms the iconic image of Miyajima. The shrine itself was first built in the 6th Century, and took its present form in…

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Iwaso

Situated in a picturesque part of Momijidani Park, the stylish luxury ryokan Iwaso has among their guest list members of the Japanese royal family and has been welcoming visitors to Miyajima since 1854. Each comfortable room boasts creative design, such as flame-shaped windows, openwork screens, latticework and alcove posts. The Wakamiya Hot Spring, named after…

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Izumo Grand Shrine

Located in the city of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture, about an hour west of Matsue, Izumo Taisha is one of Japan’s most important shrines. Although no records exist of exactly when Izumo Taisha was built, it is often considered the oldest shrine in Japan, already in existence in the early 700s as shown in the…

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Kai Izumo Matsue

An exclusive Japanese hot springs accomodation in Tamatsukuri onsen near Matsue, each of the stylish resort’s guestrooms’ open-air baths are fed by the area’s famed thermal waters. Delicious meals use the freshest local ingredients and a stay here is sure to please!

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Kurashiki

Just west of Okayama, Kurashiki’s quaintly cobbled streets are lined with distinctive black and white tiled warehouses – built to store grain surpluses. Warehouses in the old canal district now house art and craft galleries, museums, and restaurants, and the willow-lined canals make Kurashiki a delightful place to visit. Kurashiki’s most famous gallery is the…

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Matsue

Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture, and is located on the eastern shores of Lake Shinji . Due to its location between two lakes, Shinji & Nakaumi, as well as the Sea of Japan, Matsue is also known as the “water city”. Matsue’s attractions include its original castle and the former residence of…

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Matsue Castle

Completed in 1611, a few years after the final battle of feudal Japan, Matsue Castle is one the dozen original castles left in Japan, meaning that its main tower has survived to this day through fires, earthquakes and the anti-feudal demolitions of the Meiji Period. Sometimes called the “black castle” after its dark, austere exterior,…

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Matsue Tokyu Inn Hotel

Matsue Tokyu Inn Hotel is located centrally – proud to be a landmark in front of JR Matsue Station and very close to its historical castle. The hotel provides comfortable guestrooms fitted with modern amenities, flat screen satellite TV and all its guestrooms have a wireless LAN connection.

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Miyajima

A short ride from Hiroshima across the Seto Inland Sea from Hiroshima, Miyajima quite literally means “Shrine Island” for its principal Itsukushima Shrine, the whole island has long been considered sacred by association. Miyajima is best recognised for its iconic red torii gate – an element of what is said to be one of the…

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Miyajima Fireworks Display

Around 5000 fireworks are launched from boats in a spectacular display just off the north shore of Miyajima Island every year in mid August. Best viewed from around Itsukushima Shrine, combined with the shrine’s giant torii gate, this is one of Japan’s most iconic firework displays and very popular with photographers. The fireworks can also…

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Naoshima

Japan’s Seto Inland Sea is dotted with ruggedly beautiful islands that rise sharply from the rough waters. Left behind by Japan’s urbanizing economy, these islands are redefining themselves as centres of art and architecture. Foremost among these is Naoshima, which is now well known in Japan and abroad for its modern museums, architecture, and sculpture….

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Ohara Museum of Art

Opened in 1930, the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki was the first collection of Western art to be permanently exhibited in Japan. The museum originally consisted mostly of French paintings and sculptures of the 19th and 20th centuries but has since expanded to include paintings of the Italian Renaissance and of the Dutch and…

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Okayama

Okayama’s main attraction is Korakuen, one of Japan’s three most famous landscape gardens. This superb strolling garden, set against the backdrop of Okayama Castle, remains much as it did on completion over three hundred years ago. Okayama is a busy transport hub, and Korakuen makes a wonderful break for visitors changing bullet trains here. Nearby,…

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Okayama ANA Crowne Plaza

The ANA Hotel Okayama stands proudly as a stylish and sophisticated addition to the city’s skyline. Conveniently located at the hub of the Chugoku and Shikoku regions, it is both easily accessible and a popular stop for visitors to the Okayama Convention Centre. The modern interior is the handiwork of a team of world-famous, first-class…

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Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel

The Sheraton Hiroshima opened its doors during the Spring 2011 and quickly became established as the best place to stay in Hiroshima. This very modern hotel offers comfortable rooms and excellent facilities with a swimming pool and spa. It is conveniently located next to Hiroshima Station which makes for a smooth tour. From here it…

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Shimane

Shimane is a prefecture in western Japan, found along the Sea of Japan coast in the Chugoku Region. The prefectural capital is Matsue. Highlights for visitors include Matsue and its castle; Izumo Taisha, Japan’s oldest shrine; Iwami Ginzan, a historic silver mine; and the Adachi Art Museum with its wonderful garden.

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Shizutani School

Built in 1670, Shizutani School is Japan’s oldest school for educating common people. It was built under the orders of Ikeda Mitsumasa, the head of the former Okayama feudal domain, who believed that samurai children and common children should obtain the same education. The most unique feature of Shizutani School is that the roof is…

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Shukkei-en Gardens

Shukkei-en’s name roughly translates into English as “shrunken-scenery garden”, which succinctly describes the garden itself; natural features such as mountains, forests and valleys are shown in miniature in the garden’s landscapes. Through careful cultivation, the garden mimics a variety of natural scenic views. The garden’s history dates back to 1620, soon after the completion of…

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Watanabe Ryokan

You will find this small family-run ryokan at the end of a narrow alley lined with old wooden buildings, minutes away from the World Heritage site of Itsukushima shrine. All rooms have traditional Japanese baths made of fragrant cypress wood, but what really makes Watanabe Inn stand out is the delicious Japanese kaiseki cuisine served…

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