Hagi

Hagi (萩) is a castle town, little visited by foreign tourists. The town is full of history, particulary from the Meiji Restoration period. The town is also known for its traditional pottery, called Hagi-yaki. Budget travel tips It’s quite a journey to get here, so seriously consider taking a night bus or use a Limited Express trainContinue reading “Hagi”

Tsuwano

Tsuwano (津和野), often called “little Kyoto”, is a small castle town in Chugoku. Budget travel tips Like nearby Hagi, a great place to explore on foot or bicycle (800 yen per day) in a day. Things to do Site of Tsuwano Castle The towns castle was a huge mountain top one, and the remains areContinue reading “Tsuwano”

Bitchu-Takahashi

For some reason completely unknown to most tourists, including Japanese tourists, Bitchu-Takahashi (備中高梁) presented one of the most surprising castles we have ever visited. After visiting nearby cities and towns such as Okayama and Kurashiki, Bitchu-Takahashi  was a breath of fresh air. It’s an average town, but with a scattering of fascinating and traditional relicsContinue reading “Bitchu-Takahashi”

Kurashiki

Kurashiki (倉敷) is a historic town near Okayama known for its merchant past and old-fashioned canal, which dates back to the Edo period. The area has some interesting museum, cafes and restaurants to experience, most of which are housed in tastefully converted merchant buildings. A lovely place to spend a relaxing day, just strolling around andContinue reading “Kurashiki”

Izumo-taisha

Izumo Taisha (出雲大社) is a grand shrine, considered one of Japans top 3. Located in northern Chugoku, it is an essential stop if you are in the region. It is therefore a hugely popular shrine, but never feels overly crowded. The folklore behind the shrine says that the gods from all over Japan gather atContinue reading “Izumo-taisha”

Matsue

Matsue (松江) is a pleasant castle city, known as the ‘city of water’ due to its spiralling canals and setting on a lake. Best known for its original castle due to the previous status as a feudal stronghold, Matsue also has some fascinating local history and is a lovely city for a quiet stroll. Budget travel tipsContinue reading “Matsue”

Mount Daisen

Mount Daisen (大山) is a volcanic mountain in the Chugoku region with amazing views over the northern mountains from 1,729 metres above sea level. This makes it the highest in the region, so it has a lot of significance to Japanese people. The mountain is therefore dotted with stunning shrines and temples, and has becomeContinue reading “Mount Daisen”

Miyajima

Miyajima is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site near Osaka and Hiroshima.  It’s often near the top of the list for most travelers, and offers and easy to access and peaceful rest from the big city. Budget travel tips Download the free tourist map here, or pick one up at the Tourist Information Center (see map). Everywhere is within walkingContinue reading “Miyajima”