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Experiencing Okinawan Culture | All You Need to Know Before You Go!

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Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park (体験王国 むら咲むら)

Going to Okinawa? Want to experience the traditional culture of Okinawa while you're there?
Then you should check out Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park (体験王国 むら咲むら)!





Murasaki Mura is basically a cultural theme park where you can experience many different parts that make Okinawa so special and different from the main island of Japan. It's a reproduction of its capital Naha City during the 14th and 15th centuries when Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Before entering the experience part of the kingdom, check out the village of Okinawa's ancient buildings. A large part of this facility in Murasaki Mura has been shot in scenes for many Japanese TV shows (dramas) which is proof of its authenticity. There are a total of 32 workshops and 101 kinds of experience activities, so you can definitely find the perfect cultural aspect of Okinawa that you want to experience here!
Take a look at what sort of things JAPANKURU got to experience at Murasaki Mura!

🎪Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park ( むらむら)
🏢1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa 
Google Maps
⏰9am~6pm (no holidays)
💴Infants free, elementary school  400yen, middle and high school  500yen, adults (college↑)  600yen

What Can You Do at Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park?

🥛 Blown Glass (吹きガラス) ⌛



One of Okinawa's famous traditional souvenirs is "Ryukyu Glass", which goes all the way back to Japan's Meiji era (1868 to 1912). The glass was used to make bottles for primary medicine as well as lamp chimneys, but after WWII much of the island was destroyed (literally and spiritually). So as a way to bring back moral, many craftsmen scrambled around the island to make use of available materials discarded by the Americans mostly on military bases. It was from this "trash" that they melted the glass down and shaped it into glasses, vases, and dishes. It was from there Ryukyu glass made its mark into a traditional Okinawan art and became a popular souvenir of the island.

Knowing how important Ryukyu glass is to Okinawa, when we saw there was an area to create your own Ryukyu glass tableware it was immediately added to our to-do list.

Since glass crafts deal with high-temperature tools, you have to be careful but since the staff are all highly trained professionals there is nothing to worry about. Just be careful. The cups you make are available for pick-up the next day, but if that doesn't work with your schedule don't worry! Worldwide shipping is available here for a separate fee, so you are sure to get your work of art✨ 

🎐Blown Glass (吹きガラス体験)
●Location: Glass Studio Umikaze (ガラス工房 海風)
💴 From 2,400 yen
*Prices vary depending on the form and color
⏰Time needed: 5~10mins/person
*You can choose the shape, color, etc of the glass
💻Murasaki Mura page (JPN)



Create your very own original, one of a kind designs and print it on an all-white T-shirt. If you don't want to make a T-shirt, you can also design your own tote bag!👜 There are tons of screens with traditional Okinawan print which makes it a fun Okinawan souvenir. There are two options to choose from: 
 



Screen Printing (スクリーン印刷体験): Select an existing design and print it on a white T-shirt
💴From 1,458 yen
Time needed: 1hr (1 to 15 people)

Original T-shirt Printing (オリジナル版Tシャツ制作体験 ): Make an original copy and print it on a white T-shirt.
In addition to logo marks and names, illustrations, team names, and more are available
💴From 3,132 yen
⏰Time needed: 1hr 1/2 (1 to 15 people)

●Location: Angel Hall Screen T-shirt Studio (天使館内 スクリーンTシャツ工房)
*Max group of 50 allowed (If you're in a big group, making a reservation in advance is best) 
💻Murasaki Mura page (JPN)

📸 Wood Studio, Asahi(木の工房 あさひ)🖼



In addition to using Okinawan patterns to make a shirt, another option is decorating frames and clocks with local Okinawan seashells! Just pick the shells you want and arrange them on the frame.  🐚🖼🐚



Once you're happy with the design, hot glue them to the wood. And you have your one of a kind Okinawa seashell picture frame💖🖼
 



🐚Wood Studio Asahi (木の工房 あさひ) 
💴1,500 yen to 2,000 yen
⏰Time needed: 30min/person
※There are also lamps, thermometers, cell phone stand, and piggy banks 



💃Traditional Okinawan Dance, Eisa Lessons (エイサー体験) 🥁

Eisa is a form of folk dance originating from the Okinawa Islands, Japan. It originally was done to honor the spirits of their ancestors. If you're in Okinawa during O-bon (a Japanese holiday normally in the middle of August), you can hear sounds of taiko (Japanese drums) being played every night. When you go to Murasaki Mura you can also learn the Eisa dance! They'll give you a traditional garment to wear and a small taiko, then teach you step-by-step🎶 This was probably one of our favorites at Murasaki Mura. It's a super fun Okinawa experience even if you aren't coordinated. 

🥁Eisa Lessons (エイサー体験) 
●Location: Experience Stage Visitor Center Dance Room
(体験舞台 又は 体験ビジターセンター内 舞踊体験室)
*Group more than 4 people, children 5 and above can join
💴1,620 yen
⏰Time needed: 1hr
💻Murasaki Mura page (JPN)



🐽 Okinawa Soba (琉球武家屋敷 謝名亭) 🍜 

You can also enjoy local Okinawa food at Murasaki Mura. One thing you can't overlook is "Okinawa soba". Looking at it you may be confused since the noodles look more like udon noodles instead of soba. That's because it's made from completely different ingredients. Unlike "regular" soba which is made from buckwheat, Okinawan soba is made of wheat. Chewy like udon noodles, the broth is normally pork-based and comes with green onions, ginger, kamaboko (fish cake), and pork. It's a great place to try Okinawa's famous noodles and pork!

🍜Janatei (謝名亭)
⏰11am~6:30pm (last order 6pm)
💻Murasaki Mura page (JPN)







Okinawa Beer Brewery Tour

👐 Orion Happy Park (オリオンハッピーパーク) 🍻

For beer lovers all alike💖



Want to try Okinawan beer?! Love going to breweries?! Then you've got to go to the Orion brewery Orion Happy Park. At Orion Happy Park everyone, even children, can visit to learn about Orion beer. Along with seeing the brewing process first hand, you can see the gallery. A reproduction exhibit of a shop "Machiya-gua" (まちやぐぁ) during Japan's Showa era year 40 (1960's) when Orion beer was established. Orion beer is primarily only sold in Okinawa. You may get lucky and see it in other parts of Japan, so if you like trying local beer you've got to try one of Japan's easy to drink beers, Orion. 

🍺Orion Happy Park (オリオンハッピーパーク)
🏢2-2-1 Agarie, Nago-shi, Okinawa
Google Maps
🚙Car navigation code: 206 598 867*32
📅Closed December 31 through January 3
Brewery Tour is free!
⏰Tour (in Japanese only): First tour 9:20am, final tour 4:40pm
Time required: Roughly 1hr
Restaurant "Yanbaru no Mori": 10am~7pm (Last order at 7:30pm)
Shop: 10am~7pm
💻Orion Brewery Reservation (ENG)
Orion Happy Park Homepage (ENG)









🍲 Agu's Hideout (あぐーの隠れ家) 🐷

Agu's Hideout (あぐーの隠れ家)  is a pork restaurant specializing in Okinawan pork "Agu". Agu pork is quite a high quality of pork due to its scarcity. Something that sets Agu pork aside from other types of pork is primarily it's relatively low in cholesterol, despite its extreme marbling (which also makes it super juicy!). Agu's Hideout most popular way to eat the pork is Shabu-shabu, which is basically a Japanese hotpot where you dip thinly sliced meat and vegetables. This allows you to enjoy Agu pork's true and natural taste on top of experiencing one of Japan's many fun ways to eat. Shab-shabu is said to be really healthy, so there is no shame in eating a ton😋









🍴Agu's Hideout (あぐーの隠れ家)
🏢1-1 Fuchaku, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa
Google Maps
⏰5pm~10:30pm (Last order 10pm)
📖 English menus available
💻Official website (ENG)
 

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・The new Tokyo flagship for Volcom Japan is a center for all things skateboarding, street fashion, art, and culture, all in the heart of Shibuya!
・Volcom日本旗艦店東京澀谷登場 本格派滑板街頭潮流藝文新據點
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・The new Tokyo flagship for Volcom Japan is a center for all things skateboarding, street fashion, art, and culture, all in the heart of Shibuya! ・Volcom日本旗艦店東京澀谷登場 本格派滑板街頭潮流藝文新據點 #Volcom #japankuru #shibuya #日本購物 #日本潮流 #日本街頭時尚 #澀谷 #東京購物 #東京購物推薦 #東京潮店 #澀谷潮店 #滑板 #雪板 #衝浪 #볼컴 #시부야

Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~
일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~
#pr #calbee #jagapokkuru #japanesesnacks #japanesefood #japanesesouvenir #japantravel #japantrip #naritaairport #hokkaido #나리타국제공항 #일본여행선물 #흔하지않은기념품 #일본쇼핑리스트 #일본과자추천 #고구마과자 #일본간식추천 #일본면세점쇼핑 #개별포장 #일본감자칩 #도쿄나리타공항면세점 #현지인추천 #일본여행 #일본기념품리스트 #자가포쿠루 #자가피리카

Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~ 일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~ #pr #calbee #jagapokkuru #japanesesnacks #japanesefood #japanesesouvenir #japantravel #japantrip #naritaairport #hokkaido #나리타국제공항 #일본여행선물 #흔하지않은기념품 #일본쇼핑리스트 #일본과자추천 #고구마과자 #일본간식추천 #일본면세점쇼핑 #개별포장 #일본감자칩 #도쿄나리타공항면세점 #현지인추천 #일본여행 #일본기념품리스트 #자가포쿠루 #자가피리카

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#pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items! #pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄

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#smallworlds #smallworldstokyo #tokyotrip #tokyotravel #evangelion #eva #anime #miniature #miniatures #animefigure #japantrip #japantravel #에반게리온 #스몰월드 #에반겔리온 #スモールワールズ #오다이바 #아리아케

Evangelion, in miniature!? Tokyo's SMALL WORLDS Miniature Museum is actually a must-see for anime lovers, thanks to the tiny Evangelion Hangar and Tokyo-III... plus a whole universe of other scenes both real and fictional. #smallworlds #smallworldstokyo #tokyotrip #tokyotravel #evangelion #eva #anime #miniature #miniatures #animefigure #japantrip #japantravel #에반게리온 #스몰월드 #에반겔리온 #スモールワールズ #오다이바 #아리아케

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Find out more at Japankuru.com! (Link in bio.)
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#japankuru #sumidaaquarium #skytree #tokyoskytree #solamachi #sumida #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyotravel #aquarium #japanesesweets #themecafe #すみだ水族館 #Japan #日本 #일본 #Japon #ญี่ปุ่น #Japão #япония #japantravel #日本旅行 #日本旅遊 #japan_of_insta #japantrip #traveljapan #japan🇯🇵 #igerstokyo #explorejapan

Have you sat down for a snack at Sumida Aquarium yet? This aquarium next to Tokyo Skytree is known for its penguins and garden eels, but we can't get enough of their cute snacks! There are lots of good seats around the aquarium, too, so it almost feels like one big cafe. 🐧 • Find out more at Japankuru.com! (Link in bio.) • #japankuru #sumidaaquarium #skytree #tokyoskytree #solamachi #sumida #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyotravel #aquarium #japanesesweets #themecafe #すみだ水族館 #Japan #日本 #일본 #Japon #ญี่ปุ่น #Japão #япония #japantravel #日本旅行 #日本旅遊 #japan_of_insta #japantrip #traveljapan #japan🇯🇵 #igerstokyo #explorejapan

For anime fans, the Evangelion areas at Small Worlds Miniature Museum are a must see! The tiny miniature people in the Evangelion Hangar look like ants beneath the moving Unit-01, Unit-00, and Unit-02! And over in Tokyo-III, characters like Shinji, Rei, and Katsuragi live life on a miniature scale.
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For anime fans, the Evangelion areas at Small Worlds Miniature Museum are a must see! The tiny miniature people in the Evangelion Hangar look like ants beneath the moving Unit-01, Unit-00, and Unit-02! And over in Tokyo-III, characters like Shinji, Rei, and Katsuragi live life on a miniature scale. #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #ariake #smallworlds #miniaturemuseum #smallworldstokyo #tokyotravel #evangelion #eva #anime #miniature #miniatures #animefigure #japankuru #스몰월드 #에반게리온 #오다이바 #오다이바관광 #오다이바스몰월드 #미니어쳐

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    • HOKKAIDO

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      Hokkaido (北海道) is the northernmost of the four main islands that make up Japan. The area is famous for Sapporo Beer, plus brewing and distilling in general, along with fantastic snow festivals and breathtaking national parks. Foodies should look for Hokkaido's famous potatoes, cantaloupe, dairy products, soup curry, and miso ramen!

    • Niki, in south-west Hokkaido, is about 30 minutes from Otaru. The small town is rich with natural resources, fresh water, and clean air, making it a thriving center for fruit farms. Cherries, tomatoes, and grapes are all cultivated in the area, and thanks to a growing local wine industry, it's quickly becoming a food and wine hotspot. Together with the neighboring town of Yoichi, it's a noted area for wine tourism.

    • Niseko is about two hours from New Chitose Airport, in the western part of Hokkaido. It's one of Japan's most noted winter resort areas, and a frequent destination for international visitors. That's all because of the super high-quality powder snow, which wins the hearts of beginners and experts alike, bringing them back for repeat visits. That's not all, though, it's also a great place to enjoy Hokkaido's culinary scene and some beautiful onsen (hot springs).

    • Otaru is in western Hokkaido, about 30 minutes from Sapporo Station. The city thrived around its busy harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to active trade and fishing, and the buildings remaining from that period are still popular attractions, centered around Otaru Canal. With its history as a center of fishing, it's no surprise that the area's fresh sushi is a must-try. Otaru has over 100 sushi shops, quite a few of which are lined up on Sushiya Dori (Sushi Street).

    • SAPPORO

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      Sapporo, in the south-western part of Hokkaido, is the prefecture's political and economic capital. The local New Chitose Airport see arrivals from major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, alongside international flights. Every February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Odori Park―one of the biggest events in Hokkaido. It's also a hotspot for great food, known as a culinary treasure chest, and Sapporo is a destination for ramen, grilled mutton, soup curry, and of course Hokkaido's beloved seafood.

    • Consisting of six prefectures, the Tohoku Region (東北地方) is up in the northeastern part of Japan's main island. It's the source of plenty of the nation's agriculture (which means great food), and packed with beautiful scenery. Explore the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and hot springs!

    • Akita Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, in the northern reaches of Japan's northern Tohoku region. Akita has more officially registered important intangible culture assets than anywhere else in Japan, and to this day visitors can experience traditional culture throughout the prefecture, from the Oga Peninsula's Namahage (registered with UNESCO as a part of Japan's intangible cultural heritage), to the Tohoku top 3 Kanto Festival. Mysterious little spots like the Oyu Stone Circle Site and Ryu no Atama (Dragon's Head) are also worth a visit!

    • FUKUSHIMA

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      Fukushima Prefecture sits at the southern tip of Japan's northern Tohoku region, and is divided into three parts with their own different charms: the Coastal Area (Hama-dori), the Central Area (Naka-dori), and the Aizu Area. There's Aizu-Wakamatsu with its Edo-era history and medieval castles, Oze National Park, Kitakata ramen, and Bandai Ski Resort (with its famous powder snow). Fukushima is a beautiful place to enjoy the vivid colors and sightseeing of Japan's beloved four seasons.

    • YAMAGATA

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      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

    • Japan's most densely populated area, the Kanto Region (関東地方) includes 7 prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, which means it also contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. In modern-day Japan, Kanto is the cultural, political, and economic heartland of the country, and each prefecture offers something a little different from its neighbors.

    • Gunma Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo, and in addition to the area's popular natural attractions like Oze Marshland and Fukiware Falls, Gunma also has a number of popular hot springs (Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima)―it's even called an Onsen Kingdom. The prefecture is popular with history buffs and train lovers, thanks to spots like world heritage site Tomioka Silk Mill, the historic Megane-bashi Bridge, and the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway.

    • TOCHIGI

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      Tochigi Prefecture's capital is Utsunomiya, known for famous gyoza, and just an hour from Tokyo. The prefecture is full of nature-related sightseeing opportunities year-round, from the blooming of spring flowers to color fall foliage. Tochigi also has plenty of extremely well-known sightseeing destinations, like World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, and Ashikaga Flower Park―famous for expansive wisteria trellises. In recent years the mountain resort town of Nasu has also become a popular excursion, thanks in part to the local imperial villa. Tochigi is a beautiful place to enjoy the world around you.

    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

    • The Chubu Region (中部地方) is located right in the center of Japan's main island, and consists of 9 prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. It's primarily famous for its mountains, as the region contains both Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The ski resorts in Niigata and Nagano also draw visitors from around the world, making it a popular winter destination.

    • Nagano Prefecture's popularity starts with a wealth of historic treasures, like Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, but the highlight might just be the prefecture's natural vistas surrounded by the "Japanese Alps." Nagano's fruit is famous, and there are plenty of places to pick it fresh, and the area is full of hot springs, including Jigokudani Monkey Park―where monkeys take baths as well! Thanks to the construction of the Hokuriku shinkansen line, Nagano is easily reachable from the Tokyo area, adding it to plenty of travel itineraries. And after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, ski resorts like Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are known around the world.

    • Aichi Prefecture sits in the center of the Japanese islands, and its capital city, Nagoya, is a center of politics, commerce, and culture. While Aichi is home to major industry, and is even the birthplace of Toyota cars, it's proximity to the sea and the mountains means it's also a place with beautiful natural scenery, like Saku Island, Koijigahama Beach, Mt. Horaiji. Often used a stage for major battles in Japanese history, Sengoku era commanders like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu left their own footprints on Aichi, and historic buildings like Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle, and those in Meiji Mura are still around to tell the tale.

    • NIIGATA

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      Niigata is a prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, situated right on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and abundant with the gifts of nature. It's known for popular ski resorts such as Echigo-Yuzawa, Japanese national parks, and natural hot spring baths, plus local products like fresh seafood, rice, and sake. Visitors often spend time in the prefectural capital, Niigata City, or venture across the water to Sado Island.

    • SHIZUOKA

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      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

    • Kansai (関西) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga Prefectures. Kansai contained Japan's ancient capital for hundreds of years, and it's making a comeback as one of the most popular parts of Japan. Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and the deer of Nara are all considered must-sees. Plus, the people of Kansai are especially friendly, making it a fun place to hang out.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Nara Prefecture's important history reaches back to 710, a time now called the Nara era, when it was once capital of Japan. Called "Heijo-kyo" during its time as a capital, it's said that nara was once the end of the silk road, leading it to flourish as a uniquely international region and produce important cultural properties of all kinds. To make the most of each season, travelers head to Nara Park, where the Nara deer who wander freely, or climb Mount Yoshino, a famous cherry blossom spot.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.

    • CHUGOKU

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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.

    • HIROSHIMA

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      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.

    • SHIKOKU

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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!

    • FUKUOKA

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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.

    • KAGOSHIMA

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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.

    • OKINAWA

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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.

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