A Culinary Guide to Central Tokyo – Some of the Best Eateries in Japan’s Capital

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Tokyo is a foodie’s dream, with delicious renditions of just about any dish you could imagine found somewhere in the city’s 23 districts. That’s why we’re concentrating on five of our favorite gourmet spots today, all delicious food in restaurants along the train lines that run through central Tokyo. Hop on the Hibiya Line for hearty grilled chicken in Akihabara, stick around a couple stops on the Yamanote Line for some sumptuous sushi or high-end chocolate at Tokyo Station, or tackle a couple more stations on the Ginza Line for breakfast and dinner. If you’re looking for a foodie tour of central Tokyo, we’ve got you covered.

First Stop: Ginza

Ginza is known for ritzy shopping and luxury facilities, but when it comes to food, the area actually has a pretty wide range of prices to go with the excellent variety offered. It's a spot that welcomes both international eats, and creative cuisine. Plus, thanks to Ginza Station itself and a handful of nearby stops, it's accessible via a variety of JR and subway lines.

Eggs ‘n Things: Your Classic Diner Breakfast, Done Hawaiian Style, in Tokyo!

If you've ever had a classic American breakfast at a diner or a pancake house, the food at this Hawaiian restaurant will bring back fond memories, while adding a little something new and exciting to each meal. 

Let's start big, with the crown jewel of the Eggs 'n Things menu: their pancakes. These Hawaiian buttermilk pancakes can be ordered as a simple tray of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, or you could go for their French toast or waffles instead, but it's almost impossible to resist the pancake plates that come with a selection of toppings. Topped with generous clouds of airy whipped cream, and crushed macadamia nuts that add a satisfying crunch, you'll want to hoard the whole delectable dish for yourself. (Above are the Strawberry, Whipped Cream and Macadamia Nuts Pancakes.)

For cravings only satisfied by something a little more savory, the restaurant has a number of offerings on that front as well. The eggs benedict is a tantalizingly creamy breakfast concoction, with options for a few different toppings (we recommend smoked salmon and avocado) on top of a tasty English muffin. The surf and turf goes a different direction, but the unique garlic shrimp "surf" portion and the 200g sirloin steak "turf" is enough to leave even ravenous diners full and happy. For an even more Hawaiian flavor profile, they've got quite a few local Hawaiian favorites to choose from, too! And nothing goes better with a Hawaiian meal than a Hawaiian drink – they've got island cocktails and Hawaiian Kona Brewing Co. beer on offer.

Grab a seat on the terrace when the weather's nice!

Of course, if you're there for brunch, the meal isn't complete without a good cup of coffee. The joe served up at Eggs 'n Things is 100% Kona coffee, which means it was grown on the volcanic slopes of Hawaii's Big Island. Enjoy the rich flavor, and if you find that you rather like the mug you're sipping from as well, you can purchase one from their little merchandise shelf to take home with you. They sell a few different cups and plates emblazoned with their classic logo.

Eggs 'n Things
Kirarito Ginza 4F, 1-8-19 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
Hours: 9:00 – 23:00
Official Website (jp)

Fugu-dashi Ushio Hachidaime Keisuke (ふぐだし潮八代目けいすけ): The World’s First Fugu Ramen

Fugu, AKA pufferfish or blowfish, is known in the West as a potentially dangerous delicacy. The fish do, after all, have organs that contain some pretty dangerous toxins! But ask anyone in Japan and they'll brush the danger off immediately: any fugu served in a proper restaurant is carefully prepared by licensed professionals, meaning it's extremely safe. And the delicate flesh of the fish is truly delicious, which is why the chefs at Keisuke worked to create a whole menu of fugu cuisine, highlighting the different flavors and textures possible.

Of course the star of the show at this ramen shop is the fugu ramen! They've got an English menu that shows you all the different options: salt-based broth (shio ramen), soy-sauce-based broth (shoyu ramen), and plenty of toppings. But their recommendation is menu item #8, fugu shio ramen with flavored boiled eggs. The fugu in the ramen laces it with subtle seafood flavor, thanks to three of the most popular kinds of blowfish. Alongside the standard bamboo shoots and some green onions, the noodles are topped with free-range "bini-tama" eggs that have naturally dark yolks, rich with vitamin E. For extra seasoning, they even recommend a dash of truffle oil!

If you're still feeling hungry after finishing the noodles, you can ask the staff to turn the remaining ramen broth into some unique ochazuke (a dish traditionally made by pouring a tea-based broth over rice). They'll add a piping hot stone to your remaining broth, bringing it back to an instant boil, and then you can pour the soup over rice and satisfy that appetite with some additional toppings.

For a more hefty bite of fugu, they also offer dishes of unique fried blowfish!

Ginza Fugu-dashi Ushio Hachidaime Keisuke (ふぐだし潮八代目けいすけ)​
Tokyu Plaza Ginza B2F, 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Official Website (jp)

Next Stop: Akihabara

Akihabara is a mess of tall buildings and narrow alleys, famous among techies and geeks of all kinds, but not always thought of as a gourmet destination. However, if you wander into the depths of Akiba Tolim, a shopping center tucked into Akihabara Station (and steps from both the JR lines and the Tsukuba Express), you'll find a surprising treasure trove of restaurants.

Torimitsukuni (鳥光國): Yakitori & Sake

Yakitori, grilled chicken, is classic bar food in Japan, where office workers frequently chow down on the skewers while having a beer or two with coworkers after work. Torimitsukuni takes the simple cuisine, however, and raises it to a new level.

Peak into Torimitsukuni's kitchen as you walk into the restaurant, and you'll see the chefs grilling each skewer of chicken to perfection. This isn't just a matter of chicken breast on a stick, though – the restaurant offers quite a selection of different chicken parts, and different preparations. If you're looking to get a bit adventurous and sample chicken hearts, or grilled chicken cartilage, they've got it! For diners ready for anything, they've got a plate of assorted yakitori that they choose for you. Of course, for those who just want normal breast or thigh meat, they've got that too. (Although you can always try getting your chicken topped with wasabi, or pickled plum!) The best part is that all of this is explained clearly on their English menus, so you'll have no trouble picking out what appeals to you.

Torimitsukuni has plenty of other options, too. Aside from the simpler lunch meals offered, there are also side dishes (avocado-lovers will enjoy the nori avocado), and grilled skewers with lots of non-chicken ingredients. Pork belly wrapped cabbage skewers, perfectly grilled shiitake mushroom skewers, we've even tried their smoked cheese skewers, dipped in honey for a delicious sweet touch. Of course it's no surprise that the perfectly salty-sweet and addictively crunchy fried sweet potato sticks are always a hit.

After the spectacular chicken, the shop's biggest bragging point might just be their sake. The sake varieties available at Torimitsukuni are special brews, offered in collaboration with Tamano Hikari Sake, a Kyoto brewery that's almost 350 years old. You won't find this sake elsewhere in Tokyo! But if you do want to do your own little sake tasting, Torimitsukuni is a fun place to try, since they offer a few different types of sake from the same brewery. Their English menu has a handy chart and some simple explanations, so you can order a sake to match your palate. A great way to end an evening in Tokyo!

Akiba Tolim 5F, 1-6-5 Kanda Sakumacho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 – 14:00/17:00 – 23:30
Sunday/Holiday Hours: 11:00 – 14:30/17:00 – 23:00
Official Website (jp)

Tsukiji Sushiko (築地すし好): Sushi Platters & Super-Fresh Tuna

Tsukiji Sushiko proudly serves up fresh, high-quality sushi every day of the week, right in the middle of Akihabara. Their "Edo-style" sushi is not only the version of the dish that many international sushi-lovers have come to know and appreciate, it's also the sushi that's been served for generations in the heart of Tokyo.

The sushi at Sushiko is carefully made piece by piece by the skilled chefs who stand at the counter, ready to give varied recommendations for diners of all kinds. Foreign diners tend to order lots of salmon and tuna, and while the shop's Kodawari Tennen Maguro Set is a pretty ideal way to sample different cuts (have you ever done a taste test between different levels of fatty tuna? it's worth trying), the Sushiko chefs said it was too bad that people were missing the chance to branch out a little. They explained that the set plates were always going to be the best deal price-wise, but that diners should consider ordering a little extra à la carte, to try something new! Apparently the subtle differences between various white-fleshed fish, and the unique flavor profiles of "hikarimono" (光物, fish with silver skin) are more popular with the older Japanese crowd, so why not give them a taste?

Sushiko actually has a pretty robust menu of side dishes and non-sushi options as well, on top of simpler lunch sets, which makes it a pretty nice place for a drink with friends. If you're going to order yourself a multi-course meal, the chefs recommend going sashimi➤fried foods➤sushi to maximize the flavor of each, but if you're just nibbling while you sip some sake, they say you can nibble freely in any order!

Diners with food allergies will appreciate Sushiko's menu complete with in-depth information regarding frequent allergens, and details in English. If you've got issues with gluten, you'll be relieved to see that even fish marinated in soy sauce is marked on the menu! Order with confidence, and expand your sushi horizons!

Tsukiji Sushiko (築地すし好)
Akiba Tolim 5F, 1-6-5 Kanda Sakumacho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 – 14:00/17:00 – 22:30 (Sun. ~22:00)
Official Website (en)

Last Stop: Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station is a hub for travelers, being the central stop for trains of all kinds in the city. But the surrounding neighborhood is also packed with offices and company headquarters, meaning the area is always swarmed with both diners looking for a cheap bite, and those eyeing a little more luxury. That's why there are plenty of places to get in and out quickly within the lunch hour, and also spots perfect for relaxing and taking a break from busy Tokyo life!

Mary’s Café: Custom Chocolate & Other Sweet Treats

Mary's Cafe is owned by Mary's Chocolate, a Tokyo-based chocolate company that has been making chocolate in the city for more than half a century. Mary's is famous for playing a big part in bringing the chocolate-giving traditions of Valentine's Day to Japan in the '50s, now a unique part of Japanese culture. These days, though, they're bringing high-quality chocolate to the masses via this cafe just steps from Tokyo Station. The comfortable chocolaterie offers standard cafe items, but also hearkens back to its origins by creating custom chocolate bars for customers, in-store, right in front of your eyes.

After the batches of molten chocolate are tempered, the choices are up to you! It's a fun, unique experience in a country not particularly known chocolate. Whether you go for white chocolate, semisweet, or dark, however, no chocolate-lover will be disappointed with these high-end bars. You can also choose from a host of different ingredients to mix into the bar, with plenty of fruit and nut options.

When you're looking for a cafe experience and not a chance at a custom chocolate bar, though, they've got you covered. Their drinks, from simple coffee to luscious chocolate concoctions and matcha lattes, are rich in flavor without being overly sweet. And the selection of cakes and sweets is heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth, with satisfyingly bitter-sweet chocolate cakes and light white-chocolate custards. If you're visiting with peckish friends, the sandwiches aren't a bad choice, either. They might specialize in chocolate, and do a good job at it too, but Mary's Cafe is no one-hit-wonder.

Mary's Café
KITTE Marunouchi 1F, 2-7-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Official Website (jp)

Ready to Eat?

While lots of travelers gravitate towards the western Tokyo neighborhoods of Shibuya and Shinjuku, delicious food can be found all over the city, and the path so many major train lines take through the central Tokyo is not to be missed! So get out there and get something to eat! Then let us know about your experience, show us some pictures and tell us how it was, on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


NAME:Tokyo Food Tour



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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).


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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)!


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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.


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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.


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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.