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Shinjuku Travel Guide: places to eat, shop, sleep, and have fun!

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Few and far between are the travelers who come to Japan and skip Tokyo, and there’s a reason for that! Tokyo is full of things to do, and one of the most popular neighborhoods is Shinjuku. A hot spot among locals and travelers alike, this hopping part of Tokyo is packed full of restaurants, shops, hotels, and plenty to intrigue even the most jaded traveler. Not sure where to start? What Shinjuku hotels to stay at, or where to eat around Shinjuku Station? Let us fill you in on the need-to-know info on the Shinjuku area.

(Delicious fresh crab and a fresh new wardrobe, relaxing hotels and unrestrained entertainment, it’s all waiting for you in Shinjuku!)

① Where to Eat in Shinjuku



The Shinjuku Kani Doraku can be found on the 7th and 8th floors! The restaurant's signature giant moving crab sign is there as always, waving its claws even from high in the sky.

A Rare Variety of Shabu-Shabu: Kani Doraku (かに道楽)

Away from the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku, the calm atmosphere and Japanese-style interiors found in this upper-floor restaurant are a refreshing change. Sit down, relax, and try some fresh seafood, prepared in a variety of Japanese styles. The crab-meat hot pot and the sushi are some of the most widely recommended items on the menu. Kani Doraku's popularity has helped it spread to locations across the country, but the fantastic interior design of the main Shinjuku location makes it a great place to check out the hype.



The concept for this location is that of a traditional Japanese street. They certainly did an impressive job approximating that kind of setting. The restaurant seats 390, and the tables are "horigotatsu" (掘りごたつ), which means that even though it looks like you're sitting on the floor, an open space under the low tables makes it feel like you're comfortably sitting on a normal bench.



Our recommendation for the day is the kani shabu (かにしゃぶ), or crab hotpot. Kani Doraku has multiple options for crab hotpot, including shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, but the shabu-shabu crab is all shelled, giving you the chance to really luxuriate in the taste and texture of crab meat.



They work to use the most fresh and seasonal ingredients, including the crab, which means that during the summer you might find yourself eating Hokkaido crab, whereas in winter they'll often serve crab caught in the Sea of Japan. It all depends on the time of year, and what part of Japan you're in!



One of the reasons we recommend their shabu-shabu is their extra-flavorful broth, which they take particular pride in. They make totally fresh broth twice a day, and once you cook your own vegetables and crab in the liquid, it's really bursting with flavor. It's so tasty, even once you're done with all the add-ins, you'll want to drink the broth to the last drop.



If you want a bit of contrasting flavor, the hotpot comes with two dipping sauces (つけだれ, tsukedare), which are ponzu (a citrus-based sauce) and sesame. Try the dipping sauces with some of the various vegetables that come with the dish, or the tofu and rice cakes.



Of course, Kani Doraku has more than just hotpot. Their sushi is perfect for the crab lovers among us, with different pieces being made with a variety of different crab parts. Savor all the flavors crab has to offer.

Shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, sushi, and side-dishes galore, every meal at Kani Doraku is something of a flavor explosion. It's a great place to try a multi-course meal, where you'll be served crab prepared in any number of different ways. One tip: you are welcome to just show up, but if you make reservations you'll be able to get to all that good crab as soon as you arrive.

Kani Doraku (かに道楽), Shinjuku Location
Address: Theatre Shinjuku 7th/8th Floor, 3-14-20 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Hours: 11:30 – 23:00
Access: 3 min. from Shinjuku-sanchome Station, exit B3
Phone: +81 3-3352-0096 
Reservation Page (en)

② Where to Shop in Shinjuku

A Unique Souvenir for Yourself or Your Friends: Dress Shirts at Brick House, by Tokyo Shirts

A nice shirt might not seem like an obvious souvenir from Japan, but that’s what makes it a fun choice. Think about it, most of the workforce of Tokyo still wear suits and dress shirts to work every day, so it’s just the place to class up your wardrobe. Thanks to the formal office dress codes, companies like Tokyo Shirts have tackled all kinds of common issues, and nice shirts have basically evolved to a higher level in Japan. They’ve come up with some pretty ingenious methods to keep the garments comfortable to wear in all kinds of weather, and then created them in simple and uniquely Japanese designs, some of which you’re unlikely to see in the West. Really, when you think about what your mom or dad (or aunt, uncle, best friend) might want you to bring back for them from Japan, is it a sack of green tea kit-kats, or a classy shirt they can wear around town and brag to their friends about? We think the shirts at Brick House in Shinjuku are a pretty good choice, since they’re a Japanese brand with the same high quality you’d find at a department store, but at a reasonable price of about 4,900 yen each for premium cotton varieties. With 300 different designs in the store at any time, you’re bound to find a few you want to take home.



With all the different designs, you can get lost in all the particulars. Some points to focus on when choosing the perfect shirt are the collar and the button positioning, along with the important factors of material, pattern, and fit/sleeve length. In Japan you’ll often find the inner portion of collars faced with a different color, which was originally just to prevent staining, but is now an intentional style choice. Go for that cool Japanese CEO look. They also have a few options for button placement, with some shirts that have two buttons at the neck (so that you can open one for a more comfortable but still very formal look!), and also buttons carefully placed to push your tie up properly.



Perhaps the most luxurious shirt you'll find in the store is easily discovered thanks to its gold Brick House tag. Not only are these 100% premium Pima cotton, but the shirts are crafted to be wrinkle-free, all for 4,900 yen. Just hang them after washing, and the next day you'll be chic and ready to go. Maybe not a bad idea while you're traveling?



One other benefit of Brick House is the sizing. With sizes up to 4L, different shirt cuts, and varying sleeve lengths, you'll be sure to find shirts that fit.



Some of the store's seasonal items are also some of their most uniquely impressive products. From super-light and soft gauze shirts, to shirts made out of the same high-tech material as soccer jerseys, the fabric options are pretty great for summer. If you want to look good but dread the prospect of undershirts (or the look of them), they even have shirts with a built-in undershirt layer. Pretty nifty.



Of course they also sell ties alongside the shirts, some of which are made of Japanese silk. (Perhaps a good souvenir option when you don't know your friend or family member's shirt size.) These also come in hundreds of different designs, from simple and classy stripes to cartoon characters, and designs that have a clear sense of Japanese style.



Whether you're looking for a wardrobe update, or an unusual souvenir for a loved one, Brick House is home to some high-quality merchandise. If you stop into the shop and like what you see, there's even an online store that's set up to ship internationally, where you can also find women's wear as well.

Brick House by Tokyo Shirts, Shinjuku Sanchome Location
Address: 3-14-23 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
Access: 3 min. from Shinjuku-sanchome Station, exit B3
Official Website

③ Where to Be Entertained in Shinjuku

Shinjuku’s Most Famous and Most Flashy Entertainment: The Shinjuku Robot Restaurant

Looking for some colorful, vibrant fun? Well Shinjuku’s fairly renowned Robot Restaurant has you covered. Heard of the place, but not quite sure what to expect? It might be called a restaurant, but it’s really more of a wild show. Let us give you a taste of the experience.



From the start, you can tell this is going to be impressive. Visitors from around the world stream through the entrance.



It's a little hard to know where to look during the performance, with so much to constantly catch your eye.



Cheer on your favorite during robot fights. The more you get into the experience, the more fun the craziness will all be.



The switches between 2D and 3D visuals are popular with the younger crowd.



Of course there aren't just robots on stage, and the human performers are a huge part of the fun. With so much enthusiasm, they make it all seem like a carnival.



Stepping into the restaurant feels a little like stepping into a different universe. Even the waiting room, where you can sip drinks and wait for the show to start, is a spectacle in and of itself.

If this all sounds good to you, don’t miss out while you're in Shinjuku!
▶︎ And definitely don’t forget to bring this discount coupon for 2,000 yen off!

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku
Address: 1-7-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Fee: 8,000 yen (6,000 yen with the use of the above coupon!)
See the official website for the show schedule. Standard runtime is 90 minutes.
Official Website

④ Where to Stay in Shinjuku

Experience the Luxury of a Brand New Hotel: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nishi-Shinjuku

If you want to see what it's like to stay in one of the most popular parts of Tokyo, we'd recommend the Daiwa Roynet Hotel, which only opened in early 2019. Between the prime location and brand new facilities, it's a pretty nice place to stay.



Being built so recently, everything is quite new and modern, with chic interiors. There are some pretty cool conveniences, like the menu on each room's television, where you can check the status of facilities around the hotel (including how your laundry is doing in the laundry room!)



Lots of rooms come with state-of-the-art massage chairs, perfect for erasing the fatigue of your long, fun day traipsing through Shinjuku.



There's a women-only floor, as well, where rooms come equipped with some special luxuries like foot massagers and face misters. 



The area around the hotel is quiet, but it's just a short walk away from all the craziness of Shinjuku, so there’s plenty to see nearby. Go on a walk to see the nearby LOVE sculpture and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (which has a fantastic observation deck), then finish off the day at Omoide Yokocho, which is filled with little places to eat and drink the night away. It’s a pretty convenient location, you can read more about the amenities and nearby attractions here

Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nishi-Shinjuku
Address: 6-12-39 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Check-in/Check-out: 14:00/11:00
Reservations

After reading up on Shinjuku, do you feel a little more prepared to get going? There's lots to do in the area, including plenty more places to eat and drink and take in the sights. As such a busy part of a busy city, you might never run out of things to do in Shinjuku, but we hope this article gave you a few good ideas to start with!

 

Be sure to look out for more exciting articles every day at JAPANKURU!
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⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon!
🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중
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⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon! 🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중 💃18歲以上才能入場的歌舞秀,和你想的不一樣!拿好優惠券去看看~ #tokyo #shinjuku #samurairestaurant #robotrestaurant #tokyotrip #도쿄여행 #신주쿠 #사무라이레스토랑 #이색체험 #할인이벤트 #歌舞伎町 #東京景點 #武士餐廳 #日本表演 #日本文化體驗 #japankuru #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta

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Japanese appliance & electronics shopping with our KOJIMA x BicCamera coupon! 用JAPANKURU的KOJIMA x BicCamera優惠券買這些正好❤️ 코지마 x 빅 카메라 쿠폰으로 일본 가전 제품 쇼핑하기 #pr #japankuru #japanshopping #kojima #biccamera #japaneseskincare #yaman #dji #osmopocket3 #skincaredevice #日本購物 #美容儀 #相機 #雅萌 #日本家電 #일본여행 #면세 #여행꿀팁 #일본쇼핑리스트 #쿠폰 #일본쇼핑 #일본브랜드 #할인 #코지마 #빅카메라 #japankurucoupon

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Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment!
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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!
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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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    • 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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