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See Setouchi’s Hiroshima and Ehime by Boat ・ Must-See Spots and Route Recommendations

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Hop on a ferry in the Setouchi area to make your way to some of the best sightseeing spots in Hiroshima and Ehime!

① Sightseeing by Ferry in the Hiroshima/Ehime Area

Hiroshima City Area



Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

The Peace Memorial Park is a spacious park in central Hiroshima, established around the detonation point of the bomb dropped on the city, with the hope of promoting peace throughout the work. The Peace Memorial Park contains the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, with exhibitions on the bomb and its many devastating aftereffects, along with the Peace Memorial (or Atomic Bomb Dome) and Victims Memorial Cenotaph, the National Peace Memorial Hall, and even Hiroshima's International Conference Center. The ringing of the Japanese Peace Bell here has even been selected as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, a sound that rings of the people's hope for peace.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (広島平和記念公園)
1-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima



Hiroshima Museum of Art

The Hiroshima Museum of Art was built under the theme of "love and tranquility," and the main building is shaped to resemble the Atomic Bomb Dome. The paths surrounding the main building's galleries are in turn shaped to resemble another Hiroshima World Heritage Site, Itsukushima Shrine. Alongside periodical temporary exhibitions, the museum's permanent exhibitions include a great collection of work from Western modern artists, like Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso.

Hiroshima Museum of Art (ひろしま美術館)
3-2 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Official Website (en)

Miyajima Area



The Shrine Gate of Itsukushima Shrine (Under Renovation/Before Repairs)

Itsukushima is an island in the Miyajima area of Hatsukaichi City, in Hiroshima Bay, part of the Seto Inland Sea, and not far from the big city of Hiroshima. The island itself is often simply referred to as Miyajima! Alongside Kyoto's Amanohashidate and Matsushima in Japan's Tohoku Region, the three spots make up Japan's Top Three Scenic Views, and these days Miyajima is an immensely popular sightseeing spot. People mainly flock to Itsukushima Shrine (嚴島神社), known for its enormous torii (鳥居) shrine gate (currently under renovation) which appears to almost be floating in the bay waters, and was first built thanks to the patronage of Taira no Kiyomori at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). Both the shrine and the native forest on the island were designated as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1996.

The island's famous deer and monkeys can often be seen from the moment you step off the ferry, and as symbols of Miyajima, they're frequently turned into local mascots as well. The deer in particular are regarded as sacred messengers of the gods!



Kakifukumaru Grilled Oysters

Not only is Miyajima a popular tourist spot, but it's pretty popular for foodies as well. Between the pier and the shrine, quite a few restaurants sell tasty street food like grilled oysters and momiji manju, a local sweet treat shaped like a maple leaf.

One popular option for trying the beloved local oysters is Kakifukumaru, a restaurant directly connected to local oyster aquaculture. It's a great place to try regional favorites like grilled or deep-fried oysters, and in winter you can sample oysters gathered that very day. And since they flash freeze a portion of the oysters fresh-caught in winter, they offer high-quality shellfish year-round.

Kakifukumaru (かきふくまる)
588 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima
Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 (hours vary by season)
Official Website (jp)

Matsuyama Area



Matsuyama Castle(Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

Ehime's city of Matsuyama is known especially for the sightseeing spots of Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen. The castle is a historic structure that was first constructed in 1603, certainly worth a visit, but many travelers flock to the hot springs at Dogo Onsen, which is one of the top three oldest onsen in Japan. This hot spring resort has been in use since ancient times, and has even been documented in historic documents, like the 8th-century poetry anthology the Man'yoshu. The main building, or Dogo Onsen Honkan, was built in 1894, and was subsequently featured in a more recent piece of important Japanese literature: Natsume Soseki's 1905 novel "Botchan." In the years since, the building has become an iconic part of Matsuyama City, and Ehime Prefecture at large.



Dogo Onsen Honkan

The lightly alkaline waters are said to be velvety soft and smooth on the skin, and to be both curative and beautifying! As quite possibly the oldest onsen in Japan, it even shows up in legends, with its discovery described in the Legend of the White Heron, a visit from the small gods of Izumo being described in the Tama no Ishi legend, and a later visit attributed to the semi-legendary Prince Shotoku. Less mythic visitors include a number of writers and artists, like Masaoka Shiki and the previously mentioned novelist Natsume Soseki. To remind visitors of the onsen's illustrious history, in 2017 an annex was built nearby in the style of the Asuka period (538-710), when Prince Shotoku would have arrived.

Dogo Onsen Honkan (道後温泉本館)
5-6 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime
Official Website (en)

Kure City Area



JMSDF Kure Museum (Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

Kure is said to be blessed with a great natural harbor, and was once a stronghold for a band of the area's historic Murakami Suigun pirates, but since the Meiji period (1868-1912), the area has become a base for the Imperial Navy and the JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces). In the pre-war days, battleships like the Yamato, the world's largest, were built at Kure Naval Arsenal, and Kure was known as the largest naval port in The East, and the largest arsenal in Japan. During the final days of fighting in the Pacific theater, though, Kure Naval Port was the site of an American air raid, taking major damages.

In the last ten years, Kure's many military and defense facilities have become sightseeing attractions, transformed into the Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum) and the "Iron Whale Museum" (JMSDF Kure Museum). In 2016, Kure was one of four historic military bases recognized as a Japanese heritage site as part of "The Four Dynamic Coastal Cities of Yokosuka, Kure, Sasebo, and Maizuru," and in the same year the animated movie "In This Corner of the World" helped the city even gain a little recognition overseas.

② Ferry Routes



The Sea Paseo Ferry(Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

When it comes to getting around Hiroshima and Ehime (Matsuyama), we recommend hopping on a boat to get the most out of the surrounding Seto Inland Sea. These are a few of the different routes that make traveling through the area fun!

Hiroshima ~ Kure ~ Matsuyama

Departing from Hiroshima Port's Tojina Passenger Terminal, this route stops in at Kure before arriving at Matsuyama Tourist Port. Buses for Dogo Onsen leave right from the Matsuyama port! The trip lasts between 68 and 160 minutes, using either a Superjet or a ferry.

Miyajima ~ Hiroshima

You can get most of the way between these two areas by train, but you'll need to get on a ferry in the end anyway, so why not take one from the start? It's also fun to take the train to Miyajima, but take the ferry on the way back, to enjoy a different kind of scenery each way! It's about 30 minutes on a ferry, and 1,900 yen one way for adults.

Miyajima ~ Kure (Blue Line)

You can even take a ferry between Miyajima and Kure! Try a trip to Kure after sightseeing in Miyajima. Travel time is about 45 minutes, and 2,000 yen for adults.

For more detailed information, and plenty of other routes, check the Setouchi-Matsuyama Tourism Promotion Committee website!

③ Recommended Accommodations & Relaxation

Hiroshima City: Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima



Prince Hotel After Sunset (Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

Surrounded by the Setouchi Inland Sea National Park, this hotel's location is surrounded by beautiful views, and also easily accessible. (Plus, they run a free shuttle bus from Hiroshima Station.) Ferries to Miyajima, Kure, and Matsuyama stop right in front of the hotel, making sightseeing a breeze.

Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima (グランドプリンスホテル広島)
23-1 Motoujinamachi, Minami Ward, Hiroshima
Official Website (en)

Miyajima: Villa Hamorebi



Villa Hamorebi Interior

Hamorebi is renovated traditional detached house, transformed into modern accommodations while maintaining the beautiful old wooden beams. The house is designed to accommodate just one party every night, in a comfortable space made for relaxation. Surrounded by quiet woods, with cherry blossoms in the spring and koyo in the fall, guests can enjoy the dappled light coming in through the leaves (which the guesthouse is named for) through the wide windows or on the wooden deck. The villa even has an outdoor bath, perfect for enjoying the natural scenery while soaking away in the hot water.



Multi-course meals of seasonal Setouchi ingredients are available too!

Villa Hamorebi (水羽荘別邸葉もれび)
49 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima
Official Website (en)

Matsuyama: Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu



Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu(Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

This bathhouse is not only built in the style of the Asuka period, but the interior is decorated with traditional Ehime artisan crafts and custom-made art. After soaking in the onsen, guests can head to the second-floor lounge for tea, snacks, and relaxation.



Asuka-no-Yu Baths(Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture)

Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu (道後温泉別館 飛鳥乃湯泉)
19-22 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime
Hours: 6:00 – 23:00
Official Website (en)

④ Dining & A Little Extra Sightseeing!

Exploring Onomichi



A View of Onomichi

A city of hills and cats, Onomichi is a port town, but has earned the nickname "A City of Hills" by being surrounded by hills and valleys. Cozy cafes and bakeries are found tucked in among the houses lined up along the city's strikingly steep hills, perfect for the curious traveler who loves to explore new places. One point of pride for Onomichi residents is the amazing view you're rewarded with when you climb your way up the steep slopes, with the waters and little islands of the Seto Inland Sea spreading out before you.



The View from Within Onomichi Wharf

It's not just cute cafes and bread, though, when you visit Onomichi, you've got to try Onomichi ramen―and maybe some more oysters. For a meal conveniently accessible from Onomichi Station, Onomichi Wharf offers a great view of the water from inside the restaurant, where you can eat fresh Japanese-caught raw oysters throughout the year, just part of a menu perfect for locavores.



Fresh Raw Oysters

Onomichi Wharf (尾道WHARF)
9-1 Higashigoshocho, Onomichi, Hiroshima
Hours: 11:30 – 15:00 (L.O. 14:30) | 17:30 – 22:00 (L.O. 21:00)
 11:30 – 22:00 (L.O. 21:00) Weekends & Holidays
Official Website (jp)

Aeon Mall Hiroshima Fuchu



Mall Exterior

Looking to do some serious shopping while in Hiroshima? Why not head to Aeon Mall? If you're a fan of Japanese malls, you've probably heard of Aeon Malls, and Aeon Mall Hiroshima is packed with 280 different shops selling clothes, books, and just about everything else. Plus, there's a shuttle bus that leaves from the JR Hiroshima Station Shinkansen Exit, in front of the Sheraton Hotel.



Roji Dining

Feeling hungry? The mall's first-floor Roji Dining is the biggest mall restaurant area in the region, with food of all kinds.



Roji Dining

Between all the shopping and eating, half a day will just fly by at Aeon Mall!



Roji Dining

Aeon Mall Hiroshima Fuchu (イオンモール広島府中)
2-1-1 Osu, Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima
*Hours vary by area.
Official Website (jp)

For a Trip Around the Seto Inland Sea, Ferries are Fun, and They’re Convenient!



If you're heading to the Seto Inland Sea, boats aren't just handy transportation, they're a part of the fun. There's no better way to get the most out of the ocean atmosphere than to travel right on the water, so next time you're in Japan, give it a try!

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NAME:Setouchi Area (瀬戸内エリア)

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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).

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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.

    • 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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