Izushi – A Castle Town that Retains the Past Eras’ Remnants

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Izushi (出石) is a quaint town in Toyooka City where you can find traces of Japanese history dating back to the Edo period. Although it might not seem like it now, the castle town used incredibly prosperous. This prosperity earned it the title of Tajima Province’s Little Kyoto! Because the town is sitting atop the train lines, little changes were made to the appearance of the town. This enabled its selection as an important traditional buildings preservation district.

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Setouchi City and the Amazing Scenery of the Seto Inland Sea

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If you enjoy strolling along the beach as the sun slowly disappears from the horizon, be sure to stop by Setouchi City (瀬戸内市) in Okayama Prefecture. The sunset you will be seeing was chosen to be one of the top 100 sunsets in Japan! If you decide to book a “sunset kayaking course”, you can even paddle your way in between the small islands scattered along the Seto Inland Sea to search for your perfect sunset viewing spot (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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Kobe – Your Ultimate Guide to The Scenic Port City

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Kobe (神戸), a fashionable port city only a 30 minutes train ride from Osaka, has many hidden gems that many international visitors aren’t aware of. As a international trading port since 1868, many choose to pass it by when they visit Kansai because the city seems to be filled with western elements that aren’t unique to Japan. But what they don’t know is, there are quite a few traditional Japanese attractions in Kobe that are worth visiting. And, even with those western inspirations, the people of Kobe have added to them their own creative spin to create an experience not available anywhere else in the world!

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Mt. Ōjigatake and the Weird Smiley Rock at the Summit

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Mt. Ōjigatake is a mountain with various oddly shaped rocks on the border between the two cities – Tamano (玉野) and Kurashiki (倉敷) in Okayama prefecture. The view of the Seto Inland Sea along the hiking trail and from the summit is what makes the mountain a popular spot among the locals. This is especially the case when a thousand or so cherry blossoms colours one part of the mountain with its light pink petals from mid-March to early April (*´ω`).

It is also one of the best paragliding sites in Japan. When the weather is good, you will see paragliders taking off towards the magnificent Seto Inland Sea!

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Tamano – An Artistic Port City Filled with Stunning Nature

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Tamano city (玉野市) in Okayama prefecture is a great place to visit for outdoor activity enthusiasts as well as any art connoisseurs. From the gigantic “smiley rock” at the top of the mountain to the large fish sculpture made of items washed ashore, the artistic spirits of the Tamano citizens can be observed throughout the city! Bouldering and paragliding activities are available at the summit of one of the mountains. The same summit also acts as an idyllic lookout towards the renowned sunsets over the Seto Inland Sea (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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Hachimantai – The Dragon Eye and Other Amazing Natural Wonders

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Hachimantai (八幡平) in Towada-Hachimantai National Park (十和田八幡平国立公園) is a magnificent patch of nature on the prefectural border between Iwate (岩手) and Akita (秋田). Whilst it is said that the autumn foliage scenery is better at the Akita side of Hachimantai, the summit of Mt. Hachimantai and a lot of the natural wonders are located in Iwate prefecture.

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Hakusan Shirakawagō White Road Complete Guide

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The World Heritage Shirakawagō is now a really popular tourist destination in Japan. Quite often, people will visit this fairytale-like village by catching a bus or driving from Kanazawa. Many tourists take the normal highway. But unbeknownst to them (and us when we first visited Shirakawagō), there is also a really scenic toll road that goes through the magnificent local mountain ranges that would be a shame to miss out on!

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Mt Moriyoshi – The Stunning Scenery and the Snow Monsters

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Situated in northeastern Japan, the famous Mt. Zao (蔵王山) in Yamagata prefecture (山形県) and Mt. Hakkoda (八甲田) in Aomori prefecture (青森県) are well known for the “Snow Monsters” that take shape over trees and branches. However, one of the drawbacks of being so well known is its tendency to be crowded…

Mt. Moriyoshi (森吉山) in the Akita prefecture (秋田県) is the next among the top three locations for finding the snow monsters that form as a result of the unique weather phenomenon. With it being less famous, it stands to reason that it is less packed! If we only get to go to one of them, we would definitely go to Mt. Moriyoshi. As a bonus, you get to play with the super cute mascot dog Hokuto! (≧▽≦).

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Kuroshima Venus Road – The Romantic Road in The Sea

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If you enjoy walking along a beach, don’t miss out on the Kuroshima Venus Road (黒島ヴィーナスロード) that connects the Kuroshima Island (黒島) with the Nakanoko Island (中ノ小島) and the Hashinokojima Island (端ノ小島). When the tide is low, a romantic sandy road will appear that connects the three islands located in the Ushimadoseto Strait (牛窓瀬戸). And if you ask what is romantic about this road, it is because of the heart-shaped stones that are lying along this road!

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