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Rich in history and with a varied geography, Western Honshu offers many interesting attractions. The southern coast, along which high-speed Shinkansen run, is the easiest to explore. You could stop first in Okayama to view Korakuen, considered one of Japan's top three gardens, but a more off-the-beaten track destination is the enchanting fishing town of Tomonoura. Its hilly streets, lined with picturesque wooden houses, temples and shrines provide lovely vistas of the beautiful island-dotted Inland Sea. The best known island is serene and wooded Miyajima with its venerable shrine Itsukushima-jinja, fronted by an iconic red temple gate ...

Rich in history and with a varied geography, Western Honshu offers many interesting attractions. The southern coast, along which high-speed Shinkansen run, is the easiest to explore. You could stop first in Okayama to view Korakuen, considered one of Japan's top three gardens, but a more off-the-beaten track destination is the enchanting fishing town of Tomonoura. Its hilly streets, lined with picturesque wooden houses, temples and shrines provide lovely vistas of the beautiful island-dotted Inland Sea. The best known island is serene and wooded Miyajima with its venerable shrine Itsukushima-jinja, fronted by an iconic red temple gate rising out of the sea. Equally pleasant is Naoshima, the location of a couple of amazing contemporary art museums designed by top architect Tadao Ando.

The Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima is a sobering testament to the horrors to the A-bomb and the resilience of the region's largest city. On Western Honshu's Japan Sea coast, Matsue is the most appealing destination. Here you'll find an attractive castle, traditional houses and, nearby, the drop-dead gorgeous gardens surrounding the Adachi Museum of Art, which houses an equally impressive collection of paintings and ceramics.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Chugoku region is the westernmost region of Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane, Tottori, and Okayama.
  • Language: Japanese
  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • Research: Honshu | Honshu
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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  • Best Time to Visit:

    From March to July and September to November