Enjoy Beautiful Nature and Culture! 5 Must-See Scenic Spots in Chugoku Region
Chugoku region in Honshu is full of famous tourist spots where you can have your fill of picturesque views, starting with Miyajima. You can enjoy nature, such as beautiful seas, as well as ancient and honorable temples and other structures. Below are five of the best scenic spots in Chugoku region.
1. Miyajima (Hiroshima Prefecture)
An island that is listed as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan, Miyajima is one of the most famous places in the country and has many shrines and temples with long histories, and a primeval forest that is rich in nature. What is especially popular on this island is Itsukushima Shrine, which is listed as a World Heritage Site. At this ancient shrine with a history of about 1,400 years, there is an immense torii gate that stands in the middle of the sea, which is an excellent photography spot, as well as the majestic Shaden (main shrine building) that has a vermilion glow. The contrast of the blue ocean, the red torii gate and the green trees is a sight to behold! Apart from Itsukushima Shrine, this island is loaded with many other attractions. During cherry blossom season, in particular, the view from around Tahoto (two-storied pagoda) is highly recommended.
Itsukushima Shrine admission fee: Adult: 300 JPY, High school student: 200 JPY, Junior high school/elementary school student: 100 JPY
2. Tsunoshima Bridge (Yamaguchi Prefecture)
Tsunoshima Bridge is a massive bridge measuring 1,780m in length. Built between Shimonoseki City and Tsunoshima Island, it is characterized by its structure that values the surrounding landscape. Its striking appearance as it crosses the emerald green sea has been creating quite a stir, and has been used as the location and setting of many TV commercials and drama series. Recommended here is the vista from Amagase Park, from which you get an unobstructed view of the entire bridge. The sight of the water becoming bluer the farther you go out to sea is truly superb. Tsunoshima itself is a small island with beautiful white sandy beaches, full of attractive spots such as Tsunoshima Lighthouse that stands out against the white scene.
3. Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter (Okayama Prefecture)
Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, located along Kurashiki River, is an old townscape lined with mansions and storehouses built by wealthy merchants. If you take a walk along the river, you will enjoy a beautiful traditional sight created by the rows of willow trees and machiya (traditional Japanese houses). Another way that is recommended for exploring this area is to take the Kurashiki Riverboat Tour that will treat you to a ride at a leisurely pace. You can see the streets from an angle that is different from usual. This area is also lit up after sunset, creating a magical atmosphere all around. The Kurashiki Museum and Nakabashi Bridge are particularly popular spots for taking photos.
Kurashiki Riverboat Tour fare: Adult: 500 JPY, Child (5 years old to elementary school): 250 JPY
4. Mitokusan Sanbutsuji (Tottori Prefecture)
An ancient temple located on Mt. Mitoku with an elevation of about 900m, Mitokusan Sanbutsuji is home to many cultural properties. The Nageiredo (Nageire Hall, or inner sanctuary), a famous national treasure of Japan, is a structure that was built on the cavity of a steep rising precipice. There are many people who have been captivated by its light and refined vibe, with some photographers even going as far as saying that this is the “best architecture in Japan”. Mt. Mitoku itself is a treasure trove of scenic views, landing it the designation of place of scenic beauty in the country.
※Your clothes and shoes will be checked before you ascend the mountain. The mountain may also be closed depending on the weather and season, so check the homepage in advance.
5. Gakuenji (Shimane Prefecture)
Located on the west side of the Shimane Peninsula, Gakuenji is an ancient temple built in 594. It is a spot that is surrounded by a unique kind of tranquility that comes from its being in the mountain that is covered in a thick forest of trees. This temple is also famous as a spot for viewing seasonal leaves in the fall, with the several layers of leaves painted in red, orange and yellow colors creating a view you won’t find anywhere else. The nearby holy place, Furo no Taki waterfall, is also recommended. As the place where the nationally famous monk Benkei trained, it is filled with a mysterious atmosphere.
Admission fee: Adult: 500 JPY, Junior/senior high school student: 300 JPY, Elementary school student: 200 JPY
Aside from those mentioned above, there are a lot of other must-see spots in Chugoku region, including Dangyo no Taki waterfalls in Shimane and Kintai Bridge in Yamaguchi. So, make sure to check out these spots if you get a chance.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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