Chugoku means ‘central country’ in Japanese, and can be found in the west of Japan’s largest island, Honshu. Typically split into two regions (Sanyo and Sanin), Chugoku covers the prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Tottori and Shimane.

While Tottori Prefecture is well-known for the spectacular Mount Daisen and the famous Tottori Sand Dunes (complete with camels), the prefectures of Chugoku hold great cultural and historical significance and provide plenty of wonder for visitors wishing to explore a more traditional, authentic side of Japan. In Shimane, the World Heritage site of Iwami Ginzan, a former silver mine, lies not too far from Izumo Taisha (Japan’s oldest shrine) and the rural Samurai district of Tsuwano.

Okayama Prefecture boasts one of the best Japanese-style gardens in the country and the historic canal area of Kurashiki, while the Akiyoshidai Limestone Cave and the stunning views that surround the remote Motonosumi Shrine in Yamaguchi Prefecture are most certainly worth exploring.

Most visitors will be aware of the tragic history of Hiroshima, but the city is today a thriving location with deep cultural and global significance. Take a trip to the Peace Memorial Park and Museum to learn more about the devastation caused by nuclear weapons, then travel to the prefecture’s famous Miyajima Shrine to spend time within the serenity and peaceful atmosphere that can be found there.

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