Next Stop, Japan

Scenery and Outdoors

Akiyoshidai (Plateau)

Akiyoshidai (秋吉台) is the largest karst formation in Japan and is located northwest of Yamaguchi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This unique section of Japan covers a total of 130 square kilometers and contains more than 300 caves. Most of the caves are small and inaccessible to the casual tourist but among the caves is Akiyoshido, the largest cave in Japan.

Mine City
Yamaguchi Prefecture

Akiyoshido (Cave)

Akiyoshido is the largest cave system in Japan and is located under Akiyoshidai which is the largest karst formation in Japan. The cave entrance is northwest of Yamaguchi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This unique karst landscape covers a total of 130 square kilometers and contains more than 300 caves.

Traveling by bus from Yamaguchi City or Shin-Yamaguchi Station to see Akiyoshi Cave is a great excursion on any day of the year. The temperature and weather in the cave stays constant all year.

Mine City
Yamaguchi Prefecture

Amami-Oshima (Islands)

The Amami Islands (奄美群島) are a group of tropical islands in Kagoshima Prefecture about 300 km north of Okinawa and about 380 km south of Kyushu. Amami-Oshima (奄美大島) is the third largest (715 sq. km) of all offshore islands in Japan and is the most populous of the 8 inhabited islands in the group.

Amami City
Kagoshima Prefecture

Amanohashidate, Miyazu City

Amanohashidate (天橋立 - Bridge in Heaven) in Miyazu City is one of Japan's three most famous scenic spots. The name refers to a sandy spit which almost completely bisects Miyazu Bay along the Japan Sea (East Sea) in northern Kyoto Prefecture. The spit is 3.6 km long and topped with coniferous pine trees. The inner bay is connected to the ocean by a 2 meter wide channel.

Miyazu City (宮津市) is built around the triangular shaped inner bay (5 km²) which is called Asoumi (阿蘇海) and around another harbor south of the spit. The city has a wealth of historical temples and shrines.

Miyazu City

Beppu Jigoku Tour

The Beppu Jigoku Meguri (別府地獄めぐり) or "Beppu Hell Tour" groups together the more spectacular hot springs in Beppu City. The use of this label dates back to 1928. At the start of the year, the first female bus guides in Japan began touring their groups around to these sites. This service was a hit with visitors and, even if most people now do their own self-guided tours, the name stuck.

Beppu City
Ōita Prefecture

Bihoku National Hillside Park

Bihoku National Hillside Park is a park run by the government in central Hiroshima Prefecture. It is located 10 minutes by car from Shobara City. Shobara is the second largest town in the north of Hiroshima Prefecture and, beside the expressway which goes by it, Shobara is really in the middle of nowhere.

Shōbara City
Hiroshima Prefecture

Geihoku Kokusai

The Geihoku Kokusai Ski Resort probably has the largest and the best ski slopes in Hiroshima Prefecture. Is there lots of powder here? I think not. This far south, the snow gets a little melty but if you're stuck here then it's nothing to stick your nose up at.

Hiroshima Prefecture

Kasairinkai Park

Kasai-Rinkai Park (葛西臨海公園) is Tokyo's best oceanside park. It provides Tokyo with some much needed open space near the water and is the location of Tokyo Sea Life Park and the tallest Ferris wheel in Tokyo.

Besides grassy fields, ocean-side paths and shaded picnic areas, a significant portion of the park is set aside for natural habitat for shoreline birds and animals. In fact, it is prohibited to enter these areas.

Edogawa Ward

Marine World - Uminonakamichi

Marine World - Uminonakamichi is an aquarium in Fukuoka City on the northern end of Kyushu. It is located inside Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (海ノ中道海浜公園) across Hakata Bay from downtown. From here, the city is just an abstract backdrop for Marine World's outdoor stage for shows. To the north, the Tsushima Current flows past the north coast of Kyushu and up the back of Honshu. While a little effort is taken to highlight this ecosystem, most of its collection of 20,000 marine animals (350 species) are from elsewhere.

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Higashi Ward
Fukuoka Prefecture

Miraishin no Oka

Sitting on a hill in Setoda Town and above Kosanji Temple is Miraishin no Oka (未来心の丘 - The Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future). This white sculpture garden caps the entire hill with 5,000m2 of pure Italian marble from Carrara. It is world renowned marble artist Kazuto Kuetani's masterpiece. The real question (as always) is whether its good art or just blindingly bright in the sunlight.
Onomichi City
Hiroshima Prefecture

Mitaki Area

Mitaki is a small section of Hiroshima City on the western side of the Oota River to the northwest of the Yokogawa Station. The area's name (three waterfalls) comes from the Koma, Bonon and Yumei waterfalls. Rivers flowing off Mount Mitaki are the source of the waterfalls. This mountain is part of the mountainous terrain that separates Hiroshima City from its northwest subdivisions. What brings most people to the area is Mitaki Temple, a relaxing forest retreat, with access to hiking trails on Mount Mitaki.

Nishi Ward
Hiroshima Prefecture

Miyajima Island

Miyajima (or Itsukushima) is an island that is considered sacred and pure in the Shinto religion. The strict rules applied to the island to maintain its purity throughout history have also preserved its wealth of native plants and animals. Miyajima's Itsukushima Shrine, which was built to worship the island, is known worldwide for their beauty. The view of the shrine with its vermillion gate in front and Mt.

Hatsukaichi City
Hiroshima Prefecture


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