Although its name may not be internationally as famous as Kyoto or Tokyo, Setouchi is renowned among Japanese for its Moderate Climate, wonderful sandy Beaches, and well-preserved Cultural Heritages. Far away from crowded tourist areas, find the real essence of Japanese philosophy on the Pilgrimage Land.
Where is Setouchi? Is it easy to access?
This region is based around the Seto Inland Sea, which counts more than 700 minuscule islands, and is surrounded by three of the four main ones of Japan: Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Hence, it is not an exaggeration at all to affirm that this particular area is kind of in the middle of the Japan archipelago. There are 35 million peoples living on these coasts, within seven prefectures, each having a lot of potential and treasures to unveil.
Nature is highly variable depending on the prefecture but since the weather is generally warm throughout the year, both sea and sky are azure blue colored with nearby olive trees growing abundantly, you can think of this place as the Mediterranean of Japan. By the way, this is its actual nickname so you can expect a lot from. In addition, there are several major cities equipped with an airport including Osaka, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima so inbound visitors don’t even need to pass by Tokyo if they want to come directly. Here is a glimpse of what await travelers in this wonderful part of Japan.
Naoshima, Insular Paradise for Art Lovers
Located right in front of Okayama city, this small island is a marvel for the eyes. Since the 1980s, Naoshima begins to be dedicated to arts on the initiative of one man, Soichiro Fukutake.
Then, due to the prodigious work of numerous artists and architects such as the well-known Tadao Ando by example, it didn’t take long to gain its international notoriety. This place is full of interesting museums, hidden sculptures scattered all over in nature that you can explore by walking or in bicycle, as you prefer.
Kurashiki, The Venise of Feudal Japan
In the vicinity of Okayama, another charming little town lies in a serene atmosphere unchanged for centuries. Kurashiki used to be a harbour for rice trade during the Edo period and nowadays old storehouses’ sleek facades are still reflecting the lifestyle of this epoch.
This past merchant city is also free of power lines, which is extremely rare in Japan and is traversed by silent canals bordered by weeping willows. Ideal to embark for a boat tour along and let oneself drive into yesteryear Japan.
The White Heron Castle, World Heritage & National Treasure
Himeji castle is certainly one of the most splendid and notorious castles which can be found in Japan. There are many reasons for that. First, its uncluttered snow white appearance is quite unique and contrast with the concurrence such as the so-called “crow castle” of Matsumoto or the Okayama’s one.
It is particularly appreciated during spring since the cherry-blossoms at the foot of its moats perfectly suit the beauty of the site. Furthermore, the “white heron castle” unlike most of the Japanese castles has never been destroyed until nowadays even though it was built at the beginning of the 17th century. Therefore, Japanese people consider it half as a miracle which has stood the test of time while keeping its grandeur.
Itsukushima Shrine, one of the three national most beautiful scenic sights
Although this ranking has been made arbitrarily by Hayashi Razan, a Neo-Confucian Philosopher born at the end of the 16th century, just by looking at the outstanding number of visitors who come each year to this touristic spot and to the tons of pictures taken, one can only agree with him.
This 16 meters tall torii, Shinto shrine archway, is accessible from Hiroshima in less than one hour. Thus, in order to benefit the most gorgeous view possible, we recommend you to stay a few days in Hiroshima and to regularly check the weather and tide’s current situation before to come admiring the sacred island.