Top things to do in Western Honshū

Top Choice Park in Hiroshima

Peace Memorial Park

Hugged by rivers on both sides, Peace Memorial Park is a large, leafy space crisscrossed by walkways and dotted with memorials and tranquil spaces for reflection. Its central feature is the long tree-lined Pond of P…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Izumo

Izumo Taisha

Izumo Taisha, also known as Izumo Ōyashiro, is perhaps the oldest Shintō shrine in Japan. This shrine, dedicated to Ōkuninushi, god of marriage and bringer of good fortune, is as old as Japanese recorded history – t…
Top Choice Gardens in Okayama

Kōraku-en

Kōraku-en draws the crowds with its reputation as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. It has expansive lawns broken up by ponds, teahouses and other Edo-period buildings, including a nō theatre stage; …
Top Choice Museum in Hiroshima

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

The main building of Hiroshima's premier museum houses a collection of items salvaged from the aftermath of the atomic bomb. The displays are confronting and personal – ragged clothes, a child's melted lunchbox, a w…
Top Choice Castle in Matsue

Matsue-jō

Dating from 1611, picturesque Matsue-jō has a wooden interior showcasing treasures belonging to the Matsudaira clan. Known as 'Plover Castle' for the graceful shape of its gable ornaments, Matsue-jō is one of only 1…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Miyajima

Itsukushima-jinja

With origins as far back as the late 6th century, Itsukushima-jinja gives Miyajima its real name. The shrine's unique and attractive pier-like construction is a result of the island's sacred status: commoners were n…
Top Choice Sculpture in Naoshima

Art House Project

In Honmura, half a dozen traditional buildings have been turned over to contemporary artists to use as the setting for creative installations, often incorporating local history. Highlights include Shinro Ohtake's sh…
Top Choice Island in Tomo-no-ura

Sensui-jima

The island of Sensui-jima is just five minutes across the water from Tomo-no-ura town, though vastly different for its rugged natural beauty, as there are no residential homes. There's a walking path that hugs the c…
Top Choice Dunes in Tottori

Tottori-sakyū (The Dunes)

Used as the location for Teshigahara Hiroshi's classic 1964 film, Woman in the Dunes, the Tottori sand dunes are on the coast about 5km from the city. There's a viewing point on a hillside overlooking the dunes, alo…
Top Choice Gallery in Shimane Prefecture

Adachi Museum of Art

Local businessman and art collector Adachi Zenkō founded this excellent museum, located east of Matsue in Yasugi. The collection includes over 100 paintings by Yokoyama Taikan (1868–1958) and a good selection of wor…