Chūgoku (中国) is the westernmost part of the main Japanese island Honshu. Aside from Hiroshima, most of Chugoku is probably well off the beaten track for a brief visit to Japan; but if time permits, you'll find a region full of memorable sights and experiences, and a side of Japan that's completely unlike the better-known destinations in Kansai and Kanto.


Map of Chugoku
Hiroshima (Hiroshima, Miyajima)
Beyond the atomic bomb and the unforgettable Peace Memorial Park, there's also the lovely island of Miyajima, and busy lanes of traffic by sea to Shikoku and the Seto Inland Sea.
Okayama (Okayama, Kurashiki)
The region's easternmost prefecture features a bustling capital in Okayama and a wealth of old, charming merchant quarters.
Yamaguchi (Shimonoseki,Hagi)
Gateway to Kyushu and exchange with South Korea and China, with scenes of major influence on Japanese history.
Tottori (Tottori, Kurayoshi)
Known mainly for the enigmatic sand dunes of its capital city, a popular climbing destination at Mt. Daisen, and a long coastline.
Shimane (Matsue, Izumo)
The second least populous prefecture in Japan also has its second holiest Shinto shrine and one of its few remaining original castles.


Bridges in Shukkei-en Garden, Hiroshima

Other destinations


The name Chūgoku literally means "Middle Country", the sole surviving relic of a historical division of Japan into "Near Countries" (近国 Kingoku), "Middle Countries" and "Far Countries" (遠国 Ongoku), based on distance from the capital Kyoto. Strictly speaking, today's Chugoku covers only the Middle Countries along the San'indo and San'yodo roads, and hence Okayama is sometimes not considered a full part of Chugoku, as only three of its five component provinces (Mimasaka, Bizen and Bitchu) were Middle Countries.

In Japanese, the characters 中国 and the reading Chūgoku are also used to mean "China". (The same characters are used in Chinese, but pronounced Zhongguo.) However, as the Chugoku region is always referred to with the qualifier "-chihō" and the People's Republic of China and Republic of China can be referenced by their full names, there is usually little scope for confusion.

Get in

By plane

Hiroshima, Okayama, and Yonago offer both domestic and international connections with other cities in Asia.

Izumo, Masuda, Yamaguchi, Iwakuni, and Tottori each offer domestic flights.

By train

The San'yo Shinkansen line links Hiroshima, Okayama and other major towns to Kyushu in the southwest and Kansai, Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo to the east. The less populated northern Japan Sea coast is served by Limited Express Trains with connections to Osaka and Kyoto.

By ferry

Get around

By train

The JR West San'yo Area Pass allows unlimited travel along the San'yo Shinkansen and San'yo main line west of Osaka, including the Shinkansen (even Nozomi and Mizuho trains). The 4-day/8-day pass is ¥20,000/30,000. An enhanced version of this pass, the San'yo-Shikoku-Kyushu Pass, also includes travel to Shikoku and all or part of Kyushu. 5-day consecutive passes range from ¥22-25,000.


World Heritage Sites

The Chugoku region is home to four of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites:


National Treasure, Matsue Castle

Original Castles

Only twelve original castles remain in Japan, and the Chugoku region is home to two of them:

Reconstructed Castles

Castle Ruins


Korakuen Garden

This is a list of some of the areas most famous gardens however, there are many other beautiful gardens throughout the region:

Temples and Shrines

Sanbutsuji Temple

Although temples and shrines can be found in abundance throughout the region, these are some of the most important and most interesting temples and shrines in the Chugoku Region.

Historic Districts

Tsuyama's Joto Street


There are many great museums in the region, and every prefecture has its own Prefectural Museum and Prefectural Art Museum that are worth visiting, but the following are some of the more unique and famous museums in the region.


Akiyoshi-do Cave



Famous dishes from the Chugoku region.


The region has the perfect climate for growing fruit, so the region is naturally famous throughout the nation for its delicious fruits.


Some of the most famous beverages from the Chugoku region are:

Wine and Sake

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, August 08, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.