[2. Sanyo and San’in Areas] Visit West Japan by Using JR-WEST RAIL PASS to Enjoy Fine Scenery and Experiences! Latest edition for 2022-2023

The West Japan region is known to have many unique and attractive spots everywhere. It is an additional appeal to visitors that they can access various places within the area by rail and/or ferry. Here are recommended spots as well as activities in West Japan, which can be accessed more conveniently and cheaply with a JR-WEST RAIL PASS!

For details about ticket deals and passes, access: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai_wide/, https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai_hiroshima/, https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/sanyo_sanin/

Okayama, Hiroshima

In about one to two hours by train from Osaka, you will be in a place with a warm climate, facing the Seto Inland Sea. This region is full of various attractive spots and aspects, such as scenic islands of the Seto Inland Sea and historic townscapes.

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

Kurashiki is located in the middle between Osaka and Hiroshima. In Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, white-walled traditional buildings and modern Western-style buildings stand along the willow-lined river, creating a beautiful townscape with combination of Japanese and Western atmosphere. Old buildings have been renovated with their shapes preserved and turned into unique shops, cafés, and museums. Rent a kimono, ride a rickshaw, and feel a good-old-days Japanese atmosphere! In addition, Kojima, an area which is known as the birthplace of Japanese jeans and has retail shops of local jeans makers, and Mt. Washuzan offering a grand view of the Seto Inland Sea, are also must visits.

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter Rambler Coupons

Use This coupon book, and enjoy eating local desserts, museum visits, and others in Kurashiki Bikan Historical quarter!

Price: 1,000 yen (a set of ten coupons)
For more information, access: okayama.visit-town.com/visittour/cp_kurashiki-machi-2022

Access Kurashiki Sta. (JR)

Okayama Castle

Built in 1597, Okayama Castle is characterized by its black painted board walls. Due to its black exterior that evokes the image of a crow, it is also called “u-jo,” which literally means “crow castle.” At the end of the 17th century, the huge Okayama Korakuen Garden was completed near the castle. The castle underwent a major repair from June 2021 to November 2022. The majestic appearance of the castle will dazzle visitors.

Adult 400 yen


Access 5 min. by streetcar from Okayama Sta. (JR)-> Shiroshita stop -> 10-min walk
Business hours 9:00–17:30 (admission until 17:00)
Regular holiday Dec. 29–30
URL https://okayama-castle.jp/home-en/

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Michi no Eki (Roadside station) Shodoshima Olive Park

Shodoshima Island on the Seto Inland Sea is widely known as the birthplace of olives in Japan. Michi no Eki (Roadside station) Shodoshima Olive Park has orchards planted with more than 2,000 olive trees. One of the symbols of the park is the Greek Windmill. The Olive Memorial Hall offers a free renting of magical brooms. You can take great photos of yourself as if flying on the broom against the backdrop of an open and romantic view of the island.

Free admission

Access 40 min by bus from Okayama Sta. (JR) -> Shin-Okayama Port -> 1 hr 10 min by ferry -> Tonosho Port
Business hours 8:30–17:00
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.olive-pk.jp/en/

Kamome Bus Ticket

This is a bargain ticket of bus and ferry from Okayama Station to Shodoshima.

Prices (one-way): Adult 1,500 yen, Child 750 yen

URL https://ryobi-shodoshima.jp.e.aqu.hp.transer.com/time/ryobi_ferry/

Watching oyster catching and Itsukushima Shrine offshore sightseeing

The representative winter delicacy of Hiroshima Prefecture is oysters. You can take a tour to go to an oyster farm with fishermen early morning by boat and watch how they catch oysters from up close. Then, you will pass close by Itsukushima Shrine by boat and can offer prayers from the sea.

Adult 3,300 yen (with a meal), 2,200 yen (without meal)

Access 10-min walk from Miyajimaguchi Sta. (JR, Hiroden)
Business hours 7:00– (It will take about 1 hour)
Regular holiday Sundays, New Year holidays *The tour will be available until around early May.
URL https://shimadasuisan.com/taiken-en.html

Original Bishu-nabe and a sampling set of quality sake at Kamotsuru Sake Brewing

On the Saijo Sakagura-dori Street, where the Kamotsuru Sake Brewing Co., Ltd. is located, there are seven sake brewers within a 1-km range, making it a perfect place for a sake brewery tour. Furansuya restaurant at Kamotsuru serves the original bishu-nabe (hot pot dish with sake), which used to be a staff meal for sake brewers. At the shop, you can sample several kinds of high-grade sake. Feel the passion of sake making. The special sake only available here will be a perfect souvenir.

Free admission

Setouchi Sea Line “1-Day Free Pass”
Setouchi Sea Line makes your sightseeing trip around Hiroshima Bay more convenient. Its One-Day Free Pass offers unlimited rides on high-speed boats and ferries on all three routes, including from Hiroshima Port to Miyajima and Hiroshima Port to Etajima, for one day!

For more information, access: http://setonaikaikisen.co.jp/language/en/

Access 3-min walk from Saijo Sta. (JR)
Business hours Weekdays: 9:00–18:00, Sat., Sun., holidays: 10:00–18:00 (admission until 17:45)
Regular holiday Summer holidays, New Year holidays, and other period of time before Sake Festival
URL https://www.kamotsuru.jp/tour/

Ishitani Residence

This is a residence of the Ishitani Family, a merchant family which has been prosperous for more than 300 years since the late 17th century. The buildings have been designated Important Cultural Properties. Since the Ishitani Family made a fortune in the timber industry, the residence consists of about 20 buildings built with precious wood collected from all over Japan and the best architectural techniques, as well a Japanese garden (The “Ishitani Garden”), which is a must see.

Adult 600 yen

Access 10-min walk from Chizu Sta. (JR)
Business hours 10:00–17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Regular holiday Wednesdays (or the following day if it falls on a national holiday), Dec. 28–Jan. 3
URL http://www.ifs.or.jp/english/

Tottori Hanakairo (Tottori Prefectural Flower Park)

This is one of the biggest flower parks in Japan, where various kinds of beautiful flowers can be seen throughout the year, including lilies, tulips, roses and cosmos. From late November to early January, an illumination event is held, featuring a spectacular combination of one million light bulbs and blossoms. During this period, fireworks are set off on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Adult 500-1,000 yen *Subject to change depending on the season and event.

Access 25 min by courtesy shuttle bus from Yonago Sta. (JR)
Business hours 9:00–17:00 (admission until 16:30) *Subject to change due to seasons and events.
Regular holiday Open 365 days (Closed on Tuesdays in July and August) *Subject to change depending on the season and event.
URL https://www.tottorihanakairou.or.jp/en/

Matsue Castle

Matsue Castle retains its original shape of about 400 years ago. As a precious historic site with the original castle tower still in existence, it has been designated a National Treasure. You can see how excellent it was for defense. This area is also known as a famous cherry blossom spot in spring. In April, Matsue Musha Gyoretsu is held, which is an event reproducing the Edo period gorgeous daimyo gyoretsu (feudal lord’s procession).

Adult 680 yen

If you want to enjoy Matsue Castle more, take a sightseeing boat!
Horikawa Yuransen is a small boat steered by a boatman on the moats surrounding Matsue Castle. By looking at the castle town of Matsue from the slow boat on the water, you will feel the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1868). In winter, a special Kotatsu Boat is available, where you can enjoy a warm kotatsu, a low heated table covered with a special futon, on the boat

For more information, access: https://www.matsue-horikawameguri.jp/language/en/

Access 10 min by Lakeline bus from Matsue Sta. (JR) -> Kokuho Matsue-jo/Kencho-mae stop
Business hours Apr.–Sept. 8:30–18:30, Oct.–Mar. 8:30–17:00 (admission until 30 min before closing time)
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.visit-matsue.com/
The information herein is as of December 2022
Born in Aichi Prefecture, my name is Minami and watching theater is my passion. Having studied abroad in France and the UK, I worked at a travel agency after graduation, which sparked my love of travel both in Japan and abroad! In particular, I enjoy travel related to art galleries, seasonal flowers, or the settings of stories. Whether manga, anime, or 2.5D musicals, please leave it to me!

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