Discovering the hidden charms of Hiroshima, Matsuyama, Tokushima and more
I never seem to tire of Japan, no matter how often I step foot into its maze of skyscrapers, shrines and pop cultural hangouts.
This time round, I found myself discovering the Setouchi area in the heart of autumn, where we luxuriated in a poetic dreamscape of fall foliage.
The region consists of a national park, calm inland seas and beautiful islands, in addition to historical buildings and cultural sites.
Escaping the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, we plunged into the quieter gems of the country — exploring the likes of Miyajima, Hiroshima, Imabari and more.
To explore Setouchi like a local, be sure to tick these 14 activities off your checklist:
1. Visit Itsukushima Shrine
Japan may be home to many shrines, but there’s few like the Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima.
At high tide, its torii gate rises dramatically from the sea, hence its moniker “floating torii”. While at low tide, one can easily take a stroll along the beach and through the gate.
Listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the shrine itself is a labyrinth of pier-like structures, along with a noh (classical Japanese musical drama) stage.
Itsukushima Shrine is a ten minute walk from the Miyajima ferry pier.