Two Nature Sites to Visit in Awaji

Located just across the world’s longest suspension bridge, the island of Awaji hosts some of the best natural scenery in Japan as well as the center of the nation’s mythical origins. Originally used a quarry to provide resources to make the artificial landmasses like that underlying Kobe Airport, Awaji Yume-butai (Stage of Dreams) was restored…

Nada no Kenka Matsuri: A Fierce Fighting Festival

Every year, seven teams of local men from Shirahama Town, Himeji City carrying mikoshi (portable shrines) clash, aiming to knock each other’s shrine down in a competition of local neightborhoods. Decorated with brilliant gold and silver crests and symbolic designs, the mikoshi portable shrines are carried from Matsubara Hachiman Shrine to an area of town…

Hyogo’s Top Delicacies: Crab and Tajima Beef

Some of the best beef and crab in the world comes from Hyogo Prefecture, served up as Japanese cuisine ranging from lightly-grilled Tajima-gyu to fresh crab sashimi.  Kobe Beef is the world-renown grade of beef that, among other things, apparently became the source of Laker’s basketball star Kobe Byrant’s name (albeit pronounced differently that the…

Himeji Moon Festival

Perhaps the largest moon festival event in western Japan, the Himeji Castle Sannomaru Square Moon Viewing Festival draws thousands of spectators –for good reason. The Himeji Moon Festival is located near Himeji Castle, a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. While Himeji Castle itself is covered by…

Takasago Lantern Festival

Boasting 10,000 candles placed all over the town, Takasago Lantern Festival (高砂万灯祭, Takasago Mantousai) also features jazz and traditional Japanese music performances along with specially illuminated historical buildings, temples and shrines. At the price of just a train ticket to Takasago, the lantern festival, with a plethora of sights and performances, is hard to beat.…

Kinosaki Onsen: Mikiya

More beautiful views and things to do in Hyogo’s best onsen town! For this trip, we stayed at Mikiya. With over 300 years of history, Mikiya is one of the oldest ryokan in all of Kinosaki. Mikiya is also famous as the lodging that notable Taisho period novelist Shiga Naoya stayed at for months at…