As you move further away from Tokyo and start heading west, the pace of life starts to slow down a  little and take on a much more easygoing atmosphere. The Chugoku region at the western end of Honshu, is the gateway to a more laid back way of Japanese life. 

Near the centre of the region is Hiroshima, the city which prides itself on promoting peace following the destruction the city and it’s people experienced as a result of the atomic bomb damage during World War 2. These days, Hiroshima attracts school children from across the nation, along with locals and other international visitors who come to learn more about the consequences of war and also to pay their respects to victims lost. A visit to the A-Bomb Dome is a haunting reminder of the destruction that nuclear weapons can have while visiting the Peace Memorial Museum can help all understand the story of the people of Hiroshima during and after the war. The Peace Memorial Park provides a pace for reflection and remembrance, and all three sites are are a must for anyone to this region.

Not too far from Hiroshima city is Miyajima Island where you can enjoy the picturesque sight of the sunset enveloping Itsukushima Shrine as it seemingly floats in the rising tide off the coast of the island. This idyllic spot is the perfect place to enjoy after strolling the local streets on the island and interacting with the wild deer and monkeys which greet visitors and locals alike.

The Chugoku region is also an art lovers paradise. From the internationally renowned art island of Naoshima, the Adachi Museum of Art in Matsue, this region is home to a diverse collection of modern and historical pieces. 

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, a visit to the sand dunes of Tottori allows thrill seekers to go paragliding or enjoy a camel ride surrounded by the expansive dessert environment. The coast along the Sea of Japan also features many opportunities to explore the outdoors with clear waters and and sandy beaches a playground for locals in the summer months.

Well connected by bullet train, the main centres of Chugoku are easily accessed while the lesser known gems are still within easy reach by train, bus or ferry.