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5 Stunning Insta-Worthy Spots In West Japan To Add To Your Bucket List

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Faruq Senin  •  Feb 04, 2021

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If there’s one destination that we’ll definitely return to after the pandemic, it’s Japan! While we’re unable to travel now, we can start dreaming about our next Japan trip and plan in advance. Looking to go off the beaten path in Japan in future? West Japan is a great place to explore. Not only are there plenty of stunning spots, they are also easily accessible from major cities in the Kansai area like Osaka and Kyoto using the JR-West All Area Pass. It gives you unlimited rides on JR-West trains for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata. Find out more on their website! You can save massively on transportation too.  To fuel your wanderlust and inspire your future trip, here are 5 stunning Insta-worthy spots in West Japan to add to your bucket list!  Note: All information on trains, sights and times during this time are subject to changes due to the COVID-19 situation. Check the website for more info
1. Ine Fishing Village & Amanohashidate
 Located in northern Kyoto prefecture, the Ine Fishing Village is one of the most beautiful villages in Japan. The charming village is home to about 230 unique boathouses, called funaya. For a scenic sightseeing trip, travellers can also go on boat tours driven by locals 😍 
Credit: Diyana Mastor If you’re travelling by train to Ine, we recommend Amanohashidate, which is close to Amanohashidate Station, along the way to Ine! Amanohashidate is known for its strip of sand bar across the Miyazu Bay. “Amanohashidate” roughly translates to “bridge in heaven” and it’s known as one of 3 most picturesque sceneries in Japan!  JR-West passes that you can use: 
  • JR-West All Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata
  • Kansai WIDE Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 5 days in Kansai, Okayama, Takamatsu, Kinosaki Onsen, Amanohashidate, Tottori and Shirahama
2. Tottori Sand Dunes
 Sand dunes in Japan? We kid you not! At approximately 50 metres high along the Sea of Japan, the Tottori Sand Dunes are a result of sediment deposits carried from Sendaigawa River over thousands of years! You can ride on camels at the sand dunes or try sandboarding and paragliding for a thrilling experience. There’s also a Sand Museum here where you can admire unique sand sculptures from artists all over the world.  JR-West passes that you can use: 
  • JR-West All Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata
  • Kansai WIDE Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 5 days in Kansai, Okayama, Takamatsu, Kinosaki Onsen, Amanohashidate, Tottori and Shirahama
Don’t miss a chance to hop on the Hello Kitty shinkansen which operates one round-trip daily (6.32am from Hakata to Shin-Osaka and 11.32am from Shin-Osaka to Hakata)! Car No.2 (called the Kawaii room) is completely decorated in Hello Kitty prints, from the seats to the floor. Read about our experience on the Hello Kitty shinkansen! The schedule is subjected to changes. You can check the latest schedule on their official website
3. Inasa Beach & Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
 Japan is full of enchanting spots like Inasa Beach! It has been mentioned in Japanese mythology and ancient legends. Its most distinctive feature is a white torii gate perched atop a huge rock called a “bentenjima”. Fun fact: The rock used to be one of the islands off the coast of Inasa Bay! One of the most popular activities to do at Inasa Beach is catching the beautiful sunset 😍  While you’re at Inasa Beach, you have to drop by Izumo Taisha, one of Japan’s most important shrines. It takes about 17 mins on foot from Inasa Beach to Izumo Taisha. Built in the early 700s, the shrine is considered as the oldest in Japan and it’s where the Kamiari Festival is held yearly. It is popular as a God of marriage too. JR-West passes that you can use: 
  • JR-West All Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata
  • Sanyo-San’in Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Fukuoka, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Tottori and Shimane
4. Akiyoshido Cave
Akiyoshido in Yamaguchi Prefecture is Japan’s largest and longest limestone cave (more than 10 kilometres)! The magical spot has plenty of natural formations including underground pillars, waterfalls, limestone pool terraces and a flowing stream of cobalt blue water 😍 You can go on a hike inside the cave and view the stalactites and stalagmites! It is said to be the best sightseeing cave in Japan and the course is almost 1 kilometre.   The cave is also part of the Akiyosidai Plateau which has limestone pinnacles, a unique landscape in Japan. The plateau looks stunning in all 4 seasons - with snow covering it in winter and hues of red and yellow in autumn.  JR-West passes that you can use: 
  • JR-West All Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata
  • Sanyo-San’in Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Fukuoka, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Tottori and Shimane
P.S. Thinking about where to go on your next Japan trip? Check out our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary to Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima!
5. Biwako Terrace
Located just outside of Kyoto city, the Biwako Terrace is an observation spot where you can admire a breathtaking panoramic view of the beautiful Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake which is as big as Singapore!  The magnificent view above the mountains (at 1,100 metres!) will make you feel as if you’re floating in the sky. In winter, you can enjoy some snow activities and it’s very near Kyoto City too. You’d also have to take a ropeway up the mountain and that’s when you can soak in the beauty of Biwako Valley 😍  JR-West passes that you can use: 
  • JR-West All Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 7 days in Kansai, Hokuriku, Sanyo, San’in and Hakata
  • Kansai WIDE Area Pass - unlimited use of shinkansen especially Nozomi, Ltd express train for 5 days in Kansai, Okayama, Takamatsu, Kinosaki Onsen, Amanohashidate, Tottori and Shirahama 
Already dreaming about your future trip? Bookmark these 5 Instagrammable spots on your list! With the convenience of JR-West train passes, you can easily travel around West Japan from major tourist spots like Kansai and Fukuoka. Plus, you get to enjoy massive savings on transportation too! Check out their website and Instagram for more info. 
It's the last week to enjoy HHWT's virtual Lunar New Year event, Hello Spring Festival which will end on 19 Feb 2021! Besides exciting articles and access to our live shows, participate in our Mini Draw 2 by clicking on the red packet Lucky Draw booths and stand a chance to win attractive prizes! The lucky draw ends on 19 Feb 2021! This article is brought to you by West Japan Railway Company.