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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

OKAYAMA Niimi & Takahashi Caves and castles, waterfalls and wine, onsen, skiing and paragliding

Caves and castles, waterfalls and wine, onsen, skiing and paragliding

Easily accessible by train or car from Okayama, and the regional hub Yonago, many visitors come to Niimi for the sporting possibilities, including paragliding and skiing, spelunking and fishing, and scenic wonders. Others come for the hot spring waters. There's also a mountaintop castle here that appears to float on the clouds and festivals with plenty of visual and aural excitement.

For foodies, the Niimi area offers great food and wine in a prefecture known throughout Japan for its fisheries and farming.

Don't Miss

  • Wine tasting at Tetta Vineyard
  • Sampling some prime Chiya beef
  • Visiting one of the many caves or waterfalls

How to Get There

Niimi can be reached easily by train from JR Okayama Station in about 90 minutes.

The best way to tour the Niimi area is by car. You can rent a car in Okayama and drive to Niimi via Route 180, which is a major thoroughfare from Okayama to Yonago, with Niimi in the middle. You can also rent cars in Niimi itself.

For wine lovers and foodies

One of the four major towns that make up Niimi. Tetta Town has one of Okayama's famous vineyards, Tetta Winery, situated on a mountaintop. The award-winning winery has recently opened a cafe to give visitors the best foodie experience to enjoy with the wines.

The Chiya area in Niimi is where Chiya beef is raised. You'll find Chiya beef at high-end restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka, but Niimi has more reasonably priced restaurants where you can enjoy a prime cut or two.

Hot soaks and cool powder

The Chiya area has one of the area's largest onsen resorts. At the Ibuki-no-Sato Japanese-style hotel you can enjoy a daytime soak without an overnight stay. Either way, you can enjoy lunch or dinner after your bath, including grilled Chiya beef if you like.

During winter there are lots of snow activities to enjoy with the family. The Ibuki-no-Sato resort has a ski area, complete with three lifts and five runs, with a variety of rails and a wall for snowboarders and freestyle enthusiasts.

Air and underground adventures

Osa Town is famous for its paragliding and adventure activities. Located in a valley, it is a perfect location to try paragliding.

Some of the best locations in Okayama to view fireflies (from May to July) are in Osa, in addition to a spectacular fireworks show in summer, rice harvest festivals, which are earlier in the year because winter arrives early here, and river and cave trekking, exciting to do year round.

Always popular are the caves of Ikura-do and Maki-do, fishing spots along the Takahashi River, and areas near dams that offer hikers a place to escape into lush green forests.

Castle in the clouds

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is one of only 12 original historical castles remaining in Japan. The castle is also known as Takahashi Castle as it is located in the town of Takahashi on a mountaintop. At 430 meters, the castle is the highest in Japan. The surrounding area is often filled with clouds that fill the area below the castle, giving rise to its nickname, "Castle in the Sky."

Festivals and revelry

October 15 is the day Niimi holds its Daimyo Parade, remembering when feudal lords inspected their lands before heading to attend on the Shogun in Edo.

The procession travels 1.5 kilometers through downtown Niimi, and many of Niimi's 30,000 residents are involved, dressed in warrior armor, as flag bearers, and even children in traditional kimono. The highlights include the carrying of portable shrines ornately decorated in blue, black, red and gold, as handsomely groomed horses walk proudly through the crowds.

Another favorite event is held on Children's Day, May 5. The event is one of the prefecture's largest fishing tournaments. Children are guaranteed to catch something in a special pond filled with fish. For serious anglers there are great prizes for the largest fish caught, and the Takahashi River offers lots of spots to sit and drop your line.

During the festivals, the old Niimi central shopping street is filled with food stalls and other activities.

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