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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 Tsuyama & Mimasaka

A martial arts mecca with a castle, a racetrack and highland outdoor fun

Tsuyama and Mimasaka are two towns steeped in history, culture and legend. Tsuyama is the larger of the two, but the region is known by the name of the other smaller town, Mimasaka-no-Kuni, meaning the "Land of Mimasaka." The whole of northern Okayama Prefecture makes up this ancient domain, where Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous samurai warriors, was born. The founder of Shorinji kempo, So Doshin, was also born here.

The region is a prime destination for campers, outdoor sports enthusiasts and onsen fans, and there are some prime gardens and the ruins of a castle to explore. You can also drive on a genuine Formula One track.

Don't Miss

  • Visiting the Musashi Miyamoto Museum
  • Driving on an authentic Formula One track
  • Having a picnic in Kazuzan Park under the ruins of Tsuyama Castle

How to Get There

The Tsuyama/Mimasaka area takes up a large part of northern Okayama Prefecture. Access to the area is easiest from Tsuyama Station, from which you can use buses to get around.

A train from Okayama Station to Tsuyama Station will take about 70 to 90 minutes depending on the type of train and time of day.

Renting a car from Okayama City is a great option, since it will give you more freedom to use Tsuyama as a base where you can drive to Mimasaka, Ohara Town, Maniwa, or Tottori . There are several car rental facilities near Okayama Station.

Birthplace of two of Japan's most famous martial artists

Mimasaka is a rural city rich in history and culture. The great swordsman, philosopher and artist Miyamoto Musashi was born in what is now Mimasaka. The Musashi Memorial Martial Arts Center is a grand structure where his spirit lives on. Musashi's birthplace and the Musashi Museum are two excellent locations to add to your itinerary.

The founder of Shorinji kempo, So Doshin, was also born in Mimasaka, and there's a memorial hall in his honor in the Sakuto area of the city. Sakuto is home to Shiramizu Waterfall and the Sakuto Museum of Fine Art, both of which are attractions popular with couples.

The call of the highlands and racing thrills

Continuing your journey, visit the Oashi Highlands, where you can enjoy camping, hot springs and the great outdoors any time of the year. The nearby Okayama International Circuit is an authentic Formula One course where champion Michael Schumacher once raced to victory. You can take your own car or motorcycle out for a lap or two.

Soak in history or just the hot springs

With a 1,200-year-old history, the relaxing waters of Yunogo Hot Spring attract throngs of visitors each year. The spa offers both public and private bathing options. Both overnight and day visits are welcome, and aromatherapy and craft-making workshops are available if you wish to spend additional time here.

Tsuyama Castle during springtime

Tsuyama was a castle town for centuries, but after the Meiji Restoration the city's castle met the same fate as many throughout Japan and the castle was dismantled. Despite this, the city retains the charm of a typical castle town, with visitors flocking to its ruins.

The Yoshii River, which runs through the city, connected the town to the outside world. It's still a place where locals go to unwind and celebrate. Kakuzan Park surrounds the castle grounds and is considered the best place for viewing cherry blossoms in Okayama.

Reflecting the gardens of Kyoto

Another visual wonder in Tsuyama is Shurakuen Garden , which was designed to resemble the gardens of Kyoto. It was completed in the mid-17th century and captures nature in an idyllic form.

One of the best time to visit Tsuyama is in summer during the Tsuyama Noryo Gongo Festival. Held on the banks of the Yoshii River, vibrant summer kimono and festival attire bring summer to life, and food stalls with local delicacies line the river.

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