Chugoku Guide

Japan's Regions: Chugoku 中国地方

The Chugoku region consists of the south west part of Honshu Island. An alternative name for the region is the San-in San'yo Chiho (山陰山陽地方).

Chugoku includes five prefectures: Okayama Prefecture, Shimane Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, Tottori Prefecture and Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Chugoku is heavily industrialized along its Pacific Coast but much more rural in its mountainous interior and along the Sea of Japan Coast.

The weather in the region is similar to that in Kansai and Kanto with heavy snowfall in the winters along the Sea of Japan Coast and hot and humid days in summer.

Chugoku, Kyushu, Japan.
Miyajima, Hiroshima, Chugoku, Japan

The northern coast of the region had cultural links with the Korean Peninsula in its early history and Hiroshima developed as a military port and garrison from the Meiji Period on.

Chugoku's main towns and places of interest are:

Hiroshima - is the largest city in the Chugoku region and the first city in the world to be attacked with nuclear weapons. It is one of the 3 most popular towns visited by foreign tourists to Japan along with Kyoto and Tokyo.

Hamada - Hamada has an attractive coastline and some great beaches on the Sea of Japan.

Iwakuni - Iwakuni's main attractions are Kintai Bridge and Iwakuni Castle.

Kurashiki - Kurashiki is one of the touristic highlights of Okayama Prefecture, thanks to the compact, well-preserved, Edo era merchants' quarter called Bikan-chiku (the Bikan district) - bikan literally meaning "beautiful views" in Japanese.

Masuda - Masuda is a city of about 60,000 on the Japan Sea coast of Shimane Prefecture, near the border with Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Okayama - Okayama is best known for its Korakuen Garden and its association with the Momotaro legend.

Tsuwano - tiny Tsuwano is a lovely "town" with a number of attractive temples, shrines and museums.

Izumo - Izumo's big attraction is the impressive Izumo Taisha, second only in importance to the Grand Shrine in Ise.

Matsue - Matsue is home to an original castle and a number of historic samurai houses.

Hagi - Hagi is one of the best Edo-era preserved towns in Japan.

Shimonoseki - Shimonoseki is the gateway to Kyushu and famous for its fugu cuisine.

Ikuchijima - Ikuchijima in the Inland Sea is famous for the temple of Kosan-ji.

Onomichi - Onomichi is a small town clinging to steep hillsides on the Inland Sea coast with many movie and literature connections.

Innoshima - Innoshima is a small island of just under 40 square kilometers in the Seto Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku known as the home of the Murakami pirates.

Oki Islands - the Oki Islands (Okinoshima) are a cluster of scenic islands with a unique culture and great food off the coast of Shimane Prefecture including Chiburijima, Nakanoshima, the largest island, Dogo and Nishinoshima.

Inujima & Teshima - Inujima & Teshima are two islands in the Inland Sea that are part of the Setouchi Triennale with art exhibits by Japanese and international artists.

Honjima - Honjima in the Inland Sea is an island home to a number of Edo Period buildings once occupied by the Shiwaku Suigun.

Takehara - a port city in Hiroshima Prefecture once known for its production of salt, now another "Little Kyoto" with an old town of preserved Edo Period buildings.

Hiroshima Tram, Chugoku, Japan.
Hiroshima Tram, Chugoku, Japan

Chugoku Access


Hiroshima Airport, Yamaguchi Airport, Izumo Airport, Iwami Airport and Oki Airport on Dogo are all regional airports in Chugoku.


There are a number of ferry services operating to and from various ports in Chugoku.

Shichirui Port - Oki Islands

Sakaiminato (Fukui Prefecture) - Oki Islands

Koyo Port (Etajima) - Hiroshima Port (Ujina)

Koyo Port (Etajima) - Kure Port

Hiroshima Port - Matsuyama on Shikoku

Hiroshima Port - Nanoshima & Nomishima


Okayama Station is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen line to Osaka (45 minutes), Tokyo (4 hours), Kyoto (1 hour 10 minutes), Nagoya and Fukuoka/Hakata (2 hours).

Hiroshima Station is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen line to Osaka (2 hours 10 mins), Tokyo (4 hours 30 minutes to five hours), Kyoto, Nagoya and Fukuoka/Hakata. Other railway lines connecting from Hiroshima are the Sanyo Main Line for Miyajimaguchi, the historic town of Iwakuni and Tokuyama, the Geibi Line for Shiwaguchi and Miyoshi, the commuter Kabe Line for Omachi, Midorii and Kabe and the Kure Line for the port city of Kure, Hiro, and Takehara.


All large cities in Chugoku and even many small towns will have at least one highway bus connection with Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo per day with the larger towns having both daytime and overnight buses.

Chugoku Map

Chugoku map.

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