Those journeying to Japan would do well to trek over to Setouchi——an area encompassing seven prefectures and 700 islands that flank the Seto Inland Sea. The historically authentic, calm and soothing side of the country opens doors to its past, offering tourists explorations through untouched natural wonders, immersive culture, unique architecture, traditional cuisine and customs that are all a reflection of its past.
Beyond activities that harken back to the region’s bygone eras, Setouchi, Japan is also a land of diverse experiences rife with frivolity and flavor. Here are 11 inspired ideas to amp up your Setouchi-specific travel itinerary.
- Explore the picturesque Bikan Historical Quarter in Kurashiki, which is filled with shops located amid carefully preserved traditional structures.
- Spend incredibly memorable evenings in the most curious of accommodations, including authentic Ryokans serving traditional dinners.
- Spend time marveling at two Shinto shrines: the Motonosumi Inari Shrine and Itsukushima Shrine, which are equally impressive in size and design.
- Track down the olive Wagyu beef—the rarest steak in the world—so you can delight in its rich marble heartiness.
- Time your visit with the Setouchi Triennale—a brilliant contemporary art festival that occurs every three years and spans across 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea. In 2022 you can plan to visit the “art island” of Naoshima and delight in the varied artist showcases happening throughout the spring, summer and fall.
- Explore the many Islands that comprise Setouchi by water with a stay aboard Guntû—an elegant vessel complete with stylish staterooms, multiple restaurants and offering itineraries replete with shore excursions.
- Discover the manicured lushness of Ritsurin Garden and Korakuen, regarded as among the greatest gardens of Japan.
- Let your taste buds lead the way in Kagawa, which is known as the Udon Prefecture due to its variety of restaurants and styles focused on these thick white noodles. Your can even learn how to make your own. If you happen to be there in February, don’t miss the annual Oyster Festival.
- For an adrenaline boost, cross the Kazurabashi Bridge that is suspended 45 feet above a canyon. It’s a thrilling trek you won’t soon forget.
- Explore Himeji Castle, which is comprised of 83 buildings and dubbed “the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture.”
- Rent a bike and cycle all or part of the Shimanami Kaido. Elevate and diversity the experience by sailing back to your starting point!
No matter which activities you choose, even any one of the above activities would make a visit to Setouchi a worthwhile addition to your coastal Japan travel itinerary. Of course, there is an array of other ways to enjoy these islands and, rest assured, there are ideas to appease and please interests of every sort.
Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” lifestyle and travel and “Savvy Ventures” business TV shows. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports / Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern .
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
All images Courtesy of Setouchi DMO