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Chugoku, Japan

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As I mentioned in my previous thread, I'm planning our second trip to Japan and working on an itinerary.

We'll be there for a little under 3 weeks, but I've already allocated some of that. I have a 7-8 day slot I'm playing with.

Chugoku, Tohoku and Kyushu are all on the table.

Can anyone who has experience of touring in Chugoku give me their thoughts?

Any tips for places to visit or avoid?
Activities you particularly loved?
How about transport? We're happy to use either public transport or rent a car and self-drive - the latter seems like it may be more straightforward.

Do you know of any food and drink specialities in the area, particularly items produced there -- I'd love to organise visits to producers especially.

Many thanks for any feedback,
Kavey

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