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Planning for Chugoku/Shikoku Japan

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Hello all, I'm towards the final stages of planning my next trip. I'm having trouble finding certain pieces of information online so am hoping anyone with first hand experience to share a bit. I appreciate my questions are a little specific so may be difficult to answer (advance warning that I tend to pack my trips a little tight and plan specifically; not to everyone's taste I acknowledge), but any general comments or sharing favourite experiences in these areas welcome too. Side note - will be driving. Thanks!

Trip summary: I'll be doing a loop from KIX through Himeji, Okayama, up to Matsue, down to Hiroshima and Miyajima, then over to Shikoku Matsuyama, Iya Valley, Kotohira, Takamatsu and back up to Kobe and KIX.


Engyo-ji (Himeji) and Shizutani School - I am very very tempted to visit Shizutani School near Bizen but am limited by my time spent at Himeji-jo and Engyo-ji (access using ropeway - not walking up). Current time allocation is 2hrs for castle (plus finding some light lunch nearby) and 2hrs 45min for temple. Would anyone have recommendations for time spent at the castle and the temple? I note Himeji-jo is under restoration, the castle keep cannot be entered but is now visible.

Washuzan and Seto-Ohashi Bridge - I have read that the bridge only lights up on Saturdays and other special occasions. I wanted to make a trip to Washuzan to view the bridge. Does anyone know if the bridge does NOT light up on Sundays? I was hoping to visit on a Sunday night (after sunset - due to itinerary restrictions). I will be driving and will be around the area in Kurashiki. Should I not bother on a Sunday? I can possibly cut short my daylight time in Kurashiki and visit the bridge during sunset...? Has anyone seen the bridge lit up after dark, and whether it is anything as impressive as sunset or during the day?

Adachi Museum of Art - has anyone visited and can recommend approx time to allocate for this? I recall reading it has 2000 pieces of artwork and a garden viewable from inside the museum. I am not going to analyse every piece of art and am intending 2 hours. Would this be about right or can I allocate some time elsewhere (such as more time at Mt. Daisen)?

Uchiko / Iya Valley - I was initially planning on visiting these two places on the same day. 2hrs at Uchiko and 5.5hrs at Iya Valley (which involves driving through the valley for 3hrs with 2.5hrs stop-time). Uchiko looks very charming but am concerned I won't have enough time in Iya Valley if I go up Tsurugi-san. Any comments on whether Uchiko is worth the side-trip from Matsuyama?


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