- Photogenic icons Beside Miyajima, the O-torii rises from the Inland Sea. An hour from Matsue is the austere Izumo Taisha, a Shinto shrine reputed to ensure marital happiness.
- Fabulous seafood Great seafood abounds oysters (kaki) in Hiroshima; anago (conger eel) in Miyajima; uni-don (sea urchin over rice) in Hagi; mamakari (a sardinelike fish) in Kurashiki; and little black shijimi clams in Matsue.
- Lessons of the past Although A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima is held in great reverence, the city has embraced the future with its energetic multinational vibe.
- Gardens Okayama is home to one of Japan's top three gardens, the spacious and lush Korakuen, which surrounds the stunning black U-jo, or "Crow Castle."
- The people Though English is not widely spoken and foreigners may draw stares, locals will go above and beyond to help puzzled tourists.
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