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Chugoku World Heritage Sites (UNESCO)

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
The Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine in Shimane is a cluster of mountains, rising to 600 m and interspersed by deep river valleys featuring the archaeological remains of large-scale mines, smelting and refining sites and mining settlements worked between the 16th and 20th centuries. The site also features routes used to transport silver ore to the coast, and port towns from where it was shipped to Korea and China. The mines contributed substantially to the overall economic development of Japan and south-east Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries, prompting the mass production of silver and gold in Japan. The mining area is now heavily wooded. Included in the site are fortresses, shrines, parts of Kaidô transport routes to the coast, and three port towns, Tomogaura, Okidomari and Yunotsu, from where the ore was shipped. (read more at UNESCO's official site)

(Added 2007 as a Cultural Heritage Site)

Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. (read more at UNESCO's official site)

(Added 1996 as a Cultural Heritage Site)

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (Miyajima Island)
The island of Itsukushima (commonly know as Miyajima), has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. The first shrine buildings here were probably erected in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the 12th century and the harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill. The shrine plays on the contrasts in colour and form between mountains and sea and illustrates the Japanese concept of scenic beauty, which combines nature and human creativity. (read more at UNESCO's official site)

(Added 1996 as a Cultural Heritage Site)


Chugoku Food Specialities

Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima)
A fun dish to enjoy with friends or family, Okonomiyaki is like a giant pancake that you cook on a griddle at your table. Ingredients vary by dish, but mainly include flour, cabbage, egg, seafood and noodles. The pancake is topped with a special sauce and bonito flish flakes or seaweed.

Fugu (Puffer Fish) (Yamaguchi)
A fish to try if only to boast to your friends about. The poisonous puffer fish may only be cooked by chefs possessing a special license. It is often eaten as sashimi (raw fish) or in a hot pot.

Izumo Soba Noodles (Shimane)
A slightly darker version of the common buckwheat noodle dish found throughout Japan. This dark texture comes from the chaff which is milled with the buckwheat. This gives the noodles a unique flavor and texture. There are several varieties of stock and accompaniments to try out in the region.


Chugoku Events / Festivals

Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri (Okayama)
Held in February at the Saidai-ji Temple in Okayama Prefecture, this "Naked Festival" involves almost fully-naked men competing for good luck charms (sacred sticks).

Miyajima Kangensai Festival (Hiroshima)
Enjoy traditional Japanese music and watch the decorated boats floating on the water as this festival takes you back to the Heian era at beautiful Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. The festival is usually held in late July or early August.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony
On August 6th at the Memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima the Memorial Ceremony is held appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for the realization of eternal world peace. At 8:15 a.m., the exact time when the atomic bomb was dropped, the Peace Bell is rung and people offer silent prayers for one minute.





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