Located on the southern tip of the island of Hokkaido, Hakodate was one of the first ports that opened to international trade. The international influence can be traced in the sophisticated architectural styles juxtaposed against the city’s traditional temples. One of the most underrated Japanese cities, Hakodate is well-known for the panoramic views from Mount Hakodate that encompasses the city, the harbour and the mountains in the distance. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the time to taste Hakodate’s signature salty Hakodate Ramen, rumoured to be the first ramen dish in Japan.
Freechoice: Discover the history of Goryokaku, or view the city from above as you ride the cable car up Mount Hakodate. Explore Onuma Quasi-National Park, or walk around the Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market). Discovery: Hike up the active volcano Mt. Esan. (B/L/D)
With a Naval history from 1901, Maizuru was the main port in Japan to receive repatriated soldiers after World War II. Home to the Japanese Navy Base, the closest to North Korea, local fisherman to this day report any suspicious boats who they believe may be North Korean spies. Taste the citiy’s official dish nikujaga (meat-and-potato stew), dedicated to the legacy of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Fleet Admiral Togo, who became famous for destroying nearly two-thirds of Russia’s fleet in the Battle of Tsushima.
Freechoice: Explore Maizuru’s Amanohashidate sandbar and learn the naval history at Red Brick Park, or see traditional thatched roof farmhouses in Miyama. Alternatively, drive to Kyoto to see the Golden Temple, and choose to visit the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, Tenryu-ji Temple or Nijo Castle. (B/L/D)
Known for the devastating atomic bomb blast that ravaged the city and its inspiring status today as a symbol of peace and rebirth, Hiroshima is a destination steeped in history and outstanding natural beauty. Walking around the Peace Memorial Park is a moving experience, with monuments located throughout the tranquil ‘island’ including the World Heritage listed Atomic Bomb Dome, which survived complete destruction, and made use of nature to reaffirm the value of all life.
Today, visit the Miyajima Island and the floating Torii Gate at the Itsukushima Shrine. This afternoon, walk around the Peace Memorial Park. This is a moving experience, with monuments located throughout the tranquil ‘island’ including the World Heritage listed Atomic Bomb Dome, which survived complete destruction, and made use of nature to reaffirm the value of all life. (B/L/D)
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