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Longer Itineraries
A tour of 2000 years of Japanese history
Let's take a trip around Japanese history, stretching back more than 2000 years, from the Jomon period to the Edo period and today.

Once you have the broad strokes of Japan's history from the museums in Tokyo, make your way to Chugoku and Shikoku. Here you will find streetscapes with lingering hints of the Edo period, ancient shrines built in the sea and more.

Be transported to other times in each of these destinations.
*The times represent the approximate time needed to travel between major spots.
Day 1–2
Study history in Tokyo from Jomon to Edo
First, learn Japanese history in Tokyo.

At the Tokyo National Museum, take your time to view the highly complete permanent exhibitions. From clay vessels to armor and kimono, a huge variety of historic treasures lie within. Get in touch with 2000 years of Japan.

At the Japanese Sword Museum, take in the history and culture of the country as seen through katana.
Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum exhibits Oriental artworks with a focus on Japanese artists, as well as antiquities. It houses some 120,000 artworks, including designated national treasures and important cultural properties such as must-see heritage Jomon pottery, swords, armor and kimono. The sprawling complex includes the Honkan (Japanese Gallery) for Japanese art, Toyokan (Asian Gallery) for Asian art and antiquities, as well as the Heiseikan (Japanese archaeology), the Hyokeikan building and the Gallery of Hyoryuji Treasures. One day is hardly enough. Special exhibitions also held on a regular basis.
10 minutes by train(JR)
Japanese Sword Museum and the Former Yasuda Garden
Japanese swords, which are loved not just in Japan but all over the world, are a weapon, an object of worship, and a symbol of authority. The Japanese Sword Museum is a place to deeply learn about their history and manufacturing processes, and it has many exhibitions featuring swords, sword decorations, sword fittings, and armor, etc., including national treasures. The museum is located in a corner of the Former Yasuda Garden, a beautiful Japanese garden, so use this opportunity to also walk through and enjoy the garden. Entrance admission to the Japanese Sword Museum is ¥1,000 for adults, and admission to the Former Yasuda Garden is free.
50 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
40 minutes by bus
Day 3–5
Back to the times of legend
Once you have rekindled your passion for history at the museums, slip away to another time and another place outside the city.

First port of call is Izumo (eastern Shimane Prefecture). Explore the world of legend in the "Land of the Gods," from where it is said the gods ruled over the Japanese islands - and a region peppered with ancient shrines built in their honor.

Experience the age of legend at Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, the construction of which is depicted in Japan's oldest chronicle, Kojiki.

Next, head to Hakuto Shrine in Tottori, dedicated to the White Rabbit of Inaba, which appears in ancient legends. This is the location of Japan's oldest love story.

Not to be missed in Tottori too are the white wall warehouses of Kurayoshi. The streets date back some 400 years and are highly photogenic. Enjoy a good walk around town.
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is dedicated to the god, Okuninushi-no-Mikoto, who once ruled over the ancient province of Izumo. It is a place to pay respects to the god of love and fortune. Around the greenery-flanked grounds are shrine pavilions that underscore the depth of its history. Not to be missed are the the Honden (Main Hall) built in taisha-zukuri, said to be the most ancient shrine architectural style and the Kaguraden (Sacred Dance Hall) which features Japan's largest shimenawa (Shinto straw rope). Near the shrine you will find eateries offering Izumo soba noodles and zenzai (sweet red bean soup), as well as souvenirs inspired by love and good fortune.
35 minutes by bus
135 minutes by train(JR)
15 minutes by bus
The White Rabbit of Inaba
(Hakuto Shrine and the Hakuto Coast)
Hakuto Shrine is the setting of the White Rabbit of Inaba myth, said to be Japan's oldest love story, and is dedicated to the white rabbit god. It is widely known as holy ground for lovers, since the story goes that the white rabbit was a matchmaker. A number of locations in the legend are found in the surrounding area. In the shrine precinct is the Mitarashi Pond where Hakuto is said to have washed the injuries it sustained and nearby is Okinoshima, a cape on the Hakuto Coast where he is said to have washed up on his journey. It is a place to be transported to an imaginary world.
15 minutes by bus
40 minutes by train(JR)
15 minutes by bus
Kurayoshi’s Shirakabe Storehouses (White Wall District)
Kurayoshi was a castle town in the Edo and Meiji period which to this day retains much of its historical character: white-walled and red-tiled houses. Throughout the town, buildings have been renovated into cafes, liquor shops and galleries. A stroll around the town, hopping from one place to the next, is never dull. If you have an interest in crafts, visit one of several spots where you can try dollmaking, weaving and other traditional local crafts.
15 minutes by bus
130 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen
30 minutes by train(JR)
10 minutes by ferry
Day 6–9
Encounter World Heritage and the modern heritage of Japan
Head for Hiroshima to visit one of Japan's most amazing Shinto sites, Itsukushima Shrine.
It is a National Treasure and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The shrine extends out across the sea. Let your mind drift to the olden days when the shrine was bustling with pilgrims.

Back in town, Hiroshima Castle cannot be missed. Interestingly, a naval facility once thrived near the city. The former naval port is an example of Japan's modern heritage.

After your tour of Hiroshima, depart for Hagi in search of why Japan changed so quickly at the end of the samurai era.
Itsukushima Shrine
The island of Itsukushima is considered a home of the gods and a god itself. Alongside the island, the famous Itsukushima Shrine was built over the water. Visitors continue to be drawn to the island, with millions of tourists from Japan and around the world flocking to see the mystical views. There is plenty to see, including the giant torii gate rising out of the blue waters (currently under maintenance due to ageing, end date of works not yet known), the sublime shrine itself built in Shinden-zukuri, a style of architecture used in aristocratic residences, and the bright red pillars holding up the pathway around the shrine. The shrine was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
10 minutes by ferry
25 minutes by train(JR)
Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle is distinguished by walls that are jet-black. Construction began in 1589 under Mori Terumoto, a daimyo (feudal leader) of the Warring States period. Though the castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb, it was beautifully restored after World War II as a symbol of recovery. The main tower houses a history museum featuring models and artefacts of life and culture in Hiroshima when it was a castle town. Visitors have a rare opportunity to try on armor and helmets in the dress-up section.
10 minutes by bus
35 minutes by train(JR)
Kure: port of the Imperial Navy
Kure, which grew as an Imperial Navy port in the Meiji period, is home to old Imperial Navy facilities and museums. In the Yamato Museum, also known as the Kure Maritime Museum, the weight of history hangs heavy among exhibits that include a 10-to-1 scale model of the battleship Yamato, the torpedoes and cannons it used and more. The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Kure Museum holds exhibits related to minesweeping and submarine operations, including the centerpiece, an Akishio submarine.
35 minutes by train(JR)
JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen
60 minutes by bus
(the story of Japan's modernization since the end of Edo and the Meiji Restoration)
Hagi has been a castle town since Hagi Castle was built around 400 years ago. Having avoided manmade and natural disasters, the streets and buildings of Hagi retain their original look to this day - in fact, it is like an open-air museum. Hagi Museum will deepen your knowledge of the local history, culture and nature. A stroll around the town is greeted by historic sites at every turn, from the remains of the castle to old samurai houses, tradesmen's houses, and shrines.
90 minutes by bus
40 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Day 10
The landmark of Tokyo
To top off the tour, go to Tokyo's landmark and symbol of modernity, TOKYO SKYTREE®. This year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of its completion.

As you gaze across the endless panorama from atop the observation deck, reflect on your travels and speculate Japan's distant past, present and the world of the future.
TOKYO SKYTREE® opened in 2012 and is a landmark of the city standing at 634m. Take in 360-degree panoramic views of Tokyo from the observation decks at 350m and 450m. At the foot of the tower is TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN®, a plaza of over 300 shops and eateries, an aquarium, a planetarium and a museum. Events are held in every season, making this a fun destination at any time of the year.
Here we have proposed a trip around Tokyo and the Chugoku region to encounter Japanese history. Starting our studies at the musueums of Tokyo, the itinerary took in shrines, temples and other sites of Chugoku before ending back in the capital. Means of transportation are provided for your reference, but it is always a good idea to take a stroll at your leisure around the locations mentioned.

*The information provided here is as of March 2022.
*Transportation information does not include the number of transfers or transfer time.
*Admission fees may be charged depending on the spot/facility. For the latest information on business hours, days when spots/facilities are reguarly closed, and prices, etc., please check the official website for each spot/facility or check directly with the spot/facility.

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