Near the school, good for sakura. Good views of the Inland Sea. About a 20 minute walk from Suma JR station, you will come to the beginning of the rope way. The rope way is in three stages with small parks at each stage. If you want to walk up: walk towards Shioya along the main road till you reach a stream and an overhead conveyor belt for earth moving. Just past the stream is a trail leading up steps to the top of the mountain. When you reach the top you can go left to the rope way, or right towards Kobe. The trail to the right will follow the ridge until it comes to a long set of steps leading down to a highway. At the bottom, turn right and you will come to Suma. A good afternoon walk.
This is a long trip with a little bit of walking and little or no train changing. Hikone is a castle town on Lake Biwa, there is a beach on the lake, mountains with a shrine and Zen temple above the town and a castle in the middle of the town. There is a lot to see in a small area.
Take the JR towards Kyoto. There is a train that goes to Maibara which is the stop after Hikone. If you don’t catch that one you will probably have to change in Kyoto, but stay on the same line (Tokaido main line). From the station if you walk straight ahead you will come to the castle. From the castle you can make your way to the beach or in the other direction to the mountains. It may be difficult to find a way to cross the railroad tracks – there are not many crossings. There is a good climb up the hills to the shrine and temple with great views of the city and castle below, and Lake Biwa.
While at Hiroshima you should see Miyajima. It is about 20 minutes from Hiroshima station and then a very short ride to the island. This is a beautiful shrine built right on the water. Beyond the shrine and small town is a mountain that is difficult to climb but worth it. There are temples along the way. It would be about a two hour walk with many steps. But you can take the rope way down and there is a tea house at the bottom of the way. Of course, you could also take the rope way up. There is plenty of information about Miyajima available. Lots of monkeys and deer.
This is a nice somewhat tourist-free island that is a good overnight stop. You can take the ferry from Kobe directly and there is a place to stay right by the ferry terminal on Shodo-shima. Bike rental is available right there. Another way to get to a different part of the island is to take the JR to Himeji. At the bus terminal across the street from the station take the bus to Himeji port. At Himeji port there is a ferry to Shodo-shima which takes about an hour and a half. There is a bus service on the island but on weekends it is not too frequent but you can get anywhere.
There is a very reasonable and beautiful inn in Ikeda. Monkeys and interesting rock formations in the mountains in the centre of the island. Just about anywhere you go there are good views and just very pleasant hiking, biking or even bus riding. Read the sentimental Japanese novel “Twenty-Four Eyes” before you go.
This town is an interesting mixture of a few not spectacular but interesting sights. It is a castle town but not much remains of the castle but a nice park. There are good street signs and good flat walking. There is a very pretty walk along the sea a little way out of town.
Take the JR to Himeji and change to the line going to Ako. You might have to change at Aioi. From the Ako station walk straight ahead to the castle. From the castle go left and you will see an amusement park in the distance to the right. Ahead there is a lighthouse on a hill. Walk towards the lighthouse, any way will do. Once you get near the lighthouse you can go up or down. Down will take you to a very nice walk along the sea.
This can be done in a long day, but an overnight stay may be better. Ise is one of the oldest and most sacred Shinto shrines and Toba is noted for pearls. Take the JR to Osaka and change to the Loop Line. On the Loop Line get off at Tsuruhashi and change to the Kintetsu Line going to Toba. Take the Limited express. There is an additional charge depending on which train you take. Nice ride through mountains and countryside.
At Toba station there is an island a short walk away. On this island there is a museum about pearls and pearl diving exhibitions, interesting, but it may get really crowded. There are boat tours available and some good walking up in the hills.
On the way to Toba you will pass Ise. There are many maps and directions to the shrines from the station. The main shrine is one of the oldest in Japan.
This place is a little different, a little out of the way and worth the trip. It is noted for lacquer ware which comes in all shapes and sizes. It is really a fishing town and has a great morning market with all sorts of crawling things for sale. If you go to Kanazawa, you might want to keep on going up the Noto Peninsula to Wajima. There is a beach and an interesting walk along the rocky shore. Good views of the Japan Sea and Wajima Harbour from the hills.
From Kanazawa take the JR or the Moto line to Wajima (the last stop). You may have to change depending on the train you take.
One possible trip is to return by way of Takayama; spend a night in Kanazawa, another in Wajima and a third in Takayama.
A castle town on the Japan Sea and next to a large lake. A short way out of town by bus is a river gorge with interesting rock formations and very interesting statues carved into the rocks. A long trip but worth it.
From Okayama take the San-in Line to Matsue (about 3 hours). There is plenty of accommodation available.
If you are in Matsue you might as well go to Izumo which is the next station to the west. About an hour by train. In Izumo there is a very ancient shrine which is very large and simple. A short bus ride away is a lighthouse with some wonderful views of the Japan Sea.
This is good for some serious hiking or beach sitting. Or spend two days and do both. It is very easy to get to. Take the JR to Omi-Miako. There is one train a day that leaves from Sannomiya and goes directly there about 9.30 am. That’s the quickest way. If you miss that, change at Kyoto for the train to Omi-Miako. At Omi-Miako the beach is one way the mountains are the other. The beach is very long and you can pick your spot depending on the amount of company you want. For the mountains just walk through the rice fields (there is a road) to a very busy highway. At the highway turn left and you will come to a river (there may not be any water). At the river turn right and walk uphill.
This can be a long walk and there is a bus that runs about every hour. It is about an hour’s walk with only one turn; when you come to a house with some vending machines, turn right. This will bring you to a ski-lift. The ski-lift takes you to a rope way, which takes you to the end of the the rope way. There you will find all kinds of trails leading in many different directions. This is not easy walking but it is deep woods, cold streams, a few monkeys and places to camp. At the top of the rope way there is a limited restaurant to the right. There is no map at the top, but trails are well marked in kanji. It would be best to have some kind of map before you start walking. There are probably other ways down but the rope way, ski-lift, and bus is probably the simplest and most relaxing. You can walk for as long as you like on top.