Six Amazing Things to do in Western Japan

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By Helen Foster

Despite the fact that I’ve travelled to Japan many times, my trips have always been concentrated around Tokyo or a few hours either side of it, on my last trip though I branched out; flying into Fukuoka, the biggest city on Japan’s Kyushu island, I went on a journey around Western Japan – and realised, I’ve been missing out. From shrines that took my breath away to one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, it seems there are a lot of extraordinary things to see and do in Western Japan. Here are some of my highlights.

1. Visiting The Amazing Buddha at Nanzoin Temple, Fukuoka

In this age of Instagram, it’s unusual to be so shocked by the sight of something, you literally stop in your tracks when you see it, but that’s what happened to me when I first came face-to-face with the reclining Buddha statue in Nanzoin Temple. It’s immense. Weighing as much as a jumbo jet , 41 metres long and 11 metres high it literally dwarfs the people praying in front of it.

What makes the Nanzoin Buddha truly amazing though is that it’s completely hidden from prying eyes. The first time you see it is when you walk into the vast open space that surrounds it and it’s breathtaking. Don’t miss it if you’re in Fukuoka. It’s just a 30-minute train ride away from Hakata station on the Fukuhoku Yutaka line. Get off at Kido Nanzoin – and follow the signs to the temple.

2. The Intriguing Architecture of Ohana, Yanagawa

About an hour’s journey from Fukuoka, Ohana was the home of the Tachibana family who ruled over the city of Yanagawa from 1620-1871. With such a venerable Japanese pedigree, it’s a bit surprising to enter Ohana via opulent green metal gates to find …continue reading