aerial view of bridge over the bay at sunset in the Setouchi region of Japan

Oysters, Sake, Castles and The Sea

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These days, it seems, everyone is looking for a new and different honeymoon spot. It’s no longer enough to just get away for a week of beachy relaxation after the wedding.  Couples want an exotic locale, unique accommodations, immersive adventures, delicious cuisine, and Instagram-worthy photo ops — with extra bonus points if it’s an under-the-radar place that their friends haven’t even heard of (yet).  

If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck, because I’ve got a great suggestion. 

The Setouchi region of Japan has it all! This inland sea, known as the “Mediterranean of Japan” feels remote and wild, despite being very accessible from international points of entry (approx five hours by train from Tokyo’s Narita Airport, or two hours from Osaka). The 700+ island archipelago has a temperate climate, with average temps in the 60s – 80s from April through October, and you can island-hop using the three long bridge routes or the ferry system. It’s easily combined with other regions of Japan, but can absolutely stand on its own as a single destination. And it offers SO much more than just gorgeous scenery and island beaches.

a sunset streaming over the water of the Setouchi region of Japan
Beautiful romantic sunset scenery by the seashore. [Photo Cited from http://setouchitrip.com]

What will you find there? 

a blue basket of fresh oysters from the Setouchi version of Japan

Amazing food experiences: Check out the oyster farmers on their bamboo rafts and do a tasting at Suzuki Farm, roll up your sleeves and learn to make your own somen noodles, or spend an afternoon with the sake masters in Kobe. 

[Photo Credit Setouchi Tourism Authority http://setouchitrip.com]

a fish-eye view of a bridge across lush green mountains in Setouchi Japan

Outdoorsy adventure: Challenge yourself with the 70-kilometer Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road, which winds along the sea and across seven bridges and six small islands. Or get your dose of adrenaline in the Iya Valley with their precarious vine bridges and human-powered ropeways (just don’t look down!) 

[Photo Credit Setouchi Tourism Authority http://setouchitrip.com]

A japanese castle lit up at night in the Setouchi region of Japan

Unique accommodations: A castle, a yacht charter, a traditional Japanese inn, or even a desert island that can be yours for the night! 

[Photo Credit Setouchi Tourism Authority http://setouchitrip.com]

a japanese garden with lake and castle in background in Setouchi Japan

History, art and culture: Time your visit to coincide with the world-famous Setouchi Triennale art festival (the next one is in 2022), tour the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and stroll through the Okayama Garden (one of the top three public gardens in Japan) 

[Photo Credit Setouchi Tourism Authority http://setouchitrip.com]

And if all of that is not enough to tempt you, how about a visit to “Rabbit Island” (Okunoshima Island) where big herds of rabbits hop freely among the crumbling ruins of a former military installation. If you like, you can even stay overnight at the island’s one hotel so that you can grab some prime photos of rabbits during the sunset and sunrise hours when they’re most active!

a huge group of rabbits roaming free on Okunoshima island in Setouchi Japan
[Photo Credit Setouchi Tourism Authority http://setouchitrip.com]

Setouchi is getting a lot of buzz lately, so this hidden gem won’t stay a secret much longer. Let me know if you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of an out-of-the-bento-box honeymoon destination😊 

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)