Some of the Best Beaches in Western japan, and Traditional Music and Dance
Hamada, a rural region in Western Japan, is known for its small mountain and coastal villages and its stunning beaches. Despite its remote and traditional atmosphere, the town is conveniently located less than two hours away from Hiroshima. One of the highlights of Hamada is its vibrant traditional performance art called Iwami Kagura, which is deeply rooted in the Shinto religion. In addition to that, the town is also famous for its squid fishing fleets that light up the night sky. Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches or unique cultural experiences, Hamada has something to offer.
Iwami Kagura: A Wild and Colorful Traditional Dance
Iwami Kagura is a traditional dance accompanied by music that is performed in Hamada. From the moment you arrive in the town, you will notice the enthusiasm and passion for Iwami Kagura. This unique and dynamic folk entertainment is deeply connected to the Shinto religion and is considered a living tradition. The performers portray various characters from Japan’s myths and legends, including oni (demons), deities, and heroes. The dance rituals are also tied to the rhythms of the agricultural calendar. Throughout the year, you can witness performances of Iwami Kagura in the city, although some venues may require an entry fee. For booking and other assistance, you can visit the Hamada City Tourist Association Center. Don’t forget to check out the mask-makers in town who supply the hundreds of kagura groups in the region. Purchasing a mask or two can be a unique souvenir from your visit to Hamada.
Miles of White Sandy Beaches
One of the main attractions in Hamada is its miles of white sandy beaches. Iwami Seaside Park is a popular destination for beach lovers, offering a five-kilometer stretch of pristine coastline and crystal-clear blue seas. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of water and beach-based activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball. If you prefer a quieter and more secluded beach experience, there are also picturesque coves and hidden beaches along the coastline. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, Hamada’s beaches have something for everyone.
Hiking the Chugoku Nature Trail
For nature enthusiasts and hiking enthusiasts, Hamada is a gateway to the Chugoku Nature Trail. This hiking route stretches for over 2,000 kilometers through five prefectures in the Chugoku region, including Hamada. The trail takes you through mountains, gorges, and scenic landscapes, providing breathtaking views and opportunities to connect with nature. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there are hiking trails of various difficulty levels to choose from. Exploring the Chugoku Nature Trail is not only a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, but it also allows you to discover the natural beauty of the region.
Onsen Resorts with Healing Waters
After a long day of exploring and hiking, there’s nothing better than soaking in a hot spring to relax your muscles and rejuvenate your body. Hamada is home to four hot spring resorts: Mimata Onsen, Asahi Onsen, Yuya Onsen, and Kowa Onsen. Mimata and Asahi Onsen are particularly known for their performances of Iwami Kagura. These resorts offer not only healing waters but also a serene and peaceful atmosphere for relaxation. Soaking in an onsen is a traditional Japanese experience that allows you to unwind and indulge in the therapeutic benefits of the natural hot springs. Whether you choose to visit Mimata Onsen, Asahi Onsen, Yuya Onsen, or Kowa Onsen, you’re guaranteed a blissful and rejuvenating experience.
Discovering the Town of Hamada
Apart from its natural beauty and cultural attractions, Hamada has more to offer to visitors. Hamada Castle, although destroyed by its lord in 1866, still stands as a historical landmark. From the castle’s prominent position atop a headland, you can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding inlets and bays. If you visit during the spring season, the area around the castle is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing, offering a picturesque and romantic atmosphere. Another must-visit spot in Hamada is the Hamada Ouo Fish Market, located near the fishing port. Here, you can find a wide range of seafood that was freshly caught just hours ago. The market is a seafood lover’s paradise, and you can even purchase seafood-based souvenirs to take home with you.
Family-Friendly Activities in Hamada
Hamada is also a great destination for families traveling with children. Aquas, a large aquarium located near Iwami Seaside Park, offers not only a chance to see various marine creatures but also a big play area called Aquas Land. Kids and adults alike can have fun exploring and learning about the wonders of the ocean. Another family-friendly attraction in Hamada is the Hamada Children’s Museum of Art, which is dedicated to art for and by children. The museum hosts regular workshops and exhibitions, providing a creative and educational environment for young visitors. Yuhi Park Hamada is another family-friendly spot, offering a range of eating establishments and a big playground for children to enjoy.
Hamada, with its stunning beaches, vibrant traditional dance performances, and natural attractions, is a hidden gem in Western Japan. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, cultural experiences, or outdoor adventures, Hamada has something to offer to every traveler. From its miles of white sandy beaches to the healing waters of its hot spring resorts, Hamada provides a unique and memorable experience. Explore the town’s rich history, indulge in delicious seafood, and immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions of Iwami Kagura. A visit to Hamada will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the beauty and culture of Western Japan.
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