The Japanese government has rolled out a new logo and slogan designed to encourage more tourists to come and experience, “Japan. Endless Discovery.” But what places should you visit once you’re here? Everyone knows about great tourist destinations like Kyoto, Nara or the Ghibli Museum, but as long as you’re in Japan, why not find some of the more out-of-the-way tourist spots to explore? Like a town in Chiba Prefecture that brands itself Japan’s version of England’s Dover Cliffs, for some reason. Or if you like bizarre museums, check out the Tobacco and Salt Museum, which tells you the history of, well, tobacco and salt in Japan. You could visit the “koto-playing sand” at Kotobikihama Beach, which sings as you walk on it, or find a “Melody Road” that plays music as your car drives over lines dug into the road surface. There’s even a desert of sorts, the Tottori Sand Dune, a 16 km stretch of sand which looks like it could have come straight out of Tunisia — the local tourist board has even imported a camel for you to ride. Or you could visit Gunkan-jima near Nagasaki, the eerily beautiful “Battleship Island” that was a miniature city housing coal miners and their families from 1887 to 1974. When the mines became unprofitable, everyone left overnight, leaving one of the most striking examples of haikyo (modern ruins) in the world.
Did you know there was a desert in Japan?