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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.

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

What will you find there? 

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]

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]

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]

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!

[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😊