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Hot Springs and Cold Slopes in Tajima, Japan

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About two and a half hours from Kyoto or five hours from Tokyo by train, Tajima Province in the northern Hyogo Prefecture may be off the beaten path—but it’s a path worth taking. Traditional Japanese hot springs pepper the countryside, as do serene mountain villages, snow-covered mountains, and verdant rolling hills. With a coastline on both sides, Hyogo Prefecture all but guarantees incredible seafood though it’s equally renowned for its local beef. Here’s how to sample the best of the region.
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357-1 湯島 城崎町 Toyooka-shi, Hyōgo-ken 669-6101, Japan
Kinosaki Onsen offers up a quintessential Japanese hot spring experience. The village itself is famous for not one, but seven hot springs that you can soak in, one after another. The waters of Kouno-yu springs are believed to bring a happy...
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Kinosakicho Imazu, Toyooka, Hyōgo Prefecture 669-6103, Japan
In winter, the restaurants around Tajima showcase an impressive array of seafood pulled straight from the icy Sea of Japan. Of all the catch-of-the-days on the menu, Matsuba-gani is the ultimate Tajima delicacy. These prized snow crabs are caught...
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Japan, 〒669-5252 Hyōgo-ken, Asago-shi, 和田山町竹田古城山169番地
Also called the “Castle in the Sky,” Takeda Castle was built in 1441 on a 1,150-foot mountain ridge overlooking Tajima, Tanba, and the Maruyama River. The castle, admittedly in ruins, still makes an impression with its elongated structure that...
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Tajima, Sakura Ward, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 338-0837, Japan
Tajima cows come from the same breed raised to produce Kobe beef, the most sought-after beef in the world. The prized cows do so well here because of Tajima’s extreme difference in night and day temperatures. In the evenings, the mercury plunge...
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1 Hidakachō Tada, Toyooka-shi, Hyōgo-ken 669-5371, Japan