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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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Japan, 〒669-6101 Hyōgo-ken, Toyooka-shi, 城崎町湯島357−1
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
The northernmost reaches of the Hyogo Prefecture get pounded with snowfall which attracts winter sports enthusiasts to its slopes each winter. Two of the area’s preeminent ski resorts are Kannabe Highlands and Hachi Highlands. Kannabe Highlands...