Akashi desu!

Maybe you’ve already visited Japan and done the tourist favorites: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Mount Fuji and you want more.

Or maybe you’ve never been to Japan yet you’re craving something different. If you do plan to visit Japan soon, skip the major cities and seek out more offbeat cities that have their own local character.

Akashi is a city like this. It’s a short train ride away from metropolitan Kobe in one direction and castle-town Himeji in the other. If you’re coming from other parts of Japan, no worries! The bullet train or shinkansen stops at Nishi-Akashi station.  Here are three places you must visit if you’re ever in this part of Japan.TRINI (1)

Akashi Park and Akashi Castle

One of the city’s highlights is Akashi Park. The park is quite large and great for picnicking, especially during sakura season. There are several cherry blossom trees, especially around the large paddling lake. Within the park, you will find Akashi Castle, built in 1620. Although very little of the original castle remains (two watchtowers and some castle walls), the views from the top are worth it. From here, you can see the Seto Inland Sea,  Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (the world’s longest suspension bridge), and a sweeping panorama of the city.TRINI

Uonotana

Akashi is pretty famous in Japan for its seafood. Even if you’ve already been to Japan’s seafood mecca, Tsukiji Market, you’ll certainly appreciate the local charm of Akashi’s fish market, located within walking distance of Akashi train station. On Uonotana Shotengai, a 400-year old shopping street, there’s no shortage of squiggly, dead, dried, or otherwise preserved sea monsters. The local specialities sold here are sea bream, octopus, and eel. With over 100 shops including restaurants, there’s a ton of seafood to sample. Don’t leave without trying akashiyaki, Akashi’s version of takoyaki. Unlike Osaka’s version, Akashi’s yummy octopus-filled fritters are dipped into a light dashi broth. If octopus isn’t your thing, here is also the perfect place to get fresh sushi. The street is also very pretty, with hundreds of colorful fisherman’s flags or tairyobata so go camera-crazy. HOT FOOT

Akashi Municipal Planetarium

Akashi’s other claim to fame is that it’s located exactly 135 degrees east longitude, the meridian line used to measure Japanese Standard Time (JST). Built in 1960, the Akashi Municipal Planetarium honors Akashi’s status as “the city of time.” The planetarium is the perfect place to learn more about the stars, planets, time, and space. Bonus points: from here, you can also get crisp views of Akashi-Kaikyo bridge on clear, sunny days.

Photos: © Hot Foot Trini

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28 thoughts on “Akashi desu!

  1. I’ve never visited Japan, but I love your recommendations for an offbeat visit that will be a little different to the big cities. Castles and parks are great, but I love food markets and always like to visit them so Akashi’s fish market is really of interest!

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  2. Although I’ve wanted to go to Japan for quite some time, I hadn’t heard of Akashi before. Adding Akashi Castle and akashiyaki at the Uonotana Shotengai now. Really vibrant pics!

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    1. The big cities like Tokyo and Osaka are definitely crowded but there are many parts of Japan where you can simply breathe. Move away from the cities and head to the countryside to discover a different side of Japan.

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  3. I love visiting Japan and eating all the delicious food. I had no idea about Akashi but have added it to our list of places the visit when we go back. Thanks for the great article

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  4. I actually lived in Japan for 2 years, but I never made it to Akashi. Too bad, it sounds really cool. And we do like getting off the typical trail to visit cities with their own distinctive style and character. Thanks for this great tip and intro to Akashi.

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  5. Love your photos. I’ve never heard of Akashi before but it looks like a beautiful place to visit. I’m particularly interested in Akashi castle and delicious, fresh seafood is always a bonus.

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  6. Even if the akashiyaki is the only reason I’d travel there, I would! I’m crazy about takoyaki and fresh seafood is always what I’m after! A visit to the castle also does seem like a worthwhile thing to do! Japan definitely has a lot to discover!

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  7. These are all great recommendations, especially the Planetarium. 🙂 But I would want to go to Uonotana too because of the seafood! I love Japan, and I’ve only been to Tokyo. There’s so much to explore and see in this beautiful country!

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  8. Interesting recommendation and I love it because I love exploring off beat places. It’s true – most visitors to Japan would prefer Tokyo and other more popular cities. But it seems like it still has that same element that draw tourists to the big cities. I will keep Akashi in mind for future travels to Japan!

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  9. This place looks amazing Suzanne, especially the photos of all the seafood, yes, I’m drooling right now! Octopus deep fried fritters sounds like heaven on a plate to me!

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  10. I’ve been wanting to visit Japan for ages! I LOVE seafood, so that would definitely be on my list of things to eat in Japan. I’d like to do all the touristy stuff in addition to exploring places like Akashi. And it sounds like the perfect excuse to ride the bullet train!

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  11. I haven’t visited Japan yet but love the idea of seeing other things than just the tourist areas. This looks like a great place to explore. I don’t know if I could get myself to try those octopus fritters, though!

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  12. What a great post about Akashi, it makes me want to visit for sure. Especially the colorful typical Japanese prints on the ceiling are stunning. Akashi Municipal Planetarium would be on my list, I love the stars!

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  13. So glad I came across your post after seeing your pictures on Instagram! I’m heading back to Japan later this year, and will try to stop by Akashi if I end up getting a rail pass. I’m drooling just thinking about all the amazing food! Pinned your post to reference later 😉

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  14. I’m not the biggest fan of seafood so sushi isn’t for me. However, Japan does look amazing and I would love to see the sights from the top of the Akashi Castle. I bet they are pretty impressive!

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