While many foreigners know of the central areas of Japan that encompass Tokyo and Osaka, fewer are familiar with Western Japan. But Western Japan, otherwise known as the Chugoku Region, is in a real sense responsible for the shape of Japan today.

The Meiji Restoration of 1867, which saw the emperor placed back on the throne after centuries of rule by the shoguns, was largely created in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the western tip of the main island of Honshu.

Both philosophical leaders and warriors from Yamaguchi and the surrounding areas played a leading role in shaping the revolution that led to the Restoration.

Today, Western Japan is an intriguing mix of the old and the new. More traditional than the central metropolises but more modern than the outlying islands, the Chugoku Region embraces both traditional ways of life and the best that modern technology has to offer. It is truly a crossroads for both history and culture.