Heading south along the coast from Miyajima, you’ll soon cross the border into western Honshū’s last prefecture, Yamaguchi-ken. The first place to pause briefly is the pleasant old castle town of IWAKUNI (岩国), 40km southwest of Hiroshima and home to an American military base, as well as one of Japan’s top three bridges, a scattering of samurai houses and a mildly interesting museum; it’s also one of the best places in the country to watch the ancient practice of cormorant fishing.

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