Have you heard of Japan Heritage? This organization officially recognizes stories that tell of Japan's culture and traditions through local historical attractions and features. Out of 70 current Japan Heritage sites, 5 of them are in Hyogo Prefecture. This article will introduce them as recommended places to visit during a trip to Japan.

Hyogo Prefecture's Japan Heritage (1)
Tamba Sasayama Dekanshobushi
〜The Voices of Folk Singers Carrying Memories of their Hometown〜

For over 200 years, local people have loved the folk songs sung in the center of Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture. Called Dekanshobushi, affection for the area has grown in the hearts of the local people who were raised singing these folk songs. As evidence of this heritage, 300 types of song lyrics remain today. Through Dekanshobushi, the townscapes and traditions of Tamba Sasayama are passed down from one generation to the next.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
1. Sasayama Castle (Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture)

Located in Sasayama City, Sasayama Castle's history started back in 1609. Although it once burned to the ground, this castle was rebuilt in 2000,thanks to the fundraising activities of its citizens. Inside the building called Taishoin, the ambience of the Edo era can be felt in the exhibits of armor and traditional paintings on room partitions.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
2. Tajima Beef (The Tajima Region of Hyogo Prefecture)

It's not too much to say that the taste of beef depends on its pedigree. About 100 years ago, beef cattle pedigree management began in the Tajima region. In other words, Tajima beef can boast an excellent pedigree and strict quality management. Starting from famous Kobe beef, this area also raises other high-grade calves used for breeding. When you visit this area, be sure to savor the flavor of Tajima beef!

Hyogo Prefecture's Japan Heritage (2)
Awaji Kuniumi, the Island that Birthed Japan, at the Start of Kojiki
〜Ama Divers whose Work Supported the Ancient History of Japan〜

According to a myth recorded in Kojiki, Japan's oldest history book, the "special island" of Awaji was born as the first one in Japan. That's why a variety of legends remain in this area. For example, Kamitate Gamiiwa is a sacred crag standing 30 meters high in the ocean. It is said that the gods who created Japan were married as they went around its area. There is also a heart-shaped hollow that's a popular "power spot" for marital happiness and fulfillment in love.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
1. The Whirling Tides of (Minami-Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture)

Under the bridge connecting Awaji Island and Shikoku (the large island comprising the four prefectures of Ehime, Kochi, Tokushima, and Kagawa), whirlpools can be seen in the sea. These whirlpools collide into each other, creating bigger whirlpools of up to 30m in diameter.
Watching them up close from a boat deck is a popular experience.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
2. Izanagi Shrine (Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture)

This shrine is where the two gods who created Japan, as mentioned above, are said to be enshrined. As one of the oldest shrines in all of Japan, many visitors come to pray at this "power spot".

Hyogo Prefecture's Japan Heritage (3)
Gin no Bashamichi and Koseki no Michi Penetrate the Bantan Throughway
〜Memories as a Nation of Natural Resources Following 73 km of Ruts〜

In the center of Hyogo Prefecture, there are historical throughways, stretching 73 kilometers,connecting the port of Harima and mines of Tajima. Called Gin no Bashamichi, or " Old Silver Mine Carriage Road" and Koseki no Michi, or "Ore Road", these roads ran from the port of Shikama in Himeji City to Ikuno Silver Mine in the interior. Once used as routes to transport mined ore, such as gold, silver and bronze, supplies were also shipped on these roads. Revamped for sightseeing, the throughways welcome a lot of tourists. Why not visit and take in this magnificent scenery combining natural and man-made features?

Tourist Information for Your Reference
1. Ikuno Silver Mine (Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture)

Starting around 807 AD, Ikuno Silver Mine prospered under the jurisdiction of the authorities of that era, playing this role until 1973. Now that mining has stopped, it is used as a sightseeing spot.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
2. Akenobe Mine (Yabu City, Hyogo City)

Mining began about 1200 years ago at Akenobe Mine. Visitors can see the bare rock mined from uncovered surfaces, rock drills, and trains used to transport the mined rock at the height of its prosperity.

Hyogo Prefecture's Japan Heritage (4)
Overcoming the Rough Waves, Men Spinning Dreams of Another Dimension
〜Kitamae-Bune's Port of Call and Shipowner's Settlements〜

About 100 to 200 years ago, merchant vessels carrying huge quantities of cargo headed for Japan's northern seacoasts to trade. Called "Kitamae-Bune", the sailors who rode these ships overcame rough seas to earn enormous wealth. In port towns where such trade flourished,
large merchant houses and grand mansions were built. Visit one such port town to experience the history of seamen who tried hard to strike it rich without considering the dangers.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
1. Sakoshi (Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture)

In Ako City, there is a port town called Sakoshi, where many traditional buildings line the streets. Having prospered as a port which played an important role in commissioning Kitamae-Bune, it is also famous as an area using aquaculture to produce oysters, their local specialty.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
2. Takadaya Kahei Park (Sumoto City, Hyogo Prefecture)

This park was created to commemorate the success of Takadaya Kahei, an influential man who came from this area. As the pioneer of a Kitamae-Bune trade route, he was active about 200 years ago. This facility allows visitors to experience the history of trade in Japan.

Hyogo Prefecture's Japan Heritage (5)
You'll Surely Fall in Love with the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan!
〜An Area Producing Pottery Born and Raised in Japan〜

In Japan, 6 areas have been producing pottery from several hundred to a thousand years ago. Known as the Six Ancient Kilns, these areas produce traditional Japanese plates and vases by kneading the clay into the desired shapes and firing them in a giant kiln to finish the pieces. One of these six areas is in Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture. Producing pottery called Tamba Tachikuiyaki since its origins in the 13th century, it features traditional designs on pieces that can be used every day. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, about 60 pottery studios line the streets of this town.

Tourist Information for Your Reference
1. Tamba Tachikuiyaki (Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture)

From about 800 years ago, this area has been famous for its pottery production. With handmade pottery, the shapes and patterns of each piece will vary, and no two pieces will be exactly alike. Why not experience the pleasure of finding your favorite piece of quality?