Found at the southwestern tip of Honshu, Yamaguchi is a largely non-urban prefecture with a relatively small population, that nevertheless has left an enormous mark on the history and politics of Japan. Many of the most influential names in the Meiji Restoration, which ended the rule of the Shogun and kicked off Japan’s explosive modernization, were born and educated in Yamaguchi.
Okayama is often overshadowed by its much more famous neighbor, Hiroshima, but it has plenty to offer in its own right. In addition to hosting the second largest city in the Chugoku region, Okayama City, it also serves as a primary transport hub connecting the Sanyo Shinkansen line with rail lines going to Shikoku.
Imagine Kyoto and you are likely to think first of its many shrines, temples, and tranquil gardens. However, Kyoto is almost as famous for its food as for its historical sites.
Sooner or later, you will want to travel, and hit the limit of what a few online articles can tell you; doubly so when most of mine, at least, is just telling you about all sorts of nice places that you should definitely go to some time
Quite possibly the most common conversation I have with friends and family planning trips through Japan (right after 'please base as few assumptions on cartoons as possible), is that they shouldn't give Nara a visit, instead of a total focus on Kyoto.