Tsuzumigaura Park aka Sea Glass Beach Iwakuni

Tsuzu aka Tsuzumigaura Park aka Sea Glass Beach Iwakuni

Really close to base on Highway 188

Go out main gate

Take left at “4 corners” onto 188

Follow it down for a while

When you see this big white arrow sign on the left turn left

Go down a residential looking road

Parking is FREE

Lovely beach for beach combing but not necessarily swimming

Pet friendly if you keep pets on leash

Fun for a small hike up the top of the mountain to see a great view of the coastline

Fun playground for kids - the swings have a lovely view of the ocean!

Hours they are open are from 0800-2000



Bornelund aka Kid-O-Kid Indoor Kids Play Place Chain All Over Japan

Bornelund aka Kid-O-Kid Indoor Kids Play Place Chain All Over Japan

Indoor play area for kids aged 6 months to 12 years

There is one inside the Pacela mall in Hiroshima which is the closest to Iwakuni Base

6F Pacela, Motomachi Credo 6-78, Motomachi, Naka-ku Hiroshima city 

Tel: 082-502-3434 (shop: 082-502-3411)

Official Website (in Japanese): https://www.bornelund.co.jp/

  • Lockers available for free to keep bags and valuables

  • Drink machines are inside the play area in a break area

  • Toilets are outside the play place nearby

  • Pictures and videos are allowed inside

  • Credit cards are accepted


  • Kids (all ages) ¥600 yen for the first 30 minutes and ¥100 for each additional 10 minutes.

  • Adults pay ¥300 to get in and sit and watch (unfortunately no adult massage chairs like Pure Heart Kids has at Alpark Mall)

  • FREE PASS: During the summer months (7/20-9/1) you can buy a "Free Pass" to enter as often as you like for 1 day: ¥1,500 or 1 month: ¥4,200 for 1 child or ¥3,500 if registering more than one child in a family at the same time. (Parents can enter for free if using a "free pass")

  • Kid-O-Kid Play Area Open: 10-19:00 everyday (sign in by 18:30). The BorneLund shop is open a bit longer from 10:00-20:00

Tecchan Tempura Restaurant Iwakuni

One of Tonya’s favorite places to eat in Iwakuni! The absolute BEST tempura my spouse and I have had in Japan - and he was born and raised in Japan!!! The dipping sauce is amazing!!!

The sauce they give with it is the best tempura sauce I’ve ever had. 

Yes super fresh! They come around with the basket of fresh fried tempura and give everyone their round of whatever they just made if you ordered it.

They put shredded diachon in the sauce

You can ask for more sauce and more shredded diachon added into the sauce also

Try the green tea salt on your tempura - its delicious!

Tonya’s favorite is the yellow pickles - I eat them instead of rice.

They will ask you if you want small, medium or large size portion of rice if you order a lunch set. There is a picture on the wall you could look at for sizes and point to.

The tempura quality is really good and half the price of what’s offered if you get tempura in a restaurant 

Their menu consists of a lot of things they get fresh from the local fisherman’s market

In months that includes “R” they feature tempura fried oysters on their menu also ...delicious if you like fried oysters


Tecchan Tempura Restaurant Iwakuni

あつあつ揚立てっちゃん 南岩国店
〒740-0034 Yamaguchi, Iwakuni, Minamiiwakunimachi, 2-chōme−4, 南岩国町2-4-8


Facial by Acupuncture at Tsubaki Acupuncture & Athletic Massage Clinic Iwakuni

Facial by Acupuncture at Tsubaki Acupuncture & Athletic Massage Clinic Iwakuni

Today Tonya, one of our team members, received her first facial by acupuncture!

It did not hurt! I swear!!!

Cosmetic acupuncture uses the body's own healing mechanisms to stimulate the production of collagen.

Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points that help relax tight muscles and strengthen elongated muscles. This restores the natural function of the muscles and results in a more lifted and toned appearance.

The International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported in a recent study of 300 people, 270 perceived a marked decrease of facial wrinkles after just one treatment. Their skin felt firmer to the touch and elasticity was improved.

The results were amazing! I had a stuffy nose and congested head. My stuffy nose and sinus congestion went away immediately and has not come back after the facial acupuncture!

Alternative to Botox to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles !


1 Chome-10-10 Nishimi, Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi-ken 741-0061

Karan Koron Kimono Rental, Professional Dressing and Accessories for Sale, Cafe & Antique Shop - Iwakuni

Create the memory of a lifetime and take professional photos on location with kimonos!

This shop is conveniently located steps away from the Kintai bridge!

Take the photo of a lifetime while here in Japan with the family in kimonos on location!    Amazing photography by: Eve & Juniper Studios

Take the photo of a lifetime while here in Japan with the family in kimonos on location!

Amazing photography by: Eve & Juniper Studios

This shop can professionally dress you and your ENTIRE family in kimonos with their rentals at a reasonable price! You can even provide your own kimonos if you have them and they will put them on. They can also sell or rent you any accessories you need for your kimono. This shop is conveniently located so if you want to put kimonos on and take photos down at the Kintai area its much easier than putting a kimono on and then wearing it in your car to go down to the Kintai area to take photos!

They have an antiques shop and cafe downstairs if you want to pop in and buy some souvenirs or even purchase Japanese kimono accessories! This is a fun little shop to explore down by the Kintai! The owner speaks limited English but her assistant speaks more. Explore Translation can help you translate and tell them your sizes (even convert shoes sizes) for a nominal fee!

Tonya our team member used Explore Translation to contact Karan Koron to tell them her 3 little girls sock and shoes sizes. Saori, the owner of Explore Translation, converted all the American sock and shoe sizes from US to Japanese sizes. The shop also sold Tonya little Japanese purses to match the kimonos Tonya owned for her children. The kids also had fun trying on and shopping for the hair accessories they also can rent or sell at their shop. It was so much fun to explore around and amazing how many kimono and accessories they have upstairs! The antique shop was also cool to explore around and Tonya and her kids also enjoyed some drinks and snacks in the cafe downstairs.

  • Steps away from the Kintai Bridge. 

  • Reasonable prices, nice helpful staff. 

  • You can get a large selection of secondhand but excellent used condition kimono and accessories for all ages and sizes for great prices!

  • They also do professional kimono dressing for you for a reasonable price with either your kimono or one they rent or sell you 

  • They are the main folks who do kimono rental and dressing for the big kimono events they have at the Kintai Bridge

  • Karan Koron can rent men, women’s and children’s kimonos (age 1 and older)

  • Karan Koron shop steps away from the Kintai Bridge rents out kimonos for 3,000-20,000yen. 

  • This price includes them professionally dressing you in their kimono and also they can help you take it off

  • Consider them for your next photo shoot on location!!!!!

  • The bottom level is a cafe and antique shop that is fun to explore if you are down by the Kintai

  • Pop upstairs if you want to shop for any cute kimono purses etc!

  • But some great souvenirs from Japan for yourself or family and friends

  • Kimono accessories include purses, shoes, kimono socks.

  • Great selection of excellent used condition adults and kids kimono socks, shoes and purses.

  • Contact Explore Translation for a small fee she can tell the shop what you are looking for and sizes for kimonos and accessories

時代屋 からんころん
1-chōme-4-11 Iwakuni, Yamaguchi 741-0062


Hachigamine Park - Iwakuni area

Hachigamine Park is a super fun park really close to Iwakuni base which is easy to drive to !

It is many base peoples go-to place to take the kids which is close to base and has a lot of fun things to do for kids and adults alike!

The roller slide here is one of the longest roller slides in Japan! The view from the top is absolutely amazing as it is on top of a mountain with an ocean view. Go during cherry blossom “sakura” season and there a bunch of cherry blossom trees on each side of the beginning of the roller slides and it is absolutely an amazing experience!

Besides roller slides, they have bunnies at the bottom of the roller slide you can see and feed and sometimes pet. They have multiple playgrounds, ride on coin operated cars with different themes for each car, a choo-choo train ride, a dinosaur statue park (some of the dinosaurs you can even press a button and they will roar for you!), rose garden festival in May, many seasonal events, there is an obstacle course, a ferris wheel you can ride and much much more!

Some things such as the ferris wheel and train rides are only available on the weekends and Japanese holidays.

The visitors center is where you pay for your admission tickets and the sign is in English as to the pricing and activities you can do. Included in your roller slide rental are some blue pads you can use so your hind parts aren’t so sore from the rollers :)) For the price of one roller slide ticket each person gets 3 slides down the roller slide.

They also have a snack shop with ice cream, pizza and cafe style food as well as vending machines with ice cream and drinks.

The park is spread out into 3 different locations with parking at each location.

The first park you come to has a horse you can ride on on Sundays in the afternoon we were told. It also has a red choo-choo train which does not move as well as static airplane display and playground.

The second park you come to which has its own parking has the bunnies, roller slides, ride on coin operated cars and the obstacle course and soccer field.

The third park you have to bear to the left when you see the big Hachigamine bee sign and drive up the mountain and park at its own lot. There you will find the actual choo-choo train ride you can ride on, as well as the ferris wheel and dinosaur playground and statues.

The rose garden is located near the main ticket counter near where the roller slides and large field is. There is also an amazing traditional small Japanese house with tatami mats there too.

The roller slides has a elevator like ride you can ride to get to the top of the mountain or you can opt to climb the stairs.

“Hachi” means bee in Japanese, hence the logo of the park having a picture of a bee on it.

Have a blast!!! I know we sure have every time we have gone!

HOW Kids Play Place in Kitakyusu

HOW Kids Play Place in Kitakyusu is a really fun indoor kids play place inside Com City mall on the 7th floor.

This indoor childrens play place has an arts and crafts center with multiple senior volunteers leading and helping children with the crafts. They also have a separate play room for babies and toddlers to play in with age appropriate toys. There are huge ball pits and play structures indoors. There is also bigger kids games to play. Vending machines with snacks, ice cream and drinks are available. The mall also has a variety of dining and shopping options.

This is close to the Wisteria Gardens if your kids 12 and under want to burn off some energy before driving back to base . You could also visit Green Park and How kids play place if you wanted to make a weekend trip in Kitakyushu area which is Northern Kyushu on the way heading south towards Fukuoka coming from Iwakuni base.

15-3, Kurosaki 3Chome
Yahatanishi-Ku, Kitakyushu-Shi, Fukuoka
Japan 806-0021

Wisteria Tunnel, Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan

One of the top tourist attractions in Southern Japan!

Be sure to add it to your bucket list!

Explore Translation is happy to announce that we will assist you in purchasing tickets for Wisteria Garden in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka!  Wisteria tickets are usually on sale mid to late April to early May each year depending on the bloom predictions each year.

Hours : 08:00-18:00
Ticket price : 500/adult (High school students or younger kids...free)
*You will have to pay the difference (¥500-1000/person) depending on the state of the season. 

The base price for the tickets is 500 yen but if the Wisteria is at full bloom they will charge an extra fee of 500-1000 yen before you enter the gardens the day of your ticket reservation.

You can either drive a vehicle to the gardens or take the Shinkansen and local trains down. It is possible to go the Yahata train station and catch a FREE shuttle to the Wisteria gardens (if you show them your advance purchase Wisteria tickets).

If you are considering staying overnight the night before your Wisteria viewing consider staying at ART hotel. 

It’s known for its Garden View and has the Wisteria listed as one of its main attractions. Located in Yahata

The prices for hotel rooms do increase when it is peak Wisteria bloom and many do get sold out quickly.


There is a free shuttle from Yahata Station (located by the Family mart area)

  • Just show your Wisteria tickets in order to board the shuttle

  • Only use the free shuttle to Wisteria at Yahata Station if you don’t have a car


Kawachi Wisteria Garden
〒805-0045 Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Yahatahigashi-ku, Kawachi, 2-chōme−2, 河内2丁目2−48


Museum of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii Oshima

Museum of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii Oshima

Tells the history of how many Japanese on Oshima island were recruited to go work on the plantations in Hawai’i but then some came back to home to Oshima afterwards.

There are many references to Hawaii around Suo-Oshima island and this is why.


Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii
Kamikatayama-2144 Nishiyashiro, Suooshima, Ōshima-gun, Yamaguchi 742-2103


Hotel Sunshine Sanzanseto Hotel & Resort & Day Use Onsen - Oshima Island near Iwakuni

Escape to an island only 45 minutes from Iwakuni base with strong ties with and influences from Hawai’i.

  • Day use onsen and indoor pool is available

  • In room private onsens also available in some hotel rooms

  • Tattoo friendly for small to medium sized tattoos which you cover

  • The resort can sell you up to 3 covers for your tattoos or you can provide your own

  • CREDO on base has held their marriage retreats here

  • July-August Saturday night hula shows

  • Restaurant inside the hotel offers a breakfast buffet

  • You can opt to dine in the Japanese yuktata robe the hotel room provides you to borrow for breakfast and dinner if you are staying as a guest (optional) to get a fully relaxing experience

  • Bicycle rentals are available if you wish to ride along the nicely paved boardwalk along the beach

  • Massage chairs and karaoke also available next to the onsens and indoor pool area

Oshima is an island on the Seto Island inland sea. Many of its residents ancestors use to live and work in Hawai’i, as they were recruited to come over to work on the sugar cane plantations for while, before they returned back home. When they returned they brought many Hawai’ian influences back to Oshima including the cuisine, decorations, and Aloha feel to the island.

Hotel Sunshine Sanzanseto is a great hotel and resort getaway. Its location is absolutely beautiful with a long paved boardwalk to rent bikes at the resort and ride or walk along the boardwalk. The beach is gorgeous and lined with palm trees. The water quality is clean and the beach is lovely to enjoy. There are shops along the “strip” and there is also a mini red torii gate on the beach if you drive just past the hotel on your left hand side. In the spring there are gorgeous cherry blossoms “sakura” lining the road along the coast heading past the hotel which is one of the top cherry blossom viewing locations in Yamaguchi Prefecture besides the Kintai bridge area.

Tonya and her family had Saori san the owner of Explore Translation book them a room as she got a better discount than booking on their own. Tonya has also taken her girlfriends for day-use of the indoor and outdoor onsens for a girls day getaway. Saori san called the resort in advance to let them know we wanted to do day use of the onsens.

Hotel Sunshine is one of the very few onsens in the area which will allow tattoos.

Its a great place and we hope you will enjoy it for a close getaway from base!

Apple Picking at Shiramatsuringo Orchards

A great place to go apple picking in the fall!

We can call to reserve you a spot! Reservations required and this place does book up!

Tonya and her family have picked apples here and they were way better tasting than what you can buy in the stores and much larger!

They put these high quality apples in the fancy expensive gift packages of fruit that people give to each other as gifts 

There were quite a few middle to older age ladies there to help Tonya’s children out so her and her husband could also enjoy picking and sitting and relaxing and eating apples. They had outdoor tables and chairs in the orchard to sit and enjoy all you can pick and eat. 

The place was serene and peaceful and not crowded.

We can book you for a small fee a reservation in the fall to pick all you can eat apples plus buying what you wish to take home!

You can also buy items in their gift shop made from their apples

***Iwakuni area***

Shiramatsuringo Orchards
Kurata-391-12 Atōtokusashimo, Yamaguchi, 759-1513


Hibikinada Green Park in Kitakyushu

Hibikinada “Green Park” in Kitakyushu commonly just referred to as “Green Park” in Northern Kyusu.

This park has many fun things to do including bike rentals and a bike trail which goes around a lake, across a red bridge, past a red pagoda. There is a little zoo with wallabys you can interact with. Seasonal events and flowers, playgrounds, paddle boats, and much much more!


Cycling Land
Only open on Saturdays, Sundays and JP holidays.
¥300/person to rent for 30 minutes.

Paddling boat

¥600 for 2 people or ¥800 for 3, for 20 minutes. Additional ¥300 for 2 or ¥400 for 3 to rent for an additional 10 minutes.

This is in the Northern part Kyushu island about ~~~3 hours from Iwakuni base

1006 Takenami, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 808-0121


Ooshima Honjinjaya Hot Pot Oshima Island - Iwakuni

Looking for more dining options when you visit Oshima island?

Check out this “hot pot” nabe and sukiyaki restaurant tucked away on top of a mountain very close to the green bridge!

Beautiful mountaintop panoramic views of the ocean and green bridge!

Our command recently had about 50 people reserve this entire place for a lunch while touring the island on a base rented tour bus! Its a great place for large groups to stop or even just your family!

There is a historical drum in the ceiling which is from the Japanese military and was on the Japanese sailing ships a long time ago.

The ingredients for the hot pot are all you can eat and laid out in a buffet style for you to put on your plate what you wish to throw into the pot to cook at your table.

The staff will bring you a plate full of thinly sliced meat (beef, pork, etc) for you to put in the pot depending on what you order.

There is also Japanese beef curry on the unlimited bar to get that is mild and kid friendly.

There is a resident cat who is always there to welcome you.

They have plenty of parking on two different mountain levels and parking is free. The upper parking lot is a bit steep so be sure to use your parking brake!


10-1, Nishimigama
Suooshima-Cho, Oshima-Gun, Yamaguchi
Japan 742-2101

Directions from Iwakuni Base:

At 4 corners take left onto 188
Go all the way down along ocean front highway
Cross over the green bridge to Suo Oshima
Take left at Suo Oshima “Hollywood” style sign
Restaurant will be on your right not too far down


Setouchi Jam's Garden - Suo "Oshima" Island - Iwakuni

A fun stop while exploring Suo- “Oshima” Island near Iwakuni base!

They have a small jam making factory on site which is fun to watch through the windows!

They have a gift shop where you can sample many of their jams before you decide which one to purchase

My personal favorite jam is the English tea leaf infused apple jam - it is delicious!

Their cafe has a great drink, dessert and light food selection.

In one nook of their cafe they have a very cute little child’s wooden kitchen set along with book shelves to keep the kids entertained while you dine. They even have a little rocking horse for little children too!

The telescope inside the cafe is fun to peep through and spy on whats going on at some of the surrounding Seto Islands in the distance!

Lovely views from your table overlooking the ocean!

Pet friendly if you have your fuzzy family with you as they do have “pet parking” hooks for pet leashes in their outdoor seating area.

My kids and I love to go after the cafe to run around on the beach across the street from the cafe. Its a lovely view looking out at the ocean and back at the shoreline!

They have a lot of seasonal specialty items on their menu as well.

Setouchi Jam’s Garden
Location: 331-8 Hikuma, Suooshima, Oshima district, Yamaguchi prefecture
PHONE: 0820-73-0002
Open: 10.00-18.00 (From November to the end of March, open until 17.00)
Closed: Wednesdays (However, Thursdays is jam selling only)
Website: http://www.jams-garden.com/ (Japanese)

Date Night & Special Occasion Reservations & Requests - Iwakuni

Let us assist you for your next date night reservation!

date nite ad.jpg

Who needs a date nite?
Ready to try a new restaurant?
Special occasion?
Want special writing on your dessert plate?
Explore Translation can help you make a reservation and special requests (allergies, flower delivery, etc.) for a nominal fee!

Check out our latest blogs for “date nite” or even “lunch date” ideas!

We can also arrange without any service fee flowers from Bikouen Flower Shop to be delivered to the restaurant for FREE (restrictions apply = must be a $30 or more flower arrangement, and within a certain radius of Iwakuni city area, inquire for more details)



Special Occasions

Just Because

Don’t let the language barrier hold you back from trying someplace special dine!

We can call anyplace you like to make a reservation.

However, these are just a few restaurants we would like to recommend:

Nishikigawa French Restaurant

Miya Restaurant

Trattoria Cinque Ponte



“Fish Tank” Uhei

….and much more!

Trattoria Cinque Ponte - Iwakuni

Looking for a new date night restaurant?

A special place for your anniversary, birthday or special occasion?

Let Explore Translation book your reservation for this restaurant for a nominal fee!

This restaurant also has great lunch sets!

This restaurant also has a GREAT wine and alcohol selection!

This restaurant can tailor the menu and even the set menus to accommodate allergies and requests If you don’t want seafood, fish or shellfish they can substitute other items even for set menus

Located in downtown Iwakuni where there is plenty of nite life after dinner to enjoy - or if you visit during lunch there is plenty of interesting shops to explore before or after lunch.

They have their own FREE parking lot next to the restaurant so its easy to park.

There are many karaoke boxes near this restaurant and a lot of night life options We recommend this karaoke box with free parking They have lots of English song options. They also do not require you to make a membership card which makes it easier. 4-11, Marifumachi 6-Chōme Iwakuni-Shi, Yamaguchi Japan 740-0018

**Just one item to note - the building this restaurant is located in does have a bar which is unique to Japan - some bars in Japan have women who are there to talk to men and encourage them to buy more drinks and they get commission of their drink sales. So as you enter the building there are posters with pictures of ladies on them with provactive clothes (short shorts, club outfits) and provacative poses. Word of caution if bringing children to eat for lunch or dinner here. This restaurant did have younger Japanese children dining in it for lunch, but perhaps older children may question the posters as they approach this building :) I would not let these posters deter you from going, however, the food was amazing! The atmosphere was great and the classic rock American music made my spouse and I feel like we were on a date in the states!


10-11, Marifumachi 3-Chome
Iwakuni 740-0018