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Muroran, Japan

Scenically sited on the tip of Japan’s Hokkaido Island, Muroran is on Uchiura Bay, a protected natural harbor spanned by the dramatic cable-suspension Hakucho Bridge. There are plenty of attractions in and around the town, including the cliff-top Observatory at Cape Chikyu overlooking the sea, the volcanic Jigoku-Dani caldera called “Hell Valley,” and a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people. The Bay is famous for aquaculture of scallops, and nearby is the Lake Toya National Park, a nearly circular lake in an extinct volcanic caldera, with the active Mt. Usu smoking in the horizon.