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Amami Oshima (Naze), Japan

Situated off the coast of Kagoshima, this picturesque island is blessed with a subtropical climate, beaches with "star sand," and an abundance of flora and fauna. But there is more to this island than just its scenic beauty. Amami Oshima has inspired an arts and crafts culture that is as rich as its heritage. The cultural center at Amami Park is usually one of the first places visitors come to, as it contains the Museum of Amami where you can find detailed information about local customs, traditional culture, and the history of the Amami Islands. Another popular site is the Tanaka Isson Memorial Museum, which celebrates this famed Japanese painter's career and his ties to the island. Other artistic endeavors woven into the culture include the richly dyed tsumugi textiles, which date back more than 1,300 years. These fabrics are famous for being used to make high-quality kimonos. Music is a large part of the island's identity and it is known for its shimauta (island songs), accompanied by the sanshin, a three-stringed musical instrument. A mouthwatering variety of tropical foods can be found in the restaurants and local markets, particularly the passion fruit, cultivated in the warm southern climate, are exceptionally delicious.

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