Move over, Land Down Under! The “Administrative District Down and Off to the Side” of Japan not only looks like you, but can go toe-to-toe with many of your attractions.

A few years ago, the official website for the rural prefecture of Yamaguchi revealed a startling discovery that its shape bore a striking resemblance to the Australian continent. Digging a little deeper they found that many of the features which make Australia great could also be found in Yamaguchi in more or less the same area.


Ayers Rock is the landmark sandstone formation in the center of Australia is a sacred place for the aboriginal people, who refer to it by its original name Uluru. Part of the reverence comes from the bountiful waterholes and cave shelters than can be found in the area. Nowadays, it is a popular tourist attraction for its natural beauty and ancient art.

Image: Wikipedia/Australien-Links

And right near the center of Yamaguchi Prefecture are the unusual rock formations of the Akiyoshidai plateau. This plateau consists of limestone forced up from below sea-level from tectonic movement, and while it’s not rich in waterholes like Ayers Rock, Akiyoshidai is a fountain of fossils and ancient artifacts to researchers.

Image: Wikipedia/Tu-ka-pon

One of the more distinctive trees of the Australian landscape are the massive baobabs. Also native to Madagascar and other parts of Africa, this tree can stand up to 20 meters (66 feet) tall and have a diameter of 10 meters (33 feet). It’s difficult to know the age of these trees because unlike others they have no rings to count but experts estimate over a thousand years in some cases.

Image: Wikipedia/Hamiltonstone

Boababs can be found in the west part of Australia and wouldn’t you know it? The west part of Yamaguchi Prefecture is home to the Kawatana no Kusu Forest. Although called a “forest” it’s actually just a single camphor tree that’s over 1,000 years old with a trunk that 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter and huge branches measuring up to 25 meters (82 feet) long.

Image: Wikipedia/Healing Room Hifumi

Chances are if you were to close your eyes and imagine Australia, the image of the Sydney Opera House next to the Sydney Harbor Bridge would spring to mind. And at just about the same location on the Yamaguchi Prefecture map you will find their landmark Kintai Bridge.

Image: Wikipedia/Urashimataro

Although different in design and lacking the world renown of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the wooden Kintai Bridge is over 300 years old and sure to leave a lasting impression. However, much like the Harbor Bridge, the Kintai Bridge is located near a thriving economic center. They have two soft-serve ice cream shops and a wide range of competitive fried potato croquette vendors.

Image: Yamaguchi Prefecture

Granted there’s no opera house by Yamaguchi’s bridge, but they do have some expressionist architecture in the way of the Shimonoseki Kaiyokan (Aquarium). It’s on the opposite side of the prefecture though which doesn’t unfortunately match up with Sydney. We are none of us perfect.

Image: Wikipedia/MK Products

Along with kangaroos and koalas, emus are a symbolic animal of Australia. They’re even on the country’s coat of arms.

Image: Wikipedia/National Archives of Australia

Yamaguchi Prefecture too has a bunch of emus tucked away on Futaoijima.

Image: Wikipedia/Kamijo Jo

This island is home to only about 100 people but boasts a wonderful array of seafood and an emu farm. The directions to get there can be a little tricky though.

Image: Yamaguchi Prefecture

NOTE: According to the Yamaguchi website Futaoijima also boasts a sizable viper population. If you happen to be squeamish about such snakes, you may want to go in the winter months when they hibernate.

Image: Wikipedia/NASA

The Great Barrier Reef is a natural treasure of Australia that needs no introduction, but who knew that Yamaguchi also claims to have the world’s largest coral reef?

Image: Yamaguchi Prefecture

Okay, granted this is the world’s largest reef of, specifically, Alveopora japonica, also called Nihon Awasango (Japanese Daisy Coral). They don’t really look a whole lot like coral. Also, concrete data regarding Alveopora japonica populations in the world is not known. Nevertheless, if no one else is going to step up, Yamaguchi Prefecture’s just going to go ahead and say they have the most of these things.

Despite coming a long way in getting major franchises in recent years such as 7-Eleven and Pizza Hut. Yamaguchi Prefecture has still yet to get a Burger King restaurant opened.

However, if you want to get really nit-picky about it, Australia technically doesn’t have a Burger King either. Over there you’ll find Hungry Jack’s which is owned by Burger King and has almost the exact same logo, layout, and menu.

Image: Wikipedia/Mr Stan Zemanek

If Yamaguchi really wants to raise a stink about this we may call it a draw, but it’s probably better to call a Whopper a Whopper and just give this one to Australia.

In conclusion, it would seem the little old Yamaguchi Prefecture has pretty much every thing the entire continent of Australia has (except for Chicken Royales) in more or less the same locations. And while it is certainly no replacement for the full Australian experience, for those in Japan who lack the money to fly down under, it’s certainly a more affordable alternative.

Also for Australians who would like to see how your country would look in some alternate universe where everything is Japanese and smaller, Yamaguchi Prefecture is your place!

Source: Yamaguchi Prefecture via Twitter/@chaa_ruu (Japanese)
Top Image: Yamaguchi Prefecture (Edited by RocketNews24)