Japans Hidden Gems Explore a New Destination
Let’s face it that it’s easy to fall into the same tourist trail whenever we travel somewhere for the very first time, especially a place like Japan. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Okinawa, and Hiroshima these are Japan’s hot spots for tourists. But much like our other favorite countries across the world, Japan is full of hidden gems, and some of them are out of this world beautiful and closer you think.
If you have spent a couple of days in Tokyo and are itching to explore a new destination, what’s stopping you from packing a small bag and hopping on the next bullet train? Get off the path and make your way to explore some of Japan’s hidden gems.
Whether you are a first-time traveler or long-time visitor to Japan this list of hidden gems will give you a lot of inspiration to travel beyond the glittering skyscrapers in Tokyo, the temples of Kyoto or even the gorgeous but well-known beaches Okinawa.
Come along as we explore hidden gems of Japan before they get too crowded.
Tottori Sand Dunes:
Japan is full of surprises; you will be shocked to find a desert hiding away in the country’s Tottori Prefecture. A three-hour train ride from Osaka will land you in one of Japan’s most unique hidden gems the Tottori dunes.
Shirakawa Village is nestled in a quiet river valley and surrounded by mountains. Shirakawa goes a nature lover’s four-season wonderland. You will be awed by the cherry blossom trees in spring, lush green fields in summer, brilliant autumn leave in fall and a white Christmas village in winter. For an authentic Japanese experience book a stay in the Gassho-style farmhouses.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has many attractions that will make your stay unforgettable, and the pace of life is meant to be slow in its quaint mountain village. Take your time and walk to the Shiroyama observation deck, and you will be rewarded with soul inspiring views of the peaceful valley.
Takeda Castle is located on a hilltop in Hyogo. The ruins of Takeda Castle is often shrouded in the morning clouds. It has earned its nickname Castle in the sky or the Machu Picchu of Japan. The best season to view this spectacular sight is in autumn between September and December. It can be easily accessed from Kobe or Kyoto city. A day trip to this mysterious place during autumn is one of the best decisions.
Comprising the northern section of Ishikawa Prefecture. The Noto peninsula is home to some of Japan’s most stunning coastal scenery and untouched countryside landscapes. Apart from admiring the natural view, the peninsula offers several spots for fishing, swimming, and camping. The main tourist Wajima city is home to fewer than 30000 people and serves an as beautiful place to experience Japanese small town life.
Just off the southern coast of Kyushu, you will find a hidden getaway that is ancient in every sense of the word. The subtropical island of Yakushima is covered with a massive age-old cedar forest that contains some of Japan’s oldest living trees; the most ancient trees may over 7000 years old.
The area is now a national park and UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Most people come here to relax and hike among the ancient cedar trees. After a day of trekking stay the night in many seaside lodges like Marine Blue, where you can stand on your veranda and watch the sunset melt into the sea. If your timing is right, you can even catch a glimpse of sea turtles laying eggs on the beach.
Ibusuki is located in the Satsuma Peninsula. Ibusuki is famous for its sand baths. Though these baths may sound deceiving, the sand bathers remain clothed and dry throughout the experience. They are given the Yukata robes and are buried under piles of naturally heated sand by steam from all the active tectonic movement in the inner earth. After this short detoxification session bathers often enjoy a little dip at the ocean to wash off the sand.
The capital of Miyazaki Prefecture is located on the southeastern coast of Kyushu. With one of the warmest climates on the main islands of Japan. Don’t miss out on the resorts, beaches, and sports facilities. Miyazaki used to be the top honeymoon spot and a popular destination with domestic travelers until the 1980s.
Shikoku Island is Japan’s smallest significant island, but it’s big on breathtaking views and unspoiled beauty. Thanks to its isolated location just off Honshu. No one ever traveled by or to this little island for centuries until three different bridges which connected Honshu and Shikoku was finally built. This is a hidden gem that often goes overlooked by tourists but is a must for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Kumano Kodo Osaka:
Even though Osaka is known as one of Japans’ busiest cities, a hidden gem can be found nearby. Tucked away in the Kii Mountains you’ll find the ancient and tranquil Kumano Kodo trail (Kodo mean pilgrimage route). This sprawling network of trails spread over the peninsula was a famous pilgrimage to the three main shrines collectively known as Kumano Sanzan. Plan and book a stay at one of the small family run Japanese inns where you can soak in a hot spring called “Onsen” and savor fresh local cuisine that comes from a nearby sea.
Ryusendo is a beautiful limestone cave located in Iwate. It is also known as a national monument. The emerald green lakes in the caves can be admired. It is said the fourth lake is the deepest underground lake in Japan and also one of the most transparent lakes in the world. A Japan hidden gem down under.
Chugoku region of Japan
Chugoku region of Japan makes up the western part of the main island of Honshu and consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. This part of Japan is often overlooked by tourists but is home to some of the Japanese most iconic sites. This place has a fantastic nature, well-preserved samurai castle towns, and magical sacred Islands.
Yamagata prefecture is seen along the Sea of Japan in Southwestern Tohoku area. The county has been known for over 100 hot springs, magnificent mountain ranges, historical sites, and traditional countryside villages. Yamagata prefecture is the place where Japanese traditions are kept so well, and there are many untouched and hidden place. It’s a gem to sit back and relax in “inaka’ atmosphere. if you are tired of the city chaos.