Japan has over 40 prefectures, and each one of them offers a unique adventure! My blog’s articles on Life in Japan have gone into detail about the rich Japanese culture as well as the amazing quality of their products. You can experience what Japan has to offer in popular cities like Tokyo or Osaka but to see another side of it, you should head to the countryside. These Japanese rural towns present great destinations and unforgettable experiences, minus the crazy packs of tourists. In line with this, here are three reasons why it’s worth traveling to rural Japan.
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Why Should You Travel to the Rural side of Japan?
1. Fresh and Delicious Food
Japanese restaurants always serve high-quality food, but these dishes taste even better in rural Japanese villages with their locally sourced ingredients. For instance, the ramen in the rural Wakayama prefecture is served with freshly made noodles and a warm soup mixed with soy sauce and pork bone broth.
Towns near the countryside use the freshest fish for their sashimi, so the food melts in your mouth without leaving an aftertaste! You can also try fresh fugu, or pufferfish, which is found in ports like Shimonoseki.
2. Stunning Natural Landscapes
As one of the cleanest countries in the world, Japan features gorgeous natural landscapes, many of which you can find in the countryside. ExpatBets’ guide to Japan shares that you will instantly feel tranquility and serenity once you see the stunning scenery tucked away in rural Japanese towns. The guide highlights Higashinaruse in Akita lauded as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan. It serves as one of the gateways to the Kurikoma Quasi-National Park, where you’ll find the majestic Oya River surrounded by luscious greenery.
Japan travel guides also emphasize the beauty of the Japanese seaside, since the country has over 6,000 islands! Head over to coastal towns so that you can enjoy the clean air and pristine beaches.
3. Friendly People
Many locals aren’t proficient in speaking other languages, so it’s best to have an application that translates Japanese to English. Even so, the language barrier isn’t much of an issue because the locals are warm and inviting.
Plenty of locals living in rural Japanese villages are more than willing to help tourists with directions and accommodations. They’re even open to greeting you when you pass by them on the street. Because compared to the fast-paced life in Japan’s metropolis, living in the countryside tends to be more relaxed. So, it’s easier for you to make friends with the locals.
5 Rural Places You Should Visit
Kawagoe is less than an hour outside of Tokyo. It’s a rural Japanese town that’s perfect for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Since Kawagoe was very prominent during the Edo period, there are tons of well-preserved sites from that time, such as the Kitain Temple and Warehouse District. Plus, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, they have an entire alley filled with candy stores!
Another fan favorite, Hakone is a town that offers verdant green landscapes. Those who want to view the beautiful Japanese countryside can just hop on Japan’s Hakone Tozan Railway to access tourist attractions like hot springs and traditional inns. Additionally, the train passes through the forest, where you’ll get to see the orange hues of autumn or the whites of winter. You can also wait for June or July to spot the blooming hydrangeas that surround the railway tracks.
You’ll have to hop on a plane to get to this hidden gem in the Japanese countryside, but the trouble is worth it. Ishigaki has tons of snorkeling and diving spots where you can marvel at colorful coral reefs. You can also kayak to explore the rivers of Ishigaki. Apart from the fun activities, Japan’s southernmost island also offers scrumptious foods, like champuru or vegetable stir-fry, as well as a shaved ice dessert called kakigori. For a more hands-on experience, head over to the Marutaka Farm to take a farm-to-table cooking class. You even get to eat what you cook up!
4. Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi
Kawaguchiko Lake is a must-visit place if you want to get a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. With the direct transport from Tokyo, it is one of the easiest and most popular to visit especially in Autumn and Spring. Top sights in Kawaguchi-ko include Fuji Moss Phlox Festival, Fuji-Q High land Theme park, and Kachi kachi Ropeway. You can’t miss the famous food Houto Fudou.
5. Takayama, Gifu
Takayama is located in the mountains of Gifu prefecture. It offers preserved old towns, hot springs, and wooded buildings. If you want to add a rural element to your itineraries, you should visit Takayama. It has gained popularity because it retains the traditional touch of its towns. The place got historic and wooden buildings and let’s not forget the Takayama festivals.
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OVER TO YOU
The Japanese countryside is filled with beautiful sights and delicious foods that are mostly under the radar. It has so much to offer to visitors. Hopefully, the pandemic ends soon so we can travel again. Through this Japan travel guide, you’ll get a glimpse of the beauty that rural Japanese towns have to offer.
Japan has so much more to offer. Explore the country, imbibe with culture and gain unique experiences and bring home some Omiyage (souvenirs) for your friends and family. If you want to come to understand more of the Japanese culture, you check out cultural codes to better understand the Japanese culture.
TokyoTreat is a subscription-based service that delivers you a box full of unique and fun Japanese snacks every month. Each box contains a hand-picked collection of Japanese candies, DIY kits, traditional Dagashi snacks, and savory snacks and drinks for you to enjoy.
Have you ever been to Japan? If not, I encourage you to, at least once in your life. Here are more reasons to do visit Japan. Which of the rural places mentioned above would you visit?