You already know Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka; all those cities composing the usual tourist trip in Japan. Those places are full of wonders and curiosities. But after visiting what everybody knows, you might want to try something else. After all, Japan is full of secrets waiting to be discovered by you!
Not a lot of people know about them even if they are full of charm and beauty. If you wish to learn more about what Japan has to offer, you should discover those gems at least once in your life. From trekking adventures to relaxing times in a hot spring, here are 5 amazing places in Japan you didn’t know existed.
Located in Hyogo prefecture, Kinosaki is a very small city bathing in traditions. Speaking of baths, what makes Kinosaki so special is the presence of its seven onsens! Each one is different from the other. One is an outside onsen when you can soak in a cypress wood bath for another. Many locals go there for a relaxing time.
You can wear a yukata while enjoying Kinosaki, walking around its main river surrounded by Momiji and Sakura, or eating its specialties. You can have a delicious crab during winter, also called matsuba gani in Japanese. Or you can try the Tajima beef full of flavors.
Kinosaki is easy to reach. From Osaka or Kyoto, it is around 2 hours and 30 minutes by Limited Express train. Because the train line is own by the JR company, you can use the JR Pass without a problem.
Located in the South of Japan, Okinawa is composed of its main island and smaller ones. Okinawa is often said to be the Japanese Hawaii. The island wears well its nickname. Starting from March, Okinawa is a paradise with white beaches and blue ocean. So if you like to lay down on the beach or do scuba diving, you might want to go there.
Many things can be done and visited in Okinawa. There is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in the world. You can also visit the Pineapple park, the Gusuku ruins or the Ryukyu Mora Village to learn more about Okinawa’s history.
Okinawa’s food is a delight. Okinawa soba is the signature dish of the island. Rafute (pork rib dish) is another famous food of Okinawan cuisine. As for dessert, its sweet potato pie is so tasty!
Located in Kagoshima prefecture, Yakushima is one of the Osumi Islands. You can access the island by ferry or by plane. The most famous attraction here is the cedar forest. You will find here 1000 years old trees. The oldest one may be over 7000 years old! Some areas of the forest have even become a World Heritage Site.
This island is for people who love Miyazaki’s movies, especially Princess Mononoke. The forest’s of Yakushima inspired the forest setting.
With its high mountains and forest tracks, Yakushima is a dream for the ones who love trekking and nature.
Located on Shikoku the fourth island, Matsuyama is the main city of Ehime Prefecture. There are a lot of historical sites to visit there. If you wish to learn more about Japan history, you might want to take a flight to Matsuyama city.
Matsuyama Castle is one of its biggest attractions with Dogo Onsen. The last one is the oldest hot spring in Japan with 3000 years of existence! The building is charming and rustic.
You can easily access Matsuyama city by plane or by train. The railroad is own by the JR company, so you can use the JR Pass to go there.
Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone is mainly known for its beautiful scenery during all four seasons. You will find there museums, landscapes, and hot springs.
You can visit the astonishing Lake Ashi and its pirate ship. Or you can take the Hakone Ropeway to enjoy a nice scenery of Mount Fuji while going to the volcanic valley called Owakudani.
Hakone is reachable from Tokyo by train. It only takes 70 minutes with the Odakyu Odawara Line. A popular “Hakone Free Pass” is available at Shinjuku Station and Odawara station to have free access to most forms of transports inside Hakone.
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