6 Must-Visit Hidden Gems in Japan

After a long year of work, is it any wonder we simply can’t wait for our vacation? It’s a wonderful opportunity to travel someplace nice, see beautiful places, and meet new cultures. So, when traveling, you probably want to avoid tourist traps and see things really worth seeing. However, there’s always the same problem with that idea – how do you do it? In general, tourist agencies will offer trips to well-known, touristy places, which means that you’ll have to take care of the organization if you want to visit something out of ordinary.

If you plan on going to Japan you should know that the popular places such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are well worth the visit. However, if you’re going there for a second time, or for the first time but you don’t find any appeal in big cities, you may want to know about some other beautiful destinations to check out. If that’s the case, keep reading, because we’ve got just the thing for you! These six destinations are one of the most breathtaking Japan has to offer.


Shikoku is one of four major islands of Japan, but in spite of that fact, it’s not very popular among tourists. Boasting marvelous nature, beautiful villages and fantastic udon noodles, this island should definitely be on your list of places to see. There are plenty of things to do as well if you like outdoor activities. You can go hiking and exploring the many castles and shrines, or you can go rafting in one of many rapids on the island. The 88 Sacred Temples of Shikoku are (what a wonder) located on Shikoku as well, so you can go on a Japanese-style pilgrimage.


Another one of the four big islands of Japan, Kyushu is as neglected by tourists as Shikoku. The major city of the island is called Fukuoka, and it is possibly the best place to live in Japan, considering its size, weather, and fantastic public transport. However, it’s not Fukuoka that’s put Kyushu on this list, it’s the island’s many natural beauties. One of the most impressive ones is the volcano of Mt. Aso – and it’s still active! Not too far away is Takachiho, which is famous for the myths that take place there. Takachiho is where Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, hid away to escape her brother, wrapping the world in darkness and making all the other gods come and try to persuade her to return. Nature is no less amazing. On a nice day, you can take a boat ride through the breathtaking gorge of Takachiho.

Tottori Sand Dunes

Out of its many natural wonders, the most surprising one is probably the desert, situated roughly three hours from Osaka. There are several peaks that will give you a magnificent view of the surrounding areas, and the place is fantastic for trekking. If you get tired of walking, however, you can get a camel ride. In Japan. Unbelievable, right?

Nozawa Onsen

For those of you who prefer winter sports, Nozawa Onsen is a beautiful destination. Aside from the wonderful hot springs, there is a fantastic ski resort. It’s a great place for your ski holidays, and it’s tourist-friendly – there are signs in English everywhere, so there’s no way you’ll get lost, and most restaurants offer English menus, so the language barrier is at the minimum.


While the northernmost island of Japan can boast some tourist activity, it not nearly as much as it deserves. For those of you who love nature and spending time outdoors, Hokkaido is a place you definitely shouldn’t miss. The Furano Flower fields are a perfect romantic destination, but you should keep the season in mind – most of the flowers will be in bloom from June to September. However, pretty flowers are not the only thing worth seeing – there are many national parks, amazing wildlife, and you can do many adventure sports on the island as well.


Finally, the last place on this list is Yakushima, a small island near Kyushu. The scenery is like something out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth – lakes, mountains, lush green forests, and stunning waterfalls. This is yet another place that’s good for trekking, but you can also go diving around the island, and if you’re lucky you can see some of the sea turtles living there, or other, equally amazing marine life. When you get tired, go and visit some of the hot springs and recharge. With its tranquility and undisputed beauty, Yakushima is definitely one of the must-see places in Japan.

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how to spend your holiday in Japan. There is no way you’ll regret visiting any of these destinations, so plan your trip well, pack your bags, and have fun!

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Written by Stella Ryne

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