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Article Published on: 15 MAR 2023 |

When most people think of Japan, their minds immediately conjure up images of Tokyo – the bustling metropolis that never sleeps. However, there is so much more to Japan than just its capital city. If you're looking to experience the true essence of this fascinating country, you need to venture beyond Tokyo and explore the stunning countryside. From quaint traditional villages to majestic mountain ranges, there is so much to see and do in rural Japan.

One of the most popular destinations for travelers exploring Japan's countryside is Kyoto. This ancient city was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years and is home to an abundance of temples, shrines, and historic sites. Highlights include the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is known for its thousands of bright orange torii gates, and the Kinkaku-ji Temple, which features a stunning golden pavilion set amid a tranquil pond.


Another must-visit destination in rural Japan is the town of Takayama. Nestled in the heart of the Japanese Alps, Takayama is a beautifully preserved example of a traditional Japanese town. The old town area is lined with narrow streets and wooden buildings, many of which date back to the Edo period. Visitors can explore the town's many museums, browse the local markets, or simply wander around the picturesque streets.


For those who love nature and outdoor activities, the Japanese countryside is a veritable paradise. One of the most popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts is the Japanese Alps. This mountain range stretches across central Honshu and is home to some of the best hiking trails in Japan. The most famous hike is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which takes visitors through stunning mountain scenery, including snow walls that can reach up to 20 meters in height.

Another popular destination for nature lovers is the island of Yakushima. This subtropical island is located off the coast of Kyushu and is known for its lush forests and stunning waterfalls. The island is also home to some of the oldest trees in the world, including the Jomon Sugi – a massive cedar tree that is estimated to be over 2,000 years old.

If you're looking for a truly unique experience in rural Japan, consider visiting one of the country's many onsen towns. Onsen is the Japanese term for hot springs, and these towns are built around natural hot springs that are believed to have healing properties. Some of the most popular onsen towns include Kusatsu, Hakone, and Beppu. Visitors can soak in the hot springs, indulge in traditional Japanese meals, and relax in a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn).

In rural areas, you'll find many examples of traditional Japanese architecture, including wooden buildings with thatched roofs and paper-covered sliding doors. You can also experience traditional Japanese arts and crafts, such as pottery, calligraphy, and kimono-making.

While Tokyo is undoubtedly an amazing city, there is so much more to Japan than just its capital. Exploring the countryside is a wonderful way to experience the country's rich history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, the Japanese countryside has something for everyone. So next time you visit Japan, be sure to venture beyond Tokyo and discover the beauty of rural Japan.

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