Off the beaten track in Japan

Off the beaten track in Japan is your guide to interesting places in Japan that don’t get many visitors (or at least many foreign visitors).

Goko Five Lakes, Shiretoko National Park
Hot spring in winter, Shirabu Onsen
Lanterns on a Neputa float, Hirosaki
Hot spring in the Oku-Hida Onsen Villages
Temple roofs in Mt. Koya
Bizen‘s famous pottery
Vine bridge across Iya Valley
Iron chains down Mt. Ishizuchi
Kondoi Beach on Taketomi

. . . Off the beaten track in Japan . . .

This is not really an itinerary unless you have a couple of months and unlimited funds at your disposal but rather a listing of interesting places scattered around Japan. Find the region you’ll be visiting below, and see if you can work in a few of these into your own itinerary. From north to south:

  • OdaibaTokyo‘s newest district on a reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay, very popular among Japanese but still under the radar for most foreigners
  • Kawasaki dull industrial Tokyo suburb known for the inimitable Iron Penis Festival (April) and its home shrine
  • Oku-Hida Onsen Villages luxurious hot springs nestled in the Japan Alps
  • Ono castles and temples without the tourists
  • Sado Island place of exile and gold mines, now featuring the yearly Earth Celebration and the self-proclaimed Alcohol Republic
  • Eiheiji Temple head temple of the Soto Zen School of Buddhism. It was founded in 1244 by Zen Master Dogen.
  • Kiso Valley Area in southwestern Nagano Prefecture / eastern Gifu Prefecture. Contains a fairly well-preserved section of the old Nakasendo (mountain road used for traveling between Tokyo and Kyoto in olden times) as well as two checkpoint towns, Magome and Tsumago. Going between the two towns makes for a nice hiking day-trip. Onsen abound as well.

. . . Off the beaten track in Japan . . .

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. . . Off the beaten track in Japan . . .

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