Best Places to Visit in Japan: Off the Beaten Path Addition

Let’s embark on a thrilling journey through the Land of the Rising Sun, where we’ll uncover some of Japan’s best-kept secrets and offbeat attractions. Get ready to explore a side of Japan that goes beyond the typical tourist trail and discover the hidden gems that make this country truly extraordinary.

 

Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Kyoto

 

Takayama

Nestled amidst the majestic Japanese Alps lies the charming town of Takayama. From Tokyo take a 4-hour train journey to Takayamaa and step back in time as you wander through the streets of the Sanmachi Siju district. Admire the beautifully preserved Edo-period merchant houses, each telling its own historical story. Grab a bite of thecdelicious Japanese street food and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Takayama Festival, held in spring and autumn. Ready to go? Learn more about visa requirements here.

Naoshima

Prepare to have your senses dazzled as you set foot on the enchanting island of Naoshima. This small gem in the Seto Inland Sea has transformed into an open-air art museum, thanks to the visionary efforts of the Benesse Corporation. Admire the contemporary art installations nestled within the stunning landscapes of the island. Explore the iconic Chichu Art Museum, a masterpiece designed by legendary architect Tadao Ando. Rent a bike and cruise around, stumbling across hidden art treasures ready to be explored along the way.

Koyasan

Find serenity and peace amidst Koyasan’s lush cedar forests. This town has profound spiritual significance, and is home to the sacred Okunoin Cemetery, a mesmerising place where ancient tombstones stand beneath the shade of towering trees. Follow the lantern-lit path, creating an ethereal ambience that whispers tales of bygone times. Stay overnight in a traditional temple lodging, known as shukubo, and awaken your senses with morning prayers alongside the resident monks.

Fukuoka

Venture south to the vibrant city of Fukuoka, where culture and cuisine intertwine. Indulge in a gastronomic adventure at the lively Yanagibashi Market, brimming with tantalising street food stalls. Sample the iconic Hakata ramen, a bowl of steaming noodles in a rich, flavourful broth. Don’t miss out on the chance to try mantaiko – a fiery, addictive cod roe that’s sure to awaken your taste buds. Finally, head for a relaxing and refreshing stroll or boat ride in the green oasis that is Ohori Park.

Okinawa

Head to Okinawa and dive into a world of underwater wonder. This tropical paradise is renowned for its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs. Plunge into the mesmerising depths of Cape Maeda’s Blue Cave – a natural marvel filled with colourful marine life. Snorkel alongside graceful sea turtles, and marvel at the kaleidoscope of coral formations. Head to the remote islands of the Kerama Archipelago on a boat tour, where you’ll see untouched beauty unfold before your eyes. Then, sink into the powdery white sand beaches and soak up the sun as you relax and enjoy this idyllic slide of heaven.

As you venture off the beaten path in Japan, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the traditional culture, discover awe-inspiring art, find inner peace, and indulge in mouthwatering local delicacies. Take your time, interact with the locals, and embrace new experiences.

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