Japan off the Beaten Track: 13 Things to Do, the DeepJapan Experience

We’ve carefully selected thirteen excellent destinations

Where would you want to go if you traveled to Japan? You might think of the typical places like Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, but why not try somewhere different? Somewhere people don’t always visit? Japanese countryside areas have a lot of great ways to show you the local lifestyle, real Japanese culture and history. What’s more, the locals would love to help you experience “DeepJapan”.

We’ve carefully selected thirteen excellent destinations that are really great to visit, and unknown to the average tourist:

1) Let’s enjoy incredible cuisine and cycling through the vast wilderness of Hokkaido!
Hokkaido is the northernmost major island of Japan. It’s famous for its beautiful nature, winter sports, and great food. Why not go cycling through its vast mountain forests and feel the wind at your back?
We highly recommended Hokkaido for people who want to enjoy a low-tech vacation and eat delicious, natural food.

2) Let’s enjoy the beautifying hot springs of Aomori Prefecture!

Aomori is at the northernmost tip of the Japanese mainland, also known as Honshu. It’s known for its beautiful fall scenery and snowy landscapes in the winter. Between the mountains, you can find Kuroishi, an area with many natural hot springs. The hot springs attract travelers for the waters’ beautifying and healing properties. You can also learn about traditional, old Japanese towns, crafts called kokeshi and their history.
We recommend Aomori for anyone who sees the appeal of old towns, nature, and time spent relaxing in hot springs.

3) Let’s enjoy gourmet food in authentic, old houses in Yamanashi Prefecture!
Yamanashi Prefecture is a convenient sightseeing area only 90 minutes from Tokyo. It’s most famous for Mt. Fuji, but it has so much more. It’s famous for its grape harvests and they make wine and vinegar using techniques originating in Europe, but made to suit Japanese tastes. Here you can also enjoy some dishes made with ingredients naturally harvested in Yamanashi in old, traditional-style houses.
We recommend Yamanashi for people who love wine.

4) Let’s make some gorgeous Washi in Yamanashi Prefecture!
Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for its production of Washi, a unique Japanese style of paper. You can see where they make Washi and see all kinds of things made out of it, and how it’s used in daily life.
It’s recommended for anybody who loves traditional arts and crafts.

5) Let’s paint Manekineko (lucky cats) in Seto, Aichi Prefecture!
Aichi Prefecture is famous as being in the very center of Japan, and as the headquarters of Toyota. It’s also famous for Seto pottery. Lucky cats, often seen in many shops smiling and waving, are also made from pottery. You can experience making your very own lucky cat in Seto.
We recommended this for people who love cats, crafts, and lucky things.

6) Let’s get to know the locals in the old-town area of Toyama Prefecture!
Toyama is located in Japan’s Hokuriku area, surrounded by mountains and ocean. Yatsuomachi is a town in the southern area that still has a lot of traditional Japanese feeling to it. The people here would love to meet tourists. You can even stay in some authentic old houses in the towns.
We recommend this for people who want to experience staying in a very Japanese accommodations and want to have the chance to connect with locals.

7) Let’s enjoy exercising at the “sky castle” in Hyogo Prefecture!
The center of Hyogo Prefecture has remained a beautiful rural area. You can enjoy cycling through small Japanese towns, doing yoga at the castle, or nordic walking.
We recommend this for people who want to learn about Japanese history and enjoy being active in nature.

8) Let’s ride buggies in Nara Prefecture, where they have the oldest wooden structure in the world!

There is so much history to learn in Nara, as it was the capital of Japan in the 8th century. Horyuji Temple was built in the 7th century, and is famous as the world’s oldest wooden structure that is still standing. You can ride buggies around the huge park and historical town. Experience Japanese past-times such as kendo (Japanese swordplay) and tea ceremonies.
We recommend this for people who want to have a bit of a different experience in a historical town, and for people that want to get deep into very old Japanese history and culture.

9) Let’s enjoy the sights of a geopark recognized by UNESCO in Tottori Prefecture, from the ocean.
This geopark in Tottori is on the Uradome Coast. There you can see where Japan was once connected to the Asian mainland around seventy million years ago. You can see erosion by wind and waves in action. Come see the beautiful scenery and incredible forces of nature via cruise, and enjoy plenty of marine sports too!
We recommend this for people into geography and those who love marine sports.

10) Let’s try some austere waterfall training in Hiroshima Prefecture!
Hiroshima is famous for its Peace Park and Miyajima, but when you’re done eating okonomiyaki, before you head back to Osaka or Tokyo, try one more really unique experience. Close to Miyajima, there’s a place you can try “waterfall training”, a practice for purification in esoteric Buddhism and Shinto.
We recommend this for people who want to try some real Japanese traditional experiences, or try something that other tourists might not be brave enough to do...

11) Let’s watch Japanese sake being made in Ehime Prefecture!
Japanese sake keeps getting more popular around the world. Here in Ehime you can see an authentic sake brewery. The fermentation process and brewing can be seen in person! If you love sake, you can’t miss this.
Of course, this is recommended for people who love sake, but also for people interested in watching how things are made.

12) Let’s cruise with dolphins in Kumamoto prefecture!
Amakusa in Kumamoto is an area that has retained its Christian culture from missionaries of the past. There’s a unique chain of islands here where you can see dolphins all year round. The setting has recently drawn many couples looking to take their wedding photos.
We recommend this for people who love dolphins and beautiful island scenery.

13) Let’s enjoy the starry skies and shining flowery fields of Okinawa Prefecture.
Okinawa is a very popular sightseeing place with foreigners and Japanese people alike. Here you can enjoy beautiful beaches and “Ryukyu” culture. If you only use the nights to go drinking, you’ll only get to experience half of the joy of being in Okinawa. The clear skies of Okinawa make it a great place for stargazing. You can even visit illuminated flower fields at night for truly unforgettable memories.
We recommend Okinawa for people who like beautiful scenery and night views.

by DeepJapan Editor

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