Japan is an extraordinary country especially as it is a mix of culture, traditions and unusual places to visit. Besides being able to lose yourself among singular architectures, temples, gardens, there are characteristic places, out of the ordinary.
Japan is full of countless places that inspire and enchate visitors. From historic castles to amazing floral exhibits to the unusual landscapes that seem to be taken from a completely different country, here are some of the most beautiful and not so famous places in Japan that you have to see to believe.
If you want to visit Japan but do not want to follow the usual itinerary, Traveler Magazine has gathered for you 13 places that not everyone knows, but that is worth seeing at least once in life.
13. Mount Koya
Mount Koya is the spiritual abode of Shingon Buddhism, a sect founded more than 1,200 years ago by one of Japan’s most important religious figures, Kobo Daishi. The main temple of the sect, Kongobu-Ji, is located on the top covered by the forest of Mount Koya. More than 100 other temples have been established around Mount Koya, many of which offer visitors an overnight stay.
12. Noto Peninsula
Comprising the northern section of Ishikawa Prefecture, the Noto Peninsula is home to some of Japan’s most stunning and unusual coastal landscapes and pristine countryside landscapes. In addition to admiring the natural scenery, the peninsula offers a number of points for fishing, swimming and camping. Its main tourist centre, the town of Wajima, is home to less than 30,000 people and is a wonderful place to experience the life of the small Japanese city.
11. Island of Shikoku
Shikoku is the fourth largest island and one of the most unusual places in Japan, located to the southwest of the main island of Honshu, to which it is connected by two systems of bridges. The island is also linked to the influential monk Kobo Daishi as the seat of the 88 itinerary of the temple, one of the country’s most important pilgrimages. In addition to attracting those who seek spiritual attainment, the island offers some spectacular coastline, mountain ranges and tumbling rivers.
10. Kiso Valley
The Kiso Valley is home to the Nakasendo Trail, one of only five Edo-period highways linking Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. Travelers during this period have made this long journey on foot and, as a result, the Kiso Valley is strewn with historic towns where travelers rested, ate and slept along the way. You can walk a part of this old highway, between mountains and dense forests, as well as visit some of the well-preserved cities.
Shodoshima has a mild climate and a Mediterranean atmosphere, home to beaches, spectacular coastlines, resorts and even olive plantations. The second largest island of the Seto Inland Sea, Shodoshima is one of the guests of the Contemporary art Festival of the Setouchi Triennial, and the outdoor installations of the previous festivals are visible throughout the island.
8. Kenrokuen Garden Park
Named one of the three “most beautiful landscaped and most unusual gardens in Japan”, the Kenrokuen Garden is full of fascinating bridges, trails, teahouses, trees and flowers. Once the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen was opened to the public in the late NINETEENTH century. Each season reveals a different side of the beauty of the garden, from plum and cherry blossoms in spring to the colourful leaves of maple in the fall.
7. Castle of Matsumoto
Matsumoto Castle is one of the few original castles left in Japan. Initially built in 1504, this unusual place was expanded to its present form between the late SIXTEENTH and early SEVENTEENTH century. Nicknamed Karasu-jō (Crow’s Castle), it is known for its beautiful three-tower black and white keep.
6. Nachi Falls
The waterfalls of Nachi are the highest waterfall (with a single drop) in the country, falling down 133 meters (436 feet) in a rushing river below. The waterfall is dominated by the beautiful Shinto shrine Nachi Taisha, which is said to have more than 1,400 years. Built in honor of the Kami of the waterfall (God of spirits) of the waterfall, the sanctuary is one of the most beautiful and uncommon Buddhist and Shinto religious sites that lie around the waterfall.
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5. Tateyama Kurobe route
The Alpine Route Tateyama Kurobe connects the city of Toyama in Toyama Prefecture with the city of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture. The route can be approached with various types of transport, including the cable car, cable car and trolleybus, offering spectacular views of the surrounding Tateyama mountain range. The most impressive part of the route is the road between Bijodaira and Murodo, which is surrounded by snow walls 20 meters high from April to May each year.
4. The Blue Pond
The Blue Pond in Hokkaido Prefecture, also called Aoiike, is known for its ethereal blue color. Tree stumps that protrude from the surface of the water add to its otherworldly appearance. This artificial pond was created as part of an erosion control system, designed to protect the area from the mud flows that can occur from the nearby mountain. Maybe one of the most unusual places in Japan – Tokachi volcano. The disturbing blue color of the pond is caused by natural minerals dissolved in the water.
3. Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park is famous for its bluette flower fields, called Nemophilas, which bloom through the park in the spring. The park comprises 190 hectares (470 acres) and more than 4.5 million of flowers cover its fields every April. During the autumn, the rounded shrubs of the park called Kochia (Bassia in English) assume a brilliant crimson color, creating an almost equally fascinating view.
2. Gokayama Park
Gokayama is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site that also includes the nearby village of Shirakawa-gō. Both areas are known for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. These secular houses have distinct thatched roofs, designed to withstand heavy snowfalls. Gokayama is less accessible than the popular Shirakawa-gō and, as a result, its villages are quieter and more secluded. More information Gokayama, Nanto-shi, Japan visit the site
1. Sand dunes of Tottori
The first place for most unusual places in Japan is for the sand dunes of Tottori. They are part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park in the Tottori prefecture. Stretching for 16 kilometers along the coast of the Sea of Japan, the dunes are the largest in the country. The tidal movement and the wind make the dune shapes change steadily, but they can be up to two kilometers wide and 50 meters high. The camels are widely available, making the area have a beautiful and desert atmosphere.