Although Japan is a small country, it’s not the size of the area that matters, but it’s the quality and culture of the country that makes it so memorable. Japan, in truth, is no bigger than the state of California. However, it is the ideals and beauty in Japan that makes people so drawn into the Land of Samurais. Tokyo is a great place to stay during a vacation, but many tourists don’t realize the other parts of Japan that you can go to. Whether it’s a summer festival or a night out in the city, you should definitely check out these five unfrequented parts of Japan.
The country that’s filled with different artisans is home to a wide-ranging assemblage of art museums and galleries. Anyone who’s been to Japanese art exhibits would understand the sharp precision of each brushstrokes. Whether it’s through pottery or calligraphy, Japanese culture focuses on every artistic aspect and genre, making it hard not to stare with others. Naoshima has increased in popularity of late, helping the area’s local economy.
© Jean-Marie Hullot
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As the second largest island in Japan, Hokkaido sets a high bar with its offerings. The popular Japanese beer sharing the same name as the island, was founded in 1876 and its headquarters are located here — a must see. If you go to Japan in the winter, Hokkaido may just be the place for you. Hosting different winter festivals, Hokkaido welcomes visitors to join the denizens in having a blast with the winter themes. Traveling to Hokkaido is very fun too, as there’s an underwater railway called the Seikan Tunnel that connects to Honshu.
The center of Japanese street food, Osaka built it’s reputation through great cuisine and fun nightlife. It’s not missed very often by first-time visitors, and once people have been they’re very likely to return. Originally a merchant city, Osaka has transformed itself into a true economic hub, and it still hasn’t lost any of it’s historic essence. Periodically, Osaka has been called the “nation’s kitchen”, as it has a wealth of dining options throughout.
© Pedro Szekely
Itsukushima, better known as the Shrine Island, offers some of Japan’s best views of it’s countryside. With it’s plethora of shrines, including the Itsukushima Shrine, the island proudly displays the amount of honor and respect that the Japanese are known for. Itsukushima may not be well-known, but the shrines truly emit a powerful and memorable atmosphere. Hayashi Gahō, a neo-Confucian scholar, has titled Itsukushima to be one of the “Three Views of Japan”, so now you have to go.
© Matt Austin
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5. Mount Kōya
Directly south of Osaka, lies the mountain that primarily headquarters the Shingon School of Japanese Buddhism, Mount Kōya. To travel to Mount Kōya, you would need to ride the Nankai Electric Railway from Namba Station in Osaka to Gokurakubashi Station in Kōya. Then, in just five minutes, you can ride a cable car that elevates you to the top of the mountain. If peace is what you’re searching for, Mount Kōya can definitely help with your self-journey. Nature beautifully surrounds itself amongst all the different temples throughout Mount Kōya, adding to the tranquility.