In Japan, all villages here are beautiful, unique and with personalities. Many interesting villages are on the chain of the Japanese Alps, isolated in forgotten valleys of urbanisation. These villages have been abandoned by most of their people but have become tourist attractions, monuments to the memory of rural Japan. Here are top 7 of them that are must visit.
It is the most famous and most beautiful, with the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses scattered around the valley. Shirakawago and its neighbor, Gokayama, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and can be visited as a day trip from Nagoya and Kanazawa. Nearly 70 gassho-zukuri(houses with steep thatched roofs ) are kept authentic, some converted into museums or hostels for a night. The set is very popular: more than 1.5 million tourists a year visit, especially in winter when a thick blanket of snow gives the place an unreal beauty. Source: Japan Experience.
#2 Biei-cho, Hokkaido
Biei is a village in Hokkaido that’s known for its beautiful nature. The people who live in the village call it “the town of hills.” As the name implies, the grand view from the hills in town has impact. Biei is mostly an agricultural town but please also enjoy their scenery. Source: Tsunagu Japan.
Far from the mountain villages, Ine is an ancient village of fishermen famous for its funaya. The houses at the water’s edge were also used as sheds for fishing boats. The village lies on a narrow strip of land nearly 20 meters wide. The funaya are now dwelling houses and restaurants overlooking the bay waters. This is one of the last fishing villages in Japan. Source: Japan Experience.
#4 Kurokawa Onsen
Kurokawa Onsen is one of Japan’s most attractive hot spring towns, located in the middle of Kyushu about 20 kilometers north of Mount Aso. Well coordinated efforts by the town to maintain a pleasant, traditional atmosphere have kept Kurokawa free of the massive concrete hotels, neon advertisements and loud colors that are encountered in many of Japan’s other resort towns. Source: Imgur.
#5 Tsumago (Nagano Prefecture)
Tsumago is in the Kiso Valley, a place renowned for hiking. This is one of the last stage cities that lined along the Nakasendo road. This road linked Kyoto to Edo by the interior (the Tokaido, most famous, followed the shoreline). The official or private travelers stopped in many hostels and relays met along the way. Tsumago was one of those villages born to accommodate travelers. The place is preserved, cars are banned and modern cables are hidden to maintain the best aspect of the Edo period. Source: Japan Experience.
#6 Miyanoshita in Hakone
Hakone is a misty village in the mountains near Mount Fuji. It’s known for its nature, scenic lake, onsen and historical sites. Hakone is one of the most visited tourist towns in Japan. It’s only 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, from Tokyo.The train ride here from Odawara station is disgustingly beautiful. You’re in this small 4 car train going up hills and mountains and going through forests, then all of a sudden there’s a break and you’re on a bridge connecting to the next mountain and you see an endless landscape of trees. The town itself is like most other resort onsen towns. Source: Imgur.
Shinjo in the mountains of Okayama prefecture is a village with a charm of its own, that offers plenty to see within easy reach: the historical townscape, cherry trees in blossom, mountain streams and waterfalls, forests and woods, and many other things as well. It is an old post town on the border between Okayama and Tottori prefecture. 400 years ago, the feudal lords of Izumo province at the western end of Japan’s main island used to stop here on their triennial processions to and from the capital of Edo (which is now Tokyo). Buildings in the traditional style have been carefully preserved along the main street, including some of the inns where the feudal lords used to stay with their large retinue of samurai. Source:Japan National Tourism Organisation.