15 Beautiful Japanese Villages You Absolutely Have to Visit
Japan has many beautiful villages spread out all across the country. Each village has its own characteristic, whether it be its abundance in history or its luscious nature, and they are all worth a visit for their stunning and unique views on offer! How about visiting some of these gorgeous spots during your trip to Japan?
Jun 07 2019 (Oct 05 2020)
This article will introduce you to 15 Japanese villages selected from members of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Japan.
1. Biei, Hokkaido
Biei is a town in Hokkaido that's known for its bountiful nature. The locals call it the "town of hills." As the name implies, the view from the hills has a grand, tremendous impact! Enjoy the scenery that you can only experience in an agricultural town!
https://www.town.biei.hokkaido.jp/index.php (Japanese only)
2. Tsurui, Hokkaido
The characters for the name "Tsurui" holds the meaning "There are cranes here." As expected from its name, it's a village with many cranes! And not just any cranes, but specifically, the red-crowned cranes! There's nowhere else outside of Tsurui where you can see the sight of many red-crowned cranes interacting in their natural habitat.
For more fantastic views in Hokkaido, be sure to check out the article below!
3. Higashinaruse, Akita
Higashinaruse is a beautiful area which has been recognized as having the most beautiful starry night sky in the country, so you can be assured that the air here is exceptionally clear. There is also an abundance of waterfalls and springs in the area, so all the trees flourish in this habitat. There is a forest called Suzukoya no Mori, in which many closely packed Japanese beech trees that are over 200 years old grow, and you can breathe in the amazingly fresh air they produce.
4. Kitashiobara, Fukushima
Kitashiobara is a village that truly coexists with nature, with mountain forest comprising 80% of the area. Due to its lush abundance of nature, you'll get a chance to view some exceptionally gorgeous views. The completely natural lakes called Goshikinuma are particularly impressive for their naturally changing colors.
5. Kiso, Nagano
http://www.town-kiso.com/ (Japanese only)
6. Nagiso, Naganoja.wikipedia.org
Nagiso is located quite close to the previously mentioned Kiso. It is a village where many buildings from the Edo period (1603 - 1868) still remain. Many visitors are captivated by the townscape as it changes with the seasons. If you are visiting Nagano, be sure to stop by Kiso and Nagiso!
For other great spots to visit in Nagano:
7. Nakanojo Kuni, Gunma
About 92% of this village's area is made up of mountain forest and plains. It's a place that was loved by literary figures such as poets due to its calming natural scenery. If you're looking for a bite to eat, try their famous 10-wari soba (buckwheat noodles made with 100% buckwheat flour). The village is also famed for its onsen (hot springs), so why not warm yourself up with a dip in an onsen surrounded by nature?
http://www.town.nakanojo.gunma.jp/ (Japanese only)
8. Hayakawa, Yamanashi
Hayakawa is a town located in the southwest of Yamanashi Prefecture. It has a vast area and is surrounded by the peaks of the Southern Alps, but it is also known as the least populated town in Japan. There are many onsen all throughout the town such as Nishiyama Onsen. The streets of Akasawa, a settlement of about 40 houses, consists of traditional buildings, hedges, hills, and stone steps, maintaining a landscape that is in harmony with its surrounding mountains.
http://www.town.hayakawa.yamanashi.jp/ (Japanese only)
9. Totsukawa, Nara
Totsukawa is Japan's largest village in terms of area. The residents co-exist with nature in this village, of which 96% of the land consists of mountain forests. Part of the famous Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, runs through here, so it's definitely worth a visit!
10. Yoshino, Nara
Yoshino is most well-known for its cherry blossom trees. These cherry blossoms bloom on Mt. Yoshino, and there's an astonishing 30,000 trees in total! They are in full bloom only for a short period of time from the beginning of April to mid-April. There are, of course, many other natural sights to take in outside of the cherry blossom trees, too.
Read more about traditional culture in Nara:
11. Ine, Kyoto
Ine was a town that once thrived as a fishing village, but is still flourishing in its traditional performing arts and tangible and intangible cultural heritages related to food, clothing, and buildings. The approximately 230 fishermen houses lining the Ine Bay make up a very famous scenery.
http://www.town.ine.kyoto.jp/ (Japanese only)
Kamikatsu is a town that's largely mountainous with 55 settlements of various sizes located between an altitude of 100-700 m. This town is filled with beautiful terraced fields, and the ones in Kashihara (1st photo) have been listed in the 100 best terraced fields in Japan.
http://www.kamikatsu.jp/ (Japanese only)
Check out this festival in Tokushima:
13. Minamioguni, Kumamoto
Minamioguni is a town located at the foot of Mt. Aso. The source of Kyushu's longest river, the Chikugo River, runs through the town as well. Since it's surrounded by mountains and water, it's not only full of nature, but it's also home to many hot springs. Among all the sites on offer, Senomoto Kogen is one place you'll definitely want to see!
http://www.town.minamioguni.kumamoto.jp/ (Japanese only)
14. Takaharu, Miyazaki
Takaharu is a historical town where the very first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, was born. The Amanosakahoko, a legendary three-pronged spear thrust into the ground upon the descent of Ninigi no Mikoto, Amaterasu's grandson, to Earth, is very famous. The Kirishima Geopark, Japan's first recognized national park, can also be found here.
http://www.town.takaharu.lg.jp/ (Japanese only)
15. Aya, Miyazakiwww.town.aya.miyazaki.jp
Aya is famous for its evergreen forest, but it's also popular among people from urban areas who are looking for a slower lifestyle. In this area surrounded by greenery exists the world-famous Teruha Suspension Bridge, one of the largest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world! You can really feel the dynamic nature when you visit this area.
http://www.town.aya.miyazaki.jp/ayatown/ (Japanese only)
All of these villages are brimming with nature, so you'll definitely be in for a very calming and healing trip!
Looking for other places in Japan with stunning views? Take a look at some of these articles!
header Image: PixHound / Shutterstock
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.