"Little Kyotos" All Over Japan - Check Out These Kyoto-like Towns!

Towns which have the flavor of ancient Kyoto are called “Little Kyoto.” There are many towns which are referred to as “Little Kyoto” all over Japan, and we selected eight towns out of them. Let’s take a walk in the towns which make you think of ancient Kyoto, and feel a different atmosphere from the present Kyoto.


Things to Do

1. Kakunodate [Akita]

Along with Tsuwano, Kakunodate is one of the two towns which are the best known nationwide as “Little Kyoto.”

[flexiblemap address="秋田県角館町" title="Kakunodate"]

2. Obama [Fukui]

Obama prospered as a port town. Products and people from cities along the coast of the Japan Sea and on the continent went through the town to get to Kyoto.
Even today, the townscape that is heavily tinged with an air of that time tells us of its strong link with Kyoto.

[flexiblemap address="福井県小浜市" title="Obama city, Fukui prefecture"]

3. Tsuyama [Okayama]


When I was asked where the “Little Kyoto” towns are in Japan, I named Tsuyama first. Tsuyama is a town that has propsered from ancient times as the center of the Mimasaka region located between San-in and Sanyo districts. And this is why it is called ShoKyoto in the Chugoku district.

[flexiblemap address="岡山県津山市" title="Okayama prefecture, Tsuyama city"]

4. Yamaguchi [Yamaguchi]

Yamaguchi is the western Kyoto formed by the Yoshinori clan. Ouchi, the local ruling family, also held a strong influence on Kyoto and developed a town as elegant as Kyoto in Yamaguchi in order to brag about his prosperity.

[flexiblemap address="山口県山口市" title="Yamaguchi prefecture, Yamaguchi city"]

5. Tsuwano [Shimane]

Speaking of small-Kyoto in Japan, Tsuwano is another famous town along with Kakunodate. The elegance of this small town in Tsuwano Basin brings the atmosphere of the scenery of original ancient Japan.

[flexiblemap address="島根県津和野町" title="Tsuwano town, Shimane Prefecture"]

6. Nakamura [Kochi]

Nakamura, known as small-Kyoto in Tosa, was formed by former Kanpaku Norifusa Ichijo who came from Kyoto, imitating the capital Kyoto. The town is formed in a grid pattern and some areas are named after Kyoto. The town evacuated from the maelstrom of war in the Sengoku era still has the taste of Kyoto even today.

[flexiblemap address="高知県四万十市" title="Shimanto city, Kochi Prefecture"]

7.  Akizuki [Fukuoka]

Akizuki, which is known as little Kyoto in the Chikuzen area is situated in a basin surrounded by mountains. It is a place that prospered as a castle town of the Akizuki clan. Many people visit the town to enjoy the seasons.

[flexiblemap address="福岡県朝倉市秋月" title="Fukuoka prefecture, Asakura city"]


8. Obi [Miyazaki]

Obi's townscape was designated as one of the nation's "Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings" as early as 1977. When you visit Obi, you can see the old streets are kept so well that you may think you've gone back to the past.

[flexiblemap address="飫肥" title="Obi"]

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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