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The Most Beautiful Places in Japan (part 3)

June 20, 2015 3 min read 2 Comments

Travel to the most Beautiful Places in Japan

If you ever go to Japan, you have to get outside of the major cities and explore rural Japan. Rural Japan is where you can experience the best that Japan has to offer. Some of the best food, hotels, scenery, and hospitality can only be found in these small countryside villages.

In part three of this multi-part post (see part 1 here & part 2 here), we’ll continue to explore places in central Japan, which have officially been named “The Most Beautiful Villages of Japan.” As a recap, 日本で最も美しい村連合(Nihon de mottomo utsukushii mura-rengō)or “The Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan” was established in 2005 to help conserve and enhance the rural heritage of Japan.

Gunma Prefecture (群馬)


Gunma Prefecture Crest

This region of Japan has historically been famous for its horses. The Gunma horses were renowned during the feudal era. In addition to horses, the area has always been known for their agriculture. Also if you own a Subaru, your car was made in Gunma. The following two towns of Showa and Nakanojo are located in Gunma.

Showa (昭和)

This small town has a population of 7,229 and is considered to have some of the best rural landscapes in Japan. Showa has always been blessed with great farming lands and so the vegetables grown in this region are thought to be some of the best in Japan.

Showa Japan

Showa Japan

© Tomoike_2525

Showa Japan

© Jérôme Capsid

© MIU!

Nakanojo (中之条)

Nakanojo is in the mountains and has a population of 17,030. Since the town is surrounded by forests, they have become known for their impressive wooden building and handicrafts. The area is also very popular among domestic tourists for their amazing hot spring onsens. It’s best to go to Nakanojo in late spring/early summer because that is when wild flowers bloom all along the mountain side.

Nakanojo Japan

Nakanojo Japan

© yumi

Nakanojo Japan

© Shichifuku Jin

Nakanojo Japan

Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨)

Yamanashi Prefecture Crest

Yamanashi Prefecture Crest

Yamanashi prefecture is the home of Mount Fuji and is one of the most historic regions of Japan. It’s been the center of many feudal power struggles and served as a vital trading region for the entire Japanese economy. More recently, it has been home to many world-leading robotics companies and is where Japan Railway (JR-line) tested its Maglev train on a test-track.

Hayakawa (早川)

Hayakawa is the smallest town in Japan, with a population of only 1,160. It’s located on the picturesque Hayakawa River and is surrounded by beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and forests. The town might be small, but it’s filled with history. The Akazawa Inn located in the center of the town is over 800 years old. As well, the best calligraphy ink stones (Amehata Inkstone) in the world come from this region.

Hayakawa japan

Hayakawa Japan

Hayakawa Japan

© Takashi-tzr

Gifu Prefecture (岐阜)

Gifu Japan Crest

Gifu Prefecture Crest

Gifu is located in the center of Japan and has played a vital role in connecting western and eastern Japan. One of Japan’s oldest highways, the Nakasendo, is in the region. On top of that, Gifu was considered to be the capital of sword-making, with many master swordsmiths residing in the area. In modern times, Gifu has become a skiing and hot spring hotspot and is home to industrial companies like Kawasaki and Mitsubishi.

Gero (下呂)

Gero is a fairly large town with over 35,900 people, and is one of most famous onsen hot spring towns in Japan. It’s considered to have the purest water in Japan, so many people visit this town for its rejuvenating qualities.

Gero Japan

© かがみ~

Gero Japan

© miyabean

Gero Japan

Gero Japan

© M Hamajima

Shirakawa (白川)

Shirakawa is famous for its thatched roof houses (gassho-zukuri). This is the only place where you can still find these historical houses. They were built to withstand some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan. The clear waters from the surrounding mountains have helped cultivate the best green tea plantations outside of Kyoto. Shirakawa is also home to the famous Sato Tono cypress tree, which is renowned for its strength and amazing aroma.

Shirakawa Japan

© SBA73

gasshou zukiri Shirakawa Japan

© SBA73

beautiful japan shirakawa

rural scenic japan shirakawa

© amandine evanno

shirakawa japan snow beautiful

© Kota-G

Liked this post? Check out our other posts about amazing places in Japan!

2 Responses

keiko Pearn
keiko Pearn

March 28, 2016

Beautiful pictures. The other side of Japan


August 30, 2015

hello there!i’m really interested in your posts.would you mind telling me beautiful hidden places in shikoku/chugoku areas n when will be the best time to visit?tq in advance!

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