10 Amazing Off-the-Beaten-Path Places in Japan

Best Hidden Gems in Japan

Looking for new travel destinations or non-touristy places in Japan?? If you are planning to visit Japan for the second time (or more), or wish to avoid tourist crowds while travelling, you should definitely check out my list of the best off-the-beaten-path places in Japan!

These places are not overly crowded nor very famous YET, but for sure they will soon become a THING! Some of places are situated in/near popular tourist destinations such as Tokyo and Kyoto, so if you are planning to visit these cities, consider visiting those hidden gems alongside 🙂

Add them on your bucket list for your next visit to Japan and let’s hit these places before anybody else!

1. Nyuto Onsen

Akita Prefecture TourismPromotion Division

Nothing fabulous but rustic and incredibly genuine. The true onsen experience can be found in the deep mountain of northern Japan. Nyuto Onsen (乳頭温泉) is the most famous “Hitou (秘湯/hidden onsen)” in Japan with a history of over 300 years. Enjoy milky hot spring water with authentic local dishes.

More info: Nyuto Onsen: the Hidden Onsen Village in Northern Japan

2. Yanaka Ginza

Is there anywhere that we haven’t discovered in Tokyo? Yes, Yanaka Ginza (谷中銀座) is one of Tokyo’s last well kept secrets. The old-fashioned shopping arcade is lined with small stores where locals do shopping and hang out. Although it’s located in central Tokyo, true local atmosphere and the old downtown vibes remain strongly in this surrounding area.

More info: Yanaka Ginza: Tokyo’s Best Old-Fashioned Shopping Street

3. Mt.Oyama

Want to keep active while travelling?? Hiking is one of most popular activities, and did you know some hiking spots can be easily access from Tokyo? Mt. Oyama (大山) is located in Isehara City, Kanagwa and can be reached from Tokyo within 90 mins. The mountain houses sacred shrines and offers great hiking trails with a view of Mt.Fuji.

More info: Mt. Oyama: Hike on the Sacred Mountain in Kanagawa!

4. Fuji City Tea Plantations

I believe many tourists in Japan are in a quest for taking best photos of Mt. Fuji. There are several famous photo spots around the mountain, but don’t you wish to take one step ahead from other photographers?? Then I think this should be your next target. They are not easiest places to access but totally worth the effort.

More info: Obuchi Sasaba and Imamiya: Best Green Tea Plantations in Shizuoka

5. Monet Pond

One of biggest internet sensation last year, the pond has no name (a.k.a. Monet Pond) went viral cos it’s simply too good to be true. The pond is not very easy to access as it’s located in deep mountain of Gifu prefecture, however it’s a great travel destination if you are an eager photographer.

More info: The Mystery Pond In Japan Looks Like Monet’s Paintings

6. Shoujuin Temple

Another Instagram sensation of latest years. Shojuin Temple (正寿院) has caught every girls’ hearts by its heart-shaped window and coloufully painted ceiling, and soon became the most instagrammable temple in Kyoto.

More info: Shoujuin Temple: Most Instagrammable Temple in Kyoto!

7. Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

Tired of overly crowded shrines and temples in Kyoto?? There are many hidden spots in the city off the major touristic route just like these two temples. Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple (化野念仏寺) and Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) are two most mysterious and unspoiled temples in Kyoto, Arashiyama area.

More info: Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple and Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple: Two Most Curious Temples in Kyoto

8. Shodoshima

Seto Inland Sea is definitely one of the hottest regions in Japan, and popularity is increasing every year. One of most popular islands is Shodoshima (小豆島) a.k.a. Olive Island. The playful island offers numbers of tourists attractions including museums, delicious food and scenic views such as the Angel Road.

More info: Shodoshima: Guide to the Olive Island in Seto Inland Sea

9. Motonosumi Inari Shrine

Is Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto your thing? Is you are attracted by vermilion torii gates, this is definitely your next target. Motonosumi Inari Shrine (元乃隅稲成神社) is one of most scenic shrines in Japan with over 100 gates are lined at the cliff by the ocean. It’s located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the tip of main island of Japan.

More info: Motonosumi Inari Shrine: Japan’s Most Bizarre and Incredible Shrine!

10. Yanagawa

Yanagawa (柳川) is a small city in southern Fukuoka Prefecture, where historical atmosphere remains strongly, yet is not over crowded. The old castle town is often described as “the City of Water”, and the charming streetscape with willow trees and old buildings can be enjoyed by river cruising on traditional small boats called Donko.

More info: Yanagawa: the City of Water in Fukuoka

Visiting Japan for the first time?? Then you may wanna check out the top must-visit tourist sites in Japan!

▶ 10 Best Japan Tourist Attractions

What did you think about my list of off the beaten path places to visit Japan? If you like exploring new spots in Japan, you may like these articles, too!

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈