Exploring Rural Japan

Rural Japan stands in sharp contrast to the ultra-modern urban side of this country. Everyone visits Japan to see its incredible capital city and to explore the nation’s best-loved temples. But, to experience Japan like the locals do, it is important to venture beyond the usual tourist sites. To say that you have truly seen all that this country has to offer, travel out to Japan’s countryside. From noodle making to kayaking, these beautiful rural destinations guarantee unique adventures.



Nestled within the mountains of Hida, Takayama is a picturesque city set beneath lush rural surroundings and famed for its history of talented carpenters and craftsmen. The city boasts an idyllic Old Town with many preserved buildings that date back to the Edo Period. The Old Town has plenty of dining options and some sake breweries to visit. Visitors can also take rickshaw rides around the town for something a little more relaxing.

There are several museums, including the Takayama Museum of History and Art, which explore the history of this interesting city. Our Takayama Walking Tour will ensure you see all the highlights in a day. For locally crafted souvenirs, visit the daily morning markets open from 6:30 until midday. Visitors can also take some exciting day trips from Takayama to more rural towns and mountainous destinations like Kamikochi or Higashiyama.

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Samurai were once the protectors of Japan and highly skilled fighters. Today they are an important symbol of Japanese history and are still highly respected by the Japanese people. In the quaint town of Izumi, visitors can see the homes of these warriors and step back in time to experience what rural Japan was like over 400 years ago.

Izumi invites visitors to wear kimonos and meander through the ancient streets and sites before taking part in authentic activities such as the iconic tea ceremony. Though this sounds quite touristy, Izumi is surprisingly quiet and provides a fantastic insight into Japanese history.

Along with the samurai residences, visitors can also take leisurely walks through the area’s fields and forests and catch a glimpse of the thousands of crane birds who migrate here. Izumi is a family-friendly destination and tea ceremonies require a minimum of five people.


Iiyama is a small city located in Nagao Prefecture. The city boasts beautiful natural scenery and plenty of temples to see. For foodies, visitors can take part in a traditional soba noodle class and learn about Japanese agriculture. Slightly further afield is Mount Kuriowa, home to the beautiful Gifu butterfly and many nature walks. In winter, the area is adorned with a blanket of snow and is most famous for its charming snow-covered huts that line the foot of the slopes.


To completely escape the hustle and bustle of the city, visit Gokase. This untouched area of rural Japan is brimming with year-round activities. Set in the highlands of Kyushu Island, Gokase offers the chance to see a part of Japan that most foreign visitors do not get to explore. In winter, the area is primarily a ski resort with fantastic slopes for those looking to ski or snowboard.

The mountains of Gokase are divided by a picturesque river. In summer, this river is the perfect place for kayaking and other water sports whilst embracing the jaw-dropping vistas. Gokase is an unspoiled part of Japan that provides fresh air and lots of hikes.

Gokase rural japan skiing


Nikko, Japan, nestled in the picturesque mountains north of Tokyo, is a captivating destination steeped in rich history and natural beauty. Renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Toshogu Shrine stands out as a masterpiece of ornate architecture and intricate carvings, housing the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The serene beauty of Lake Chuzenji and the mesmerizing Kegon Falls offer a peaceful escape into nature, while the vibrant colors of Nikko’s autumn foliage are a sight to behold. Our Nikko day tour from Tokyo will whisk you off to visit the Toshogu Shrine, Kegon Waterfall & Lake Chuzenji with an expert tour guide.

Nature enthusiasts can explore the scenic trails of Nikko National Park, discovering the beauty of Senjogahara and the mysterious Yunoko Lake. For a tranquil retreat, the Tamozawa Imperial Villa showcases a blend of Japanese and Western architecture surrounded by lush gardens. With its cultural richness, stunning landscapes, and historic landmarks, Nikko promises a multifaceted experience that captivates the hearts of visitors.

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