10 Amazingly Beautiful Small Villages in Japan

If you are planning to visit the beautiful small villages in Japan but don’t know where to start?

Worry not! In this article, I will show you the best towns in Japan, and you will see why the Japanese countryside would be an excellent idea.

Japan is among the most people’s top ten travel destinations, and it’s not surprising as the country shares the number of almost unmatched activities.

People have a choice to make when they come to Japan from high tech megacities to small peaceful villages in the countryside.

That is Why,

Japan is truly a country of contrasts, and it hosts the unique landscapes, mountains, beautiful lakes, lush forests, temples, farmlands, rich history, and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

But on this topic, we will talk about the ten best small villages to explore in Japan.

When you live or visit the city you are surrounded by all these people; you can be incredibly social, you have all the choices like shops, restaurants, buildings, pollution, etc.

However, in the countryside, you have so few people, and it’s relaxed because you have fewer choices and it’s more personal.

Also, the villages are peaceful, calm, quiet, and full of greenery and free from the hustle and bustle of the city.

So let’s discover the undeniably peaceful small villages of Japan that you must visit on your trip to Japan.

These villages in Japan have a charming and attractive lifestyle; people have lived here for around seven hundred years.

Over the centuries, they developed deep wisdom and skills for living so closed to nature.

These Are the 10 Best Small Villages in Japan

1- Shirakawa-go

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Buried in the heart of the Japan Alps lies the famous town Shirakawa-go, popular for its traditional Japanese farmhouses.

It is a UNESCO heritage site renowned for its gorgeous gassho-zukuri farmhouses, resembling two hands joins in prayer.

Lies in Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawa-go is one of the most picturesque villages in Japan, rich in natural beauty surrounded by beautiful mountains.

From Takayama, Shirakawa-go is only an hour bus ride away and makes for a great day trip.

People usually visit here to see the traditional gassho-zukuri style houses, some of which are over 250 years old, and these houses were built without using any nails.

The best way to experience its beauty is to spend the night in one of the farmhouses, many of which today have been opened up to the public as a guest house for overnight stay.

Also, you can head to the observatory viewpoint for fantastic views; you can see all the farmhouses and get the amazing views from the top.

What is the best time to visit Shirakawago? It depends on what you want to see, and any season is the best time to visit.

You can catch sights of full bloom cherry blossoms in spring, vibrant green rice fields in summer, yellow and orange leaves in autumn, and snow in winter.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Shirakawago
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2- Ine – Kyoto

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Ine is located in the north of Kyoto prefecture, and it is the most beautiful village in Japan.

Fishermen built the village of Ine, and the clear emerald water of this village is rich with marine life.

The beautiful town of Ine is famous for its Funaya or Boathouses; it is a popular destination among the Japanese.

Like many other small towns in Japan, Ine still is a peaceful and happiest place in Japan.

Moreover, Ine is a beautiful place in Japan with its stunning landscape, located on a wild hillside surrounded by mountains and forests and facing the sea, and its lush greenery.

But it is renowned for its fantastic Funaya houses.

These are over 200 Funaya along the bay, the best way to see Ine and its Funaya dwellings are from the opposite bank.

These days, despite not attracting as many tourists as some cities, Ine has put itself on the map as a place of relaxation. This is one of the last fishing villages in Japan.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Ine, Kyoto
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3- Tsumago

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Located in Kiso valley, Tsumago is another well-preserved spot in the Japanese Alps.

Tsumago is one of many post towns built along the five major roads to accommodate commerce during the Edo period (1603 – 1868).

It connects the new capital city of Edo (Tokyo) with the old capital Kyoto.

Tsumago is one of the best examples of historic preservation which began in 1960 in Japan.

The village is designated as an “important traditional structure group preservation area”.

Besides that, it provides visitors with an opportunity to be a time traveler, and if you love history, and seek beauty and tranquillity, you will enjoy a visit to Tsumago.

Also, Trumago is hiker’s favorite destination in Japan.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Tsumago, Kiso Valley
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4- Wazuka

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Surrounded by mountains and covered in tea bushes, the landscape of this village is defined by tea production.

Located 30km south-east of Kyoto, Wazuka is a small tea farming village set in a quiet valley and is well known for its scenic view of tea fields.

Eight hundred years ago, it was selected as the first tea farming area in Japan, and tea has been a way of life ever since.

A pristine river runs through the valley provides natural irrigation and moisture.

Furthermore, the slops provide natural drainage, and the mountain soil is rich in a nutrient that is why it was selected for tea plantation.

Wazuka is an enchanting place possessing natural beauty, history, and rural charm, which makes it one of the best small villages in Japan.

Tours of tea fields are the best way to appreciate the beauty of Wazuka and to take some gorgeous views of Japan countryside.

However, rental bikes are a great and peaceful way to explore Wazuka.

Also, you can see many scenic views along the way that attracts your attention and a real taste of what local Japan looks like.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Wazuka
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5- Taketomi

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Taketomi is an island near the coast of Ishigaki Island and the site of a well-preserved area, the traditional Ryukyu Village.

Since Taketomi Island is small, it is visited as a day trip from Ishigaki.

Taketomi Island is famous for its traditional Okinawan architecture houses with red tiles roof, culture, and special star shape sand.

An enjoyable and interesting way to learn about the history of this place is on Taketomi’s very popular water buffalo cart rides.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Taketomi
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6- Hida, Takayama

hida takayama, most beautiful, small towns japan
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Takayama is a pleasant mountain town in the northern Japan Alps famous for its well preserved old district, woodworking, and its festival.

Located in the mountainous Hida region in the northern part of Gifu prefecture.

Takayama can be reached in just under two and a half hours from Nagoya via the JR Hida Limited Express and in about five and half hours from Tokyo by direct highway bus.

Takayama has been renowned for many centuries for its high-quality timber and skill of its carpenters.

Its old town features buildings dating back as far as the 1600s.

The old town district is one of the best-preserved historic districts in the entire country and a must-see destination.

It is also famous for its three best parade float festivals of Japan; it is held in April and in October.

Also, Takayama is an excellent base from which you can reach many nearby worthwhile locations.

Such as the beautiful nature of Okuhida as well as Shirakawago’s massive farmhouses. It is one of the best places to visit in Japan.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Hida, Takayama
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7- Nara

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Nara is most famous for its friendly deers; many people don’t realize that there is so much more in Nara to see and do from beautiful shrines, temples, Japanese culture, and history.

Known for its oldest and most important temples in Japan, Nara is also famous for its beautiful park and hundreds of dear.

Situated about 40 minutes far from Kyoto and Osaka by rail, Nara has popularly visited and a side trip from either of those cities.

Its main attractions are concentrated on the grounds of its vast and scenic park, which is only a few minutes’ walk away from the Kintetsu Nara Station or a twenty minutes walk away from the JR Nara Station.

From temples to museums to deer and beautiful scenery, there is a lot to see and do in Nara.

But its main attraction is Nara Park; this park is home to hundreds of deer for which this place is famous.

The park is delightful two times of the year.

Firstly, during the cherry blossom season in the first half of April when beautiful pint petals highlight many of the trees.

Secondly in November when the autumn color emerges.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Nara
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8- Ainokura (Beutiful Small Village in Japan)

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Ainokura is one of the best small villages in Japan, lies in western Toyama Prefecture of Japan.

It is a quaint little village of about 20 Gassho style homes, and many are over 200 years old.

Similar to the Shirakawago village, Ainokura is also famous for its Gassho-Zukuri farmhouses, and it is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Being hidden in the Japanese Alps, it’s been able to preserve its heritage, and only recently it became accessible.

In summer, it is lush and green, and in winter, it is covered with snow; Ainokura is the calm and most relaxed destination on earth.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Ainokura
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9- Karuizawa

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About an hour northeast of Tokyo lies a beautiful town Karuizawa.

It is a lovely town nestled in the mountains, offers several tourist attractions, and makes for an excellent day or weekend trip.

Karuizawa is a quiet town that offers a charming and pleasing atmosphere with plenty of beautiful and scenic nature spots, along with restaurants and delicious places to eat.

Besides that, Karuizawa is blessed with stunning nature, waterfalls, and greenery.

Make sure to visit the Kumobaike Pond, an open and beautiful pond in this entertaining space that is surrounded by lush green trees.

You can relax and be one with nature while you enjoy the scenic spot looking out into the water.

Another great spot to visit in Karuizawa is the Shiraito falls located in the forest north of the town; it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.

It is a beautiful waterfall that immediately draws your attention.

These 3 meters high waterfall extended across an impressive 70 meters of area in a unique curved shape giving it that circular look.

Enjoy this peaceful and charming place experience the tranquility with the soothing sound of nature and running water in the background.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Karuizawa
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10- Ouchi-juku

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Travel back in time! Ouchijuku was a small post station in the Edo period between Nikko and Aizu region in Fukushima.

Ouchijuku was an important post town whose buildings served as shops, traditional hotels, and restaurants for travelers.

But it is now famous for the numerous traditional thatched buildings from that era that line its main street.

Many buildings have been preserved as they were before the Meiji restoration in 1868, and the area has been designated as an important preservation district for groups of traditional construction.

Also, you can look out over the village from the observation spot up on a hill. The village is now a popular tourist attraction.

A visit to this traditional Japanese village is a must on your trip to Japan.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Ouchi-Juku
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Final Thoughts:

Although there are many best small villages in Japan to visit and every place has its charm, but these are my top 10 picks based on their beauty, greenery, history, culture, and tradition.

Do let me know your thoughts in a comment about these picture-perfect Japanese villages.

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gassho zukuri, rural vallages in japan

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