Spots in Japan

While there are of course valid reasons that top-rated tourist attractions draw more and more tourists, some Spots in Japan are unfortunately underrated and never get an opportunity to get their spot in the limelight.

Some of these hidden gems might even end up unexpectedly being the most memorable place you visited during your travels! This is why we recommend getting out of your comfort zone and taking the path less traveled with our list of the top ten most underrated spots in Japan.

5 Most Underrated Spots in Japan

1. Yoron Island (Kagoshima)

Yoron Island is a scenic remote island which is located approximately 600 kilometers off the southern coast of Kagoshima prefecture. It is one of the Amami Islands and officially belongs to Kagoshima prefecture, however location-wise, it is actually closer to Okinawa hence the subtropical climate.

The island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and home to great beaches that are perfect for swimming. Yurigahama Beach is particularly popular and is about 1.5 kilometers off the Okaneku coast and accessible by boat. This sandbar beach appears only during the spring and summer seasons when the tide is low making it a true hidden gem.

Diving and snorkeling are great options if you want to enjoy the impressive underwater world up close and the sea is teeming with marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, and schools of brightly colored fish.

2. Mt. Aso (Kumamoto)

If you are planning a trip to the Kyushu region, don’t forget to add Mt. Aso to your itinerary! Mt. Aso is an active volcano located in Kumamoto prefecture. It has Japan’s second-largest caldera which has been formed by eruptions over the course of centuries.

Within the caldera are Aso’s symbolic five peaks that span over 1,000 meters and offer not only spectacular views but also great hiking trails. For families with small children, outdoor activities are available throughout the year such as horseback riding, hot air balloon experiences, paragliding, valley trekking, and much more.

Aso Shrine is a sacred Shinto shrine that is believed to have been founded over 2,500 years ago. It is also a perfect spot to try local specialties at small shops and cozy cafes along Aso Shrine’s charming Monzen Shopping street.

3. Takachiho (Miyazaki)

Takachiho is a scenic spot located in the northern part of Miyazaki prefecture. It is close to Mt. Aso and it is recommended that you rent a car if you want to explore both of them smoothly without being limited by local public transport.

Takachiho is home to impressive views composed of the natural beauty of peaceful gorges, rocky caves, and majestic shrines which are deeply associated with ancient Japanese mythology.

The best way to enjoy Takachiho is perhaps to take a boat tour through Takachiho Gorge. Paddling through the peaceful volcanic canyon created by the eruption of Mt. Aso will allow you to admire the stunning natural beauty that has charmed locals and travels for centuries.

4. Shodoshima (Kagawa)

If you wish to go relax out in nature, Shodoshima is a great escape from hustle and bustle of big city life. This small island is located in the Seto inland sea and is easily accessible from the Kansai region by ferry.

It is probably best known for its large production of olive oil and citrus fruits such as oranges but makes for an enchanting visit as well. The climate in Shodoshima is typically mild throughout the year with little rainfall, so visitors can enjoy the warm sunshine, particularly between spring and fall.

Angel Road is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Shodoshima. It is a scenic sandbar that appears in the beautiful sea only during low tide near Tonosho port. You can walk across the photogenic sand pathway which connects small remote islands to the main island. Take a refreshing stroll at Shodoshima Olive Park or head to Kankakei which welcomes visitors with breathtakingly beautiful autumn colors in fall!

5. Iya Valley (Tokushima)

Nestled deep in the mountains of western Tokushima prefecture, Iya valley is a hidden gem that has preserved both the natural beauty and the traditional lifestyle of Japan for centuries.

Driving through the Iya area will allow you to take in impressive views including gorgeous gorges and vivacious valleys with vine bridges, peaceful forests, and hiking trails among the beautiful mountains.

Ochiai Village is a secluded lovely village that can be found on the slope of a giant mountain in the Oku-Iya area. It offers amazing scenery with traditional Japanese houses, lush green fields, and stone walls built back in the Edo period. One of the thatched roof farmhouses is called “Chiiori” and is used as a lodge where visitors can stay overnight if they wish to extend their visit.

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