When people think of Japan, they usually think of the excitement of Tokyo or the mix of temples and city of Kyoto, but many people don’t think about the rest of the often stunning countryside that you will find in the Japan archipelago.
Japan is 70 percent mountainous which means that, in a country that consists of more than 6000 islands with a similar landmass to Germany, there is actually a lot of greenery. With that many islands, there is also a lot of stunning coastline and beaches, especially in the sub-tropical Okinawan islands. The northern main island of Hokkaido also provides beautiful untouched wilderness and rare wildlife throughout the year, and especially beautiful during the white winter months.
Away from the ‘classic’ destinations of Japan, travelling around is a little more challenging (unless of course you travel with IJT and one of our Info Packs ;-)), but very rewarding. Heading to the rural Tohoku region, the towering peaks of the Kamikochi national park deep in the Japan Alps, or the small ‘art’ island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea and the jungle island of Iriomote in the Yaeyama Island chain, you will discover beautiful landscapes, a Japanese community with their own local slant on Japanese culture and perhaps people that don’t get to see so many foreigners. All these elements add to form a completely different experience of Japan to the very different but equally rewarding trip to Tokyo, Kyoto etc.
Getting out to Inaka (rural countryside), the locals will often wonder why you are there and what makes their place special. The people that you meet will no doubt go out of their way to make sure that you enjoy their particular village, island, town, hot spring, mountain or temple. A combination of the landscape, people and culture will add to an amazing Japanese cultural experience.
Japan’s varied landscapes, islands and countryside are all very good reasons as to why Japan is so great.