If you are looking for a different kind of travel experience, look no further than lesser-known destinations in Japan. It’s possible to see everything from breathtaking mountains to exotic beaches, and even escape into the wild and explore Japanese history. Even if you’re visiting the country’s largest cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, you can find plenty of hidden gems.
For adventurers, there is no better place to visit in Japan than the Gyokusendo Cave. Located in the Okinawa prefecture, the cave is filled with bridges, light and underground rivers. You’ll be able to explore the cave on your own or join an organized excursion. The area also offers hiking, camping and wildlife encounters.
While many visitors come to the country for the famous temples and sites, Japan has so much more to offer. You can visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the winter, or take a trip to the beach in the summer. In addition to sightseeing, you can also go to one of the largest festivals in Japan.
Another destination that should be on your list is Nikko. This is a mountain town with a deep history and culture. It is home to the Toshogu Shrine, which is a part of a lavish complex of shrines in the forest. There are also temples and a castle. You can visit Futarasan Shrine, which is dedicated to the gods of the nearby mountains.
For those who love nature, there is no better place to spend a few days than in the Hachimantai region. You can explore mountain hikes, enjoy natural hot springs, and visit Lake Tazawa. And you can stay in one of the many onsen towns to relax in the hot water.
Despite its name, Takayama is not a Taiwanese island. It is in Okinawa, just south of mainland Japan. This small town is a great place to learn about Japanese history and the local culture. Many of the buildings are in good shape, and the area has plenty of festivals.
Another perfect destination for nature lovers is Chichijima Island. You can explore the island’s beaches and the island’s inland mountains, and you can also enjoy whale watching. During the summer, you can even try snorkeling over shipwrecks. Other fun activities include hiking, fishing, and swimming.
While Tokyo may be the most popular tourist destination in Japan, there are other parts of the country that are less crowded. You can get to most of the cities by train, and there are plenty of hotels to choose from in most towns. However, you might want to consider renting a car if you want to see more of the country.
While Kyoto is a city that should definitely be on your travel itinerary, there are plenty of other lesser-known destinations in Japan. From ancient ruins to remote islands, this country is full of surprises. Although many travelers think that you have to leave the mainland to get a true sense of the country, you can actually reach most of the cities in less than a day by train.
Smaller cities in the US
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but you’re not quite ready to jet off to the sun-kissed beaches of Bali, consider exploring one of the 65 small towns scattered across the United States. From historic taverns to hip nightclubs, from surf beaches to wineries, you’re bound to find something to your liking.
The best small cities in the country are a mix of urban and rustic, ranging from New York’s Central Park to Boulder’s Rocky Mountains. For those who are more inclined to be active, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities from mountain biking to skiing to hiking to kayaking to fishing to name a few. It’s also a good bet that you’ll find a Top 10 ranked museum or two. Whether you’re into museums, sports, history, or all three, the possibilities are endless.
One of the top small towns to explore is the one in Bend, Oregon, a small town that’s gaining momentum as an up-and-coming urban hotspot. You’ll find a thriving downtown area, a plethora of microbreweries and a handful of excellent restaurants. Despite its size, the town is a walker’s paradise, with more than 5 miles of scenic footpaths and trails.
While you’re in the area, you might want to try your luck at the casino or sample some of the local craft beers at one of the many microbreweries, all accompanied by a side of the Oregon coast’s famous brews. Perhaps the most impressive part of the area is its unique climate, which nourishes a host of green spaces. The area boasts over a dozen state parks and wildlife refuges, as well as several of the nation’s most scenic beaches.
Another enticing place to visit is Napa, California, which is home to some of the country’s finest wines, a surprisingly diverse selection of restaurants, and a burgeoning music scene. Not to mention the city’s newest shindig, BottleRock Napa Valley, which has become a major stop on the music festival circuit. A trip to this tiny wine town is a worthwhile one, especially if you’re seeking a respite from the high-pressure life of the Bay Area.
Although the size of the city is not as great as in larger metro areas, Lansing, Michigan has the distinction of being the state’s capital and has been an upstart in the medtech and insurance fields. This, paired with a large tech community, has paved the way for a diversified economy, a thriving foodie scene, and a booming arts and entertainment scene.
There are plenty of other smaller cities worth checking out, including Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. But if you’re in the market for the big time, don’t overlook Anchorage, Alaska, as it’s one of the nation’s top destinations for the avid outdoor enthusiast, as well as the beer connoisseur. In fact, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the second largest among small cities, with over five million passengers passing through the airport each year. Among the best places to stay are the Marriott Town Center Hotel and Suites and the Grand Hotel, both located in the heart of the city’s downtown.