10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto
According to Forbes, Japan is the top destination to visit for many Australians this Easter Holiday and could be slightly more affordable to travel than visiting the nearby state.

For instance, accommodation options in Japan can be less expensive, with a variety of budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses available, as opposed to the generally higher-priced accommodations in Australia. Additionally, when it comes to dining, Japan offers a wide range of food options that are not only delicious but also easy on the wallet, from convenience store onigiri to local noodle shops, providing a cost-effective way to experience authentic Japanese cuisine. Furthermore, while both countries offer a rich array of cultural and natural attractions, the cost of activities and internal travel can be more budget-friendly in Japan, thanks to its efficient and well-priced public transportation system. It's also worth noting that Japan has a reputation for high-quality items at reasonable prices, especially when it comes to electronics and local products, which can make shopping there a more economical choice. 

“Interestingly, we've discovered that 64% of our travellers this April are venturing beyond the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. This underscores the shifting landscape of travel in Japan as visitors seek genuine exposure to local life and culture as part of a broader cultural adventure trip, which is what we specialize in at InsideJapan Tours,” according to Sales Manager – InsideJapan Tours Australia, Nicole Newport.

If you're seeking destinations in Japan beyond the well-known cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, consider exploring these Top 10 Underrated Japanese cities for your Easter holiday.

1. Hiroshima

Hiroshima - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Hiroshima, a city of resilience and peace, is a compelling destination for the Easter holiday. The city offers a profound historical experience at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where visitors can reflect on the past while witnessing the city's dedication to peace. The iconic Itsukushima Shrine, with its floating torii gate, provides a picturesque setting that is especially magical during the cherry blossom season, which often coincides with Easter. For a taste of local culture, savor Hiroshima's famous okonomiyaki, a delicious savory pancake that's a culinary must-try. Engage with history at the Hiroshima Castle, and if you're an automotive enthusiast, the Mazda Museum awaits with its impressive display of vehicles. The Shukkei-en Garden offers a tranquil escape with its meticulously landscaped paths and koi ponds, perfect for a leisurely stroll. With its rich history, cultural experiences, and natural beauty, Hiroshima is an enriching destination that offers something for every traveler this Easter.


2. Hakone

Hakone - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Hakone, Japan is a treasure trove of cultural and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for the Easter holiday. Nestled in the mountains, Hakone offers a serene escape with its famous hot springs, known as onsen, where you can relax and rejuvenate. The area is rich in art with world-class museums like the Open Air Museum and the POLA Art Museum, which are surrounded by stunning natural scenery. For those seeking adventure, Hakone is full of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. The historical Hakone Shrine, set along the shores of the peaceful Lake Ashi, provides a spiritual experience with views of the majestic Mt. Fuji. With easy access from Tokyo, a trip to Hakone is convenient and promises a blend of relaxation, culture, and nature that is hard to find anywhere else.

3. Takayama

Takayama - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Takayama, Japan, is a hidden gem nestled in the Hida Mountains, offering a blend of cultural richness and scenic beauty that makes it an ideal destination for revenge travellers. Known as "Little Kyoto," its well-preserved, Edo-period streets provide a historical backdrop perfect for leisurely exploration. During Easter, the weather is pleasant, enhancing the experience of visiting landmarks like the Takayama Jinya, a former government house turned museum, and the Hida Kokubun-ji Temple with its striking pagoda. The morning markets brim with local crafts and fresh produce, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture. For a spiritual retreat, the Sakurayama Hachiman-gu shrine offers tranquility amidst its architectural splendor. The Takayama Festival, held in spring, is a spectacle not to be missed, showcasing elaborate floats and traditional performances. For those seeking a taste of local flavors, savoring Hida beef is a must, and a visit to a sake brewery can provide insight into the craft of sake making. The nearby traditional village of Hida no Sato and the breathtaking views from the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway present opportunities for day trips that combine cultural experiences with natural wonders. 

4. Miyajima

Miyajima - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Miyajima, a picturesque island in Japan, is a treasure trove of culture and natural beauty and is known for its iconic 'floating' torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine, a visit here offers a blend of spiritual tranquility and scenic splendor. During Easter, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, adding a delicate pink hue to the island's already vibrant palette. Visitors can explore the historic Five-Story Pagoda, marvel at the grandeur of the Daisho-in Temple, or take a leisurely stroll through Momijidani Park, renowned for its maple trees. For those seeking adventure, a hike up Mount Misen promises breathtaking views and a chance to encounter friendly local deer, considered sacred in Shinto belief. Whether you're indulging in the local cuisine, like fresh oysters, or participating in a traditional tea ceremony, Miyajima's unique blend of activities ensures a memorable Easter getaway. With its rich history and stunning landscapes, Miyajima truly embodies the spirit of discovery and renewal that resonates with the essence of Easter.

5. Matsumoto

Matsumoto - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Matsumoto is nestled in the heart of Japan and the city home to Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's oldest fortresses with its majestic black exterior, known as 'Crow Castle'. Visitors can explore the well-preserved wooden interiors and climb to the observation deck for stunning views of the city. Beyond the castle, Matsumoto offers a blend of history and modernity, with historic streets like Nawate-Dori and Nakamachi, where travelers can shop for local crafts and savor traditional Japanese cuisine. For art enthusiasts, the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum presents a unique collection of historical woodblock prints. The city's proximity to the Japan Alps also provides opportunities for scenic day trips to the countryside.

6. Nikko

Nikko - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Nikko, Japan is home to the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, which is a masterpiece of Japanese craftsmanship. Visitors can also explore the serene beauty of Lake Chuzenji, created by a volcanic eruption 20,000 years ago, offering breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere. The Kegon Falls, one of Japan's highest waterfalls, provides a powerful display of nature's force and the mystical energy said to emanate from it. For those seeking a spiritual experience, the ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices in Nikko offer a unique insight into Japan's religious traditions. Additionally, the city blooms with cherry blossoms in mid-April, providing a picturesque setting for your holiday excursions. Whether you're interested in history, nature, or spirituality, Nikko presents a rich tapestry of experiences that are both invigorating and reflective. This Easter, immerse yourself in the wonders of Nikko and create memories that will last a lifetime.

7. Takamatsu

Takamatsu - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Takamatsu, the charming capital of Kagawa Prefecture, is a gem waiting to be discovered this Easter holiday. With its picturesque Ritsurin Garden, awarded three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of one of Japan's most beautiful gardens. The historical Takamatsu Castle, also known as Tamamo Park, offers a glimpse into the past with its ruins and the serene seaside atmosphere. For art enthusiasts, the Teshima Art Museum presents a unique blend of nature and contemporary art that is sure to inspire. Food lovers will delight in the local specialty, Sanuki Udon, known for its delightful texture and taste. And for those seeking adventure, the nearby islands of Ogijima and Megijima beckon with their quaint villages and folklore.

8. Tsumago

Tsumago - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Tsumago, Japan, is a hidden gem that offers a unique journey back in time, especially during the Easter holiday when the spring season brings mild weather and cherry blossoms to the region. As a well-preserved post town on the historic Nakasendo route, Tsumago provides a serene escape from the modern world. Visitors can stroll through the main alley, lined with dark wooden buildings and devoid of modern distractions like telegraph poles or television antennas, offering a pure Edo period experience. The Nigaso History Museum and the Wakihonjin and Honjin museums offer fascinating insights into the town's rich history. For a touch of adventure, hiking the scenic trail to Magome is a must, where the natural beauty of the Kiso Valley unfolds with each step. Engage in traditional activities such as making soba noodles or washi paper, or explore the craftsmanship of wood-turning artisans. With its combination of historical allure and natural beauty, Tsumago is an Easter holiday destination that promises both relaxation and enrichment.

9. Sapporo

Sapporo - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Sapporo, the vibrant heart of Hokkaido, is a treasure trove of experiences, especially during the Easter holiday. While Japan doesn't traditionally celebrate Easter, Sapporo offers a unique blend of springtime splendor and cultural festivities that make it an exceptional destination. Imagine strolling through Odori Park, where the cherry blossoms create a delicate pink canopy, a perfect backdrop for leisurely picnics and serene walks. For adventure seekers, nearby ski resorts like Sapporo Teine offer thrilling slopes and breathtaking views of Ishikari Bay, making the most of the tail end of winter's embrace. Food enthusiasts can indulge in the local culinary delights, from the freshest seafood to the iconic Sapporo beer, each flavor telling a story of the region's rich heritage. Cultural buffs will find the historical Hokkaido Shrine Festival, a spring event not to be missed, offering a glimpse into the local traditions and customs. And for those with a sweet tooth, the Ishiya Chocolate Factory awaits, promising a delightful journey through the art of chocolate making. Sapporo, with its harmonious blend of nature, culture, and gastronomy, presents an Easter holiday experience that's truly unforgettable. So pack your bags and set off for an Easter adventure in Sapporo, where memories are waiting to be made.


10. Mount Koya

Mount Koya - 10 Japan Underrated Destination to Visit Besides Tokyo and Kyoto

Mount Koya, or Koyasan, is a serene and spiritual destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it a must-visit this Easter holiday. As the center of Shingon Buddhism, introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi, it's a place steeped in over a millennium of history. Visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquil atmosphere with an overnight stay at a temple lodging, experiencing a monk's lifestyle, including vegetarian monk's cuisine and morning prayers. The heart of Mount Koya is the Okunoin Temple, where Kobo Daishi is enshrined, providing a profound sense of connection to Japan's religious heritage. For those seeking a blend of adventure and reflection, the pilgrimage trails offer hiking and walking paths that reveal the mountain's natural splendor. With its rich history, spiritual significance, and the peaceful embrace of its forested setting, Mount Koya is an unparalleled destination that promises a memorable and rejuvenating Easter holiday experience.

InsideJapan offers both Small Group Tours and bespoke Self-guided Cultural Adventures to suit specific interests, timeframes, and budgets. For more information, visit https://www.insidejapantours.com/.  

For more travel stories about visiting Japan, check out our previous posts here.

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