If it is rather the typical and traditional places that attract you to Japan, pack your bags, we will take you to visit the most beautiful streets of the country, far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities!
Oharai-machi, Ise, Mie Prefecture
The city of Ise, located in Mie Prefecture, is home to Ise Jingu, the holiest Shinto shrine in Japan. Oharai-machi takes its name from the purification ritual (oharai), performed in this street by pilgrims before crossing the tori at the main entrance.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), four million people visited this shrine each year, making it one of the busiest streets in Japan.
Even today, it retains this commercial atmosphere, with its sake cellars and traditional sweet shops.
The wooden buildings on this street use the same architectural style, Tsumairi says, as Japanese religious buildings.
Tsumago-juku, Nagiso, Nagano Prefecture
Nestled in the Nagano Mountains, Tsumago-juku was the forty-second of sixty-nine stations on the Nakasendo Highway, one of the main routes connecting Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo).
It crosses the beautiful Kiso Valley and is located on the east bank of the Araragi River.
It was the first area in Japan to be designated by the Japanese government as a National Architectural Preservation Site, in 1976.
Shirakawa-go, Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture
The village of Shirakawa is famous for its historic village, which is a World Heritage Site and consists of typical houses of architectural style called gasshō-zukuri.
The Ogimachi district of Shirakawa-go is famous around the world for its 59 houses with A-shaped roofs, used for raising silkworms.
It was also designated by the Japanese government as a National Architectural Preservation Site in 1976.
In 1995, the villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama were declared a World Heritage Site.
Many people recommend visiting the village during the winter to take in the beautiful scenery at nightfall.
Kurashiki-bikanchiku, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture
The town of Kurashiki, which flourished during the Edo period, has been designated as an Area of Special Beauty and has been carefully preserved since 1969.
With its picturesque streets placed on either side of a long canal, people call it the “Venice of the Orient”.
The city has long served as a rice distribution center.
The historic district, filled with traditional shops and restaurants, is a popular tourist spot.
There are a lot of small museums, cafes and shops to visit. Near the canal you’ll find Japan’s oldest museum of western art, the Ohara Art Museum.
In particular, you will be able to discover one of Monet’s Water Lilies, bought directly from Monet almost a century ago.
Taketomi-cho, Taketomi Island, Okinawa Prefecture
Taketomi Island is part of the Yaeyama Islands archipelago, located 300 km southwest of the main island of Okinawa.
Taketomi is known for its traditional red-roofed houses, the architectural style of which dates back to a time when the islands were a separate entity in Japan, ruled by the Ryūkyū Kingdom.
With its white sand roads and stone walls, this island can be discovered on foot or on a cart pulled by a buffalo.
And you, during your previous trip, did you discover a place that is worth the detour?