Want to check out offbeat, unique places to visit in Japan? Here’s a list to help you plan your Japan itinerary with some unique Japanese tourist spots to visit!
With magnificent scenic views, beautiful floral displays, some of the oldest temples and shrines, delicious foods, vivid culture, and historic castles, the island country, Japan, looks exactly like something out of a fairytale.
And this heavenly beauty makes it one of the top destinations for travelers.
Except for the most popular tourist attractions, Japan has hundreds of unique places with marvelous splendor.
Those spots are not so famous or well-known to be listed on tourist guides, but surely, they can gratify any traveler’s curiosity.
Gladly, I am here today to introduce all those unique places to visit in Japan.
Why don’t you put some of them on your bucket list?
16 Unique Places to Visit in Japan: Make The Most Out of Your Journey
Here I will give a brief on some of the prettiest places in Japan that are worth visiting.
Now, where should I go in Japan for the first time?
If this question is making you confused, hopefully, I can remove it within a while.
Just go to the below descriptions, and you can surely make up your mind.
Let’s start with a sacred place that symbolizes the religious harmony of Japan.
Noboribetsu Onsen (Hokkaido)
One of the greatest ways to experience Japan is to soak in an onsen (hot spring), which is a centuries-old tradition with strong roots all across the nation.
The northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is no exception, so visit Noboribetsu Onsen, which takes its name from the Ainu term “Nupurupetsu,” to enjoy steaming hot waters that provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience (dark, cloudy river).
Noboribetsu Onsen; which is located close to the Jigokudani Valley, an old crater made by a volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago, aggressively spew 10,000 tonnes of muddy water every day while you stand in awe.
These onsen waters contain nine different types of water, including salt/saline springs, sulphuric springs, and radium springs, so you can happily immerse yourself in them!
The onsen waters will detoxify your skin, and when you leave the onsen, you’ll feel completely cleansed. You can even take a night boat to round off your trip so you can see Jigokudani lit up.
Address: Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan
Sado Island (Niigata)
If you enjoy hiking, you might be drawn to the notion of going trekking on Sado Island, an island that is bursting to the seams with natural wonders. It is located 45 kilometers off the coast of Niigata and offers access to lush forests and azure waters.
Ishina Natural Cedar Forest is definitely worth seeing because you may see a variety of unusual birds and flora there.
There are also huge, old cedar trees along this walkway, some of which are hundreds of years old and have been twisted by the weather, giving the area a mysterious feel.
Mount Koya is one of the ancient religious places in Japan, a place that denotes peace and tolerance.
With a number of shrines, temples, and pagodas, this complex was the spiritual abode of Shingon Buddhism.
Shingon Buddhism was a group founded more than a thousand years ago by Kobo Daishi, one of Japan’s most important religious figures.
The main temple of this group was Kongobu-Ji, which is located on the top, covered by the forest of Mount Koya.
Besides this, there are also more than 100 other temples around this complex.
Generally, when you visit this kind of place, you have to worry about where to stay at night.
However, this sacred place will rescue you from such worries, as many of those temples offer visitors an overnight stay.
Such a kind heart!
Being one of the significant spots of Buddhist worship, this place represents Japanese traditions, Buddhism, and Shintoism.
So, you can say it is a perfect representation of religious peace in Japan.
I am recommending this place not only for its religious values.
Honestly, it is the splendid beauty of nature that encouraged me to do so.
Nature has left no stone unturned to decorate this place wonderfully.
And that’s the reason why UNESCO declared this holy place as a world heritage site.
So, altogether, I think this place is a must see in Japan.
If you love flowers, you can consider visiting the next place.
Location: Koyasan, 高野山, Koya, Ito District, Wakayama 648-0211, Japan
Nishinomaru Garden & Osaka Castle
One of the beautiful sights in Japan is the Nishinomaru garden.
A garden that you can only find in Japan. Some of the world’s most beautiful flowers are dominating here with their magnificent charm, making it a fascinating place for tourists.
You can also enjoy the beauty of some native flowers, including cherry blossoms.
Anyone who has ever seen its charm will never forget it!
This garden is situated in Osaka and not very far away from the main city.
And not to mention Osaka castle situated near it, which is the most dazzling aspect of this garden.
Both the Osaka castle and the Nishinomaru garden hold historical and cultural significance together.
Therefore, put this place on the bucket list if you want a mixed flavor.
Viewing sunrise or sunset on an island is one of the mesmerizing feelings you can ever experience.
And if you are looking for such a place, then Miyajima island is the place where you should head to.
It is the most unexplored and untouched island in Japan, which is covered by mostly forests and tiny villages.
So, there is no chaos or hustle-bustle compared to the other islands of this country.
This Miyajima island is an ideal place for peace-lovers who want to get away from the noisy outer world and listen only to the sounds of nature.
It is a place where deers and humans walk closely side by side along the shores of the sea!
Not so far away from Hiroshima, this island offers the most serene and attractive views in the whole of Japan.
Indeed, it’s a place for spending an evening alone or with your loved ones.
Location: Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan
Sagano Bamboo Forest
Just imagine. You are walking along the path with an eye-catching landscape and hearing the sound of the wind blowing through the bamboo!
Won’t it feel something unreal or dreamlike?
And to turn this dreamlike feeling into a reality, you can visit Sagano Bamboo Forest in Japan.
This forest is located in Arashiyama, a neighborhood on the western outskirts of Kyoto.
The ministry of the environment in Japan considers this bamboo forest as a soundscape of Japan.
With a peaceful nature spot, the forest provides the visitors with a scenic view and a calming sound of the rattling of bamboos.
This sound is so meditative and calm that it fills every human soul with a feeling of serenity.
An opposite representation of Japan’s highly urbanized life, Sagano Bamboo Forest resembles an earthly paradise.
No doubt, you won’t regret visiting this one of the most beautiful natural places in Japan.
You will get to enjoy the most astonishing and uncommon coastal landscapes and pristine countryside panorama in the Noto Peninsula.
It holds some of the beautiful sights in Japan, which is in the northern section of Ishikawa Prefecture.
This place has a number of fishing points, swimming and camping areas.
So, you can enjoy all of these in addition to admiring the breathtaking natural scenery.
The town of Wajima, one of the unusual places in Japan, is its main tourist center.
If you want an amazing place to experience the life of a small Japanese city, this place is a must-see for you.
Location: Soryomachi, Wajima, Ishikawa 928-0006, Japan
Nagoro: The Village Of Dolls
Sadness, nostalgia, and memories!
These three are the first impressions that emerge when you look at the Valley of the Dolls.
This Nagoro island holds a history that is both dreadful and interesting.
Let me share it with all of you.
The residents of this Nagoro village left it in search of employment. This village was abandoned for years.
After a few years, Tsukimi Ayano visited the village and made all the dolls in remembrance of every villager.
Today, this place is home to more than three hundred life-size dolls that look exactly like humans.
While strolling through this island, you will also find eye-catching monuments and beautiful lakes as well.
Location: 629番地5 Higashiiyasugeoi, Miyoshi, Tokushima 778-0201, Japan
Do you want to observe the best views of Mount Fuji?
Then you should head to Lake Kawaguchiko. Its appearance looks gorgeous, especially in cherry blossom or autumn leaf seasons.
You can enjoy the panoramic views by walking or cycling around the lake.
Otherwise, taking a trip on a boat or cable car won’t be bad too.
Also, there are many museums and tea houses around this lake to satisfy your thirsty travel mind.
Location: Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi, Japan
The Blue Pond Or Aoiike
A water body with a heavenly blue color!
Sounds fascinating! Isn’t it?
Then, the Blue Pond or Aoiike in Hokkaido Prefecture will be worth visiting for you.
Though it’s an artificial pond, you will go speechless with its mesmerizing beauty.
The tree stumps that pop out from the surface of the water has added some extra flavor to increase its unworldly appearance.
Want to know why it was created and what’s the reason behind its blue color?
As part of an erosion control system, this pond was designed to protect the area from the mudflow that can occur from the nearby mountain.
The distinctive blue color is due to the natural minerals dissolved in the water.
However, if you prefer desert-like feelings instead of water, then consider visiting the next place.
Location: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235, Japan
Sand Dunes Of Tottori
I think the most unique and unusual place in Japan is the sand dunes of Tottori.
These sand dunes are part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park in the Tottori prefecture.
Stretching for 16 km along the coast of the Japan Sea, it is the largest dune in the country.
You might think why I said earlier that it would give you a desert-like feel!
Well, surprisingly, camels are widely available in this area.
So, the combination of sands and camels gives this place a beautiful desert-like atmosphere.
Don’t love deserts?
Then, let’s pay a visit to the flower kingdom.
Location: 2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105, Japan
Hitachi Seaside Park
If you don’t mind losing yourself in the stunning beauty of flowers, Hitachi Seaside Park is the place where you should go.
The diversity of flowers is amazing here with baby blue eyes, cosmos, sunflowers, and Kochia bush.
This park is mainly famous for its blue flower fields, called Nemophilas, which bloom throughout the park in the spring.
Who once sees its marvelous splendor face to face cannot forget that for a lifetime.
After they blossom, they start to fade out, so it is better to go during the golden time from April 29th to May 5th to see millions of nemophila blue.
The rounded shrubs of the park, Kochia, also don’t fall behind to show its ethereal beauty.
It assumes a brilliant crimson color during autumn, creating a fascinating view.
Besides the annual Nemophila Harmony, this seaside park also features 170 varieties of tulips, a million daffodils, and many other flowers with a total of 4.5 million.
Location: Japan, 〒312-0012 Ibaraki, Hitachinaka, Mawatari, 字大沼605-4
We all know that Japan is famous for its vast number of onsens throughout the country.
And this Beppu is known as one of the best places in Japan for onsen. It is very popular among the Japanese.
The hot spring Hells of Beppu is located in the onsen town of Beppu, Oita, Japan.
You can enjoy the hot springs and the force of nature, stay in a fabulous ryokan (Japanese style inns), get buried in the warm and healthy volcanic sand, and much more.
Beppu is waiting for you to provide refreshment and peace after a day-long hectic journey.
Who knows, it might become one of your favorite places in Japan.
Aokigahara Suicide Forest
If you are someone looking for a dark adventure or some thrill, this place might be just right for you.
This exciting forest Aokigahara lies at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, which is better known as the Suicide Forest.
A thrilling destination for all travelers, this place holds lots of social dilemmas and significance.
The forest is ill-famed as a suicide spot in Japan, and you can easily trace personal artifacts belonging to people while strolling through the forest.
The forest is said to have a creepy vibe, with rumors of various paranormal activities.
There are a few movies about this forest. If you watched any of them, you already know a lot, I think.
However, the thing you don’t know is this Aokigahara forest is also known as the sea of trees.
Oh! What a relief!
Thanks to the trees that I finally found something good in so many negativities!
Location: Narusawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0300, Japan
Okayama & Himeji Castle
If you are interested in walking off-the-beaten-track, I can introduce you to a great place in Japan.
And it is Okayama, one of the nice places to visit in Japan.
You can enjoy the overwhelming beauty of some of the colorful gardens in this modern city.
This city wears a stunning look, especially in Sakura season with the heavenly cherry blossoms.
Therefore, anyone who wants to find peace in the splendid beauty of these flowers without the crowd of Tokyo or Kyoto, this place is worth visiting for him.
Another convenient thing about this place is it is on a bullet train line.
So, it offers an affordable base to explore the whole area.
Other places of interest around this city are the historic Kurashiki, Hiroshima, Naoshima Island, and Himeji Castle.
And not to mention Himeji castle, which is the best-preserved castle in all of the country.
It’s a must-visit place, especially in cherry blossom season.
This castle serves as a classic example of Japanese castle architecture.
Another name of this fortress is Shirasagijo which means White Heron Castle, due to its white outer walls.
Location: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan
Another unique place to visit in Japan is the Kiso Valley.
It is home to the Nakasendo Trail, one of only five Edo-period highways that links Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.
Travelers of that period made the long journey on foot. As a result, this valley is bestrewn with historic towns where travelers ate, rested, and slept along the way.
You can observe some of the well-preserved cities while walking through this old highway, between mountains and dense forests.
Wow! Just the thinking of it is giving me a dramatic vibe!
Leaving aside the natural environment and historical construction work, now let’s know about some of the city-centric recreation centers.
Location: Tono, Okuwa, Kiso District, Nagano 399-5501, Japan
Japanese Cat Cafes
Many of the unique places in the world are Japanese cat cafes.
Japan takes honor and delight in presenting its exceptional and unique cat cafes.
You will find a few cat cafes while strolling through the capital city, Tokyo. The infrastructure and atmosphere in the cat cafes are exceptionally well and unique.
Want to know the reason behind introducing these cat cafes?
It is to provide people a way to pet animals, especially cats. It encourages people to get some time out of their busy schedules and spend time with these cute and fun creatures.
You can tell them your stories, pet them, or sometimes feed them.
Therefore, you will feel cherished and relaxed at the same time.
Still miss Pokemon or this sound of Pikachu?
Well, if you do, then this place will fill your heart and soul with happiness. Though it is unreal for this place to exist on earth, still, it does.
There is a pokemon center situated in Japan for all the pokemon fans.
In fact, you will find several stores in different cities throughout the country.
Great pokemon goodies, stuff toys, hampers, games, and lots more can be found here.
So the next time when you head to Japan, don’t forget to visit this fun-filled place.
This recommendation is especially for the kids and grownups who are crazy fans of Pokemon.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Located in the Nagano Prefecture, you’ll find the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Joshinetsu Kogen National park. Misty, cold forests surround the park with an breathtaking view.
Since Jigokudani park is at a higher altitude and witnesses heavy rainfall because of which tourists usually don’t add it to their itinerary. Regardless, the highlight of this park is the Japanese Macaques that you’ll enjoy watching!
Jigokudani monkey park is away from the city making it a great escape from the hustle butle of Japan.
Location: 6845 Hirao, Yamanochi, Shimotakai District, Nagano 381-0401, Japan
Well, all this time, you have had a vast idea about some unique places to visit in Japan.
Each place has a different essence of its culture and traditions.
Whether it is the bamboo forest or the modern Pokemon Center, each destination represents close significance to the lives of people and the art they signify.
Japan is still one of those countries that still treasures its natural landscape more than urban.
To me, traveling to Japan is like finding paradise in the streets.
There is a famous going: Best friends who explore Japan together, stay together.
I can’t agree more with this line after exploring the natural beauty of Japan.
I hope you will visit your desired place among these and be the happiest in the world.
Lastly, happy traveling!