7 Most Beautiful Villages In Japan - Updated 2024

most beautiful villages in japan
Maria Cristina
Maria Cristina 
Contributing Writer
| 5 min read

Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun”, ranks fourth largest and the second most populated island country in the world. Among its total of 6,852 islands, there are 5 main islands that occupy 97% of the country’s land area. It is divided into 8 unofficial regions and 47 prefectures with Hokkaido up in the north and in the southernmost is Okinawa. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Asian continent is to its East, the East China Sea to its North, and the Philippines to its South. Though Japan has a generally rural landscape covered with forests and mountains, its people live a metropolitan lifestyle blending their age-old traditions with Western influences. It has flourished through the centuries becoming one of the world’s most prosperous and highly-developed countries. Would you like to see the most beautiful villages in Japan? Read on and be guided by our list below.

We handpicked these listings carefully, considering (wherever possible) Superhost status, recent guest reviews, location, accommodation type, prices, availability of dates, decor, and amenities. The image galleries get refreshed with the latest updates regularly. They were last updated on June 01, 2024.

1. Kitashiobara, Fukushima (from USD 136)

Onogawa-Fudotaki Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Qwert1234 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Kitashiobara village is in the Fukushima Prefecture in Aizu’s northern region, with the Yamagata prefecture on its northern boundary. It was created in 1954 by merging three villages – Hibara, Oshio, and Kitayama. A huge area of the village is covered by a forest and mountains like Mount Bandai. It also features two rivers (Ono-gawa and Nakutsu-Gawa) and five lakes. Hibara Village in the center of Bandai-Asahi National Park hosts Lake Hibara. The lake was created in 1888 during Mount Bandai’s eruption. The Oguni-numa swamp was declared a natural monument by the local Japanese government. The humid continental climate of Kitashiobara consists of artic winters together with heavy snowfall and hot summers. The terrain is ideal for salt mining, agriculture, and seasonal tourism. Enjoy university life with a natural setting that’s great for skiing during winter.

Stayed at this property?

Urabandai Lake Resort Goshiki no Mori

Wifi Available

Address: Hibara Yudairayama 1171-1
2.23 km (1.4 mi) from Road Station Urabandai

Parking Restaurant Meeting/banquet facilities Bar 24-HOUR FRONT DESK Sauna Non-smoking rooms Fishing

2. Totsukawa, Nara

Asahi Dam (Totsukawa, Nara) submerged village monument
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Qurren used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Totsukawa village in the Yoshino District of the Nara Prefecture is Japan’s largest village with the biggest land area. It enjoys a humid subtropical climate described as hot and dry during summer and chilly to freezing below zero temperatures during winter. It’s densely populated because of a huge flood in 1889 that caused a huge migration to Hokkaido, creating “Shintotsukawa” or the “New Totsukawa”. Today, the former scene of a devastating calamity has become one of the prettiest places on Earth. The Sasanotaki Waterfall is in Japan’s list of top 100 waterfalls. The Shinto Tamaki Shrine is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of the pilgrimage routes and sacred sites of Kii Mountain Range. Tosenji Onsen is among Japan’s top 100 hot springs. The Tanize Suspension Bridge is popular for its annual drum festival held on the bridge called “Yuredaiko”. The village is served by the National Routes of 425 and 168 and is accessible by train.

Stayed at this property?

Yunotani Senkei

Wifi Available

Address: Musashi 714-2
558.56 km (347.1 mi) from Road Station Urabandai

Parking Sauna Garden Terrace Non-smoking rooms Fishing Free parking Internet services

3. Tarama, Okinawa

Coastal vegetation Tarama Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kzaral used under CC BY 2.0

In Okinawa Prefecture, Miyako District is Tarama village which consists of two islands – Tarama and Minna. These two islands are sandwiched by the Miyako and Ishigaki Islands and to its south is the Pacific Ocean and on its north, the East China Sea. These islands, formerly a political prison, were bombarded by typhoons and droughts. The villages and streets of Tamara are laid out in grids and designed using Feng Shui to minimize damage when calamities occur. It has a stunning landscape still in its original form that earned its place as the only Okinawa village that is among Japan’s most beautiful villages. Minna Island or the “secret island” is accessible by taking a chartered boat from Tamara Island. This thinly populated island and its clear blue waters, which are a sea turtle haven, attract tourists yearly. Come to Tamara Island for their Harvest Festival which lasts for three days in August. Their August Dance, which is a 400-year old tradition, is still practiced today as thanksgiving for their abundant harvest.

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4. Oshika Village, Nagano

Ichibajinja (Oshika) 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mobnoboka used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Oshika Village, among the loveliest villages of Japan, is nestled in Nagano Prefecture’s southernmost mountain region between Akaishi and Ina mountains. The Japan Median Tectonic Line cuts through the southern part of the village and a museum is built to commemorate Japan’s longest fault line. Oshika-mura, meaning “big deer village” is a remote but picturesque village with a population of deer outnumbering people. Its rustic scenery and kabuki theaters remind you of old Samurai towns minus the sword-wielding bandits. Watch free performances that preserve the 300-year-old traditions at the Taiseki Shrine grounds. The mountains are rich with bubbling hot water springs waiting to be discovered. Check into a ryokan, the popular accommodations in the village that is a mix of Japanese and Western features. You can visit the village any time of the year but best during October when the forest trees are very colorful.

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5. Nishihara, Kyushu (from USD 49)

Nishihara, Kyushu
Source: Pixabay

Nishihara village was formed in 1960 with the merger of Yamanashi and Kawahara districts. This lovely village is located in the Aso District in the Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest main island. According to the excavated artifacts, the village was inhabited around 10,000 years ago. Stoneware, bronze, and ironware from the Jomon to Yayoi period suggest that the village progressed from farming to mountain living and hunting. Towards 1853 or Tokugawa Period, the village excelled in flood control, industry, and civil engineering. The completion of dikes watered 100 hectares (247.1 acres) of paddy fields and simultaneously, the districts of Jizo-son, Saruthahiko Okami and Yakushido were constructed with the Kannon Statues. Established in 1873, Kumamoto Prefecture developed a town system by 2012 and founded school systems in Kawahara in Meiji 5 and Toriko Elementary School in 7. The edge of Minami Aso Ring Outer Mountains is the site of world-class golf courses. Tawarayama mountain, 1,095 meters (3,593 feet) tall, is the village symbol because it resembles the heap of rice bales that change color every season. Enjoy the view from the Ogisaka Observatory peak, another of the town’s attractions. The legendary Shiraito Falls is well visited for its cool water and air in summer months.

Stayed at this property?
Nishihara-mura, Kumamoto-ken, Japan
985.36 km (612.3 mi) from Road Station Urabandai
415 reviews   Superhost Wifi Available
ENTIRE HOME 1 Bed 16 Guests 3 Bedrooms 1 Bathroom

Accommodates: 16

Top guest reviews
Amenities & Room:
beautiful full house with all the amenities and very comfortable
the bathroom hot water and hot tub are nice
the room was cold but the place was so beautiful
very nice and huge house with an amazing bathroom
really great space comfortable house
it was very clean and unique
the house was sparkling clean neat and stylish
the house is spacious and very clean
the room is super clean
the house is lovely and clean
very nice host and great support
the hospitality of the owners was awesome
the host was very kind and friendly
the host is very nice and caring
but the host was so kind and beautiful
great location to visit aso and takachiho
very nice place for family or friends trip
although the location is a bit hard to drive but the area is so peaceful and quiet
location is also just beautiful and very scenic and convenient to visit takachiho gorge and mt aso
the neighbourhood was quiet and peaceful
Read more reviews

6. Akaigawa, Hokkaido

Akaigawa village hall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user アラツク used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Akaigawa village is in Shiribeshi on Hokkaido island, the second largest in Japan. The name Akaigawa is derived from “hure-pet” the Ainu word that means “red river”. It became an official Second Class Village in 1906 following its breakaway from Niki Town (formerly Oe Village) in 1899. Akaigawa became popular for its Kiroro Resort, a ski resort on the eastern side of the village that opened in 1991. The region where the ski resort is located enjoys the most snowfall and the finest quality of snow. It’s gaining popularity among international visitors because of its accessibility from the Otaru region, making it ideal for day trips. The caldera in Akaigawa’s center surrounded by mountains on both sides is another tourist attraction. The village features two mountains, Mount Yoichi and Mount Ponkuto, and the Yoichi, Shiroigawa, and Akaigawa river. The village also offers two elementary schools and one high school.

Stayed at this property?

Kiroro Resort

Address: Tokiwa 128-1
606.83 km (377.1 mi) from Road Station Urabandai

7. Shirakawa-gō

Ogi Shirakawa-gō, Gifu, Japan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 663highland used under CC BY 2.5

Shirakawa village in Gifu Prefecture’s Ono District is famous for its tiny, traditional village called Shirakawa-gō. This picturesque village, known for its unique hamlet-style structures called gasshō-zukuri, is declared a World Cultural Heritage Site of UNESCO. The houses which have iconic thatched roofs Gassho-style make it resilient to winter’s heavy snowfall. The roofs are made in the traditional Yui method which doesn’t use nails and is facing south and north. Some of the ancient houses now serve as a museum, guesthouses, and inns. You’ll find these houses nestled in Gifu Prefecture’s mountainous central region filled with rustic charm and picture-perfect winter scenery that holds visitors spellbound.

Stayed at this property?

Kiroro Resort

Address: Tokiwa 128-1
606.83 km (377.1 mi) from Road Station Urabandai

A fascinating culture

Each village in Japan has its own unique facets that make all of them very special. They have their own legends and stories of how these villages were formed. They being historically rich makes the Japanese culture all the more fascinating. Be sure to include these beautiful villages on your itinerary on your next trip to Japan.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Tina is a free-spirited writer and traveler. She likes to experience unfamiliar places, cuisines, and scenery. She prefers beaches to mountains though as she is afraid of heights. Visiting museums,...Read more

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