3 Hidden Gems to Visit in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

3 Hidden Gems to Visit in Japan

By Steffie Josephine Aug 18, 2018

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Japan has become one of the most favourite holiday destinations for world travelers. Japan has also been known for its unique culture, food, and famous streets. Visitors usually come to Japan to go shopping and take a walk in Shibuya or Harajuku, taste Japanese sushi, try kimono or yukata. The list of places that tourist visits are more or less already known by many people and too mainstream. Actually, if you try to explore Japan more deeply, you will find many amazing hidden gems you did not expect to exist in Japan. Here we go:

1.Tottori Sand Dunes

Have you heard about Tottori Sand Dunes before? Many people may not know that Japan also has its own desert.  Just like its name, this desert is located in one of the prefectures in Japan, Tottori prefecture. Tottori Sand Dunes is the largest dune that has also been designated as a Japanese natural monument. With an elevation of about 90 meters, tourists can see a beautiful sea from such a high location. The sunset scenery seen from the dunes is also very beautiful and is one of the many reasons tourists visit.

How can there be a desert in Japan?

Maybe you wonder how Japan has this kind of place? This dune was formed from the volcanic ash of Mountain Daisen. Its formation process is aided by the wind blowing from the Japanese sea for 100,000 years.

What to do?

– Explore the desert by camel while viewing the sights, you can take great photos

– On a summer night, you can see many fishing boats turning on fishing lights. There is also firefly viewing, such a wonderful romantic sight, especially for couples in love

– Paragliding. Because there are no obstacles such as trees or buildings, this sport can be easily enjoyed by everyone, you can fly for miles

– Sandboarding. Just like snowboarding that can be done in winter season


-Book tickets for the activities in advance before you go there

-Tourists can go in any season

-Although it’s free of charge you should prepare money for some unexpected fees if you want to experience other activities, there is also a museum that costs 600 yen to enter

Address: 2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, Tottori Prefecture 689-0105

Phone: 0857-22-0581


-By regular city bus

From Tottori Station, take a bus bound for the Tottori Sakyu (鳥取砂丘) and get off at the last stop. The one-way ride takes 20 minutes and costs 370 yen. There are hourly departures from bus stop #0 in front of Tottori Station.

-By Kirin Jishi Loop Bus

On weekends, national holidays and during the summer holidays (July 20 to August 31), the Kirin Jishi Loop Bus operates from Tottori Station to the sand dunes. Buses along the A-Course take about 25 minutes to reach the dunes while buses along the B-Course take about one hour. There are departures every 1-2 hours. The fare is 300 yen per ride or 600 yen for a 1-day pass.

-By taxi

The sand dunes are about a 20 minute, 2200 yen taxi ride from Tottori Station.

You can also refer to these websites: http://sakyu.city.tottori.tottori.jp/ or www.tottori-tour.jp/en

2. Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route is a place where visitors can enjoy panorama and landscape in Japan, green leaves in spring, red leaves in autumn, snow white in winter. Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route is located in Toyama prefecture.

What to do?

-As one of the best highlands in Japan, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is suitable for trekking lovers. But it’s not only for climbers, you will be amazed at the beautiful scenery of Japan’s landscape.

-Walking tour. It’s recommended for beginners to take an easy route, the journey takes from 20 minutes to 3 hours.

-Momikigari in Autumn season. You can ride the Tateyama ropeway to see how wonderful the highlands when Autumn, when leaves are changing its color. The ropeway ride takes around 7 minutes and costs 1,300 yen.

-Tateyama show corridor. This corridor is the representative of Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route. People can enjoy the pristine snow and take impresive photos there.

Address: Ashikuraji, Tateyama-machi, Nakaniikawa-gun, Toyama-ken 930-1406


Please refer to this site: https://www.alpen-route.com/en/access_new/

3. Noto Peninsula

It can be said that Japan is not really known for its nature, especially beaches compared to other countries. But, let me introduce to you this one, Noto Peninsula, one of the best! Located on the northern side of Ishikawa prefecture, Noto Peninsula is a home to some of Japan’s most breathtaking coastal scenery, there are also natural countryside views. For those of you who want to enjoy the life of Japanese people, you can visit Wajima city which is the center of the city.

What to do?

-Visit some temples. There are some temples that you can visit in the area.

-Visit Ganmon Rock. As one of the famous spots in Noto Peninsula area, this wonderful cave and the coastline can be explored by sightseeing boats, but you can also enjoy the area by walking.

-There are also museums and aquariums really worth the visit.


-By shinkansen and train via Kanazawa

Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa (2.5 to 3 hours, 1-2 trains/hour) and transfer to a JR limited express train to Wakura Onsen (one hour, every 2-3 hours). The entire one-way ride takes under four hours, costs around 16,000 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

-By shinkansen and bus via Shin-Takaoka

Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Takaoka (around 3 hours, 13,500 yen one way, one train/hour) and transfer to a bus to Wakura Onsen (90 minutes, 1300 yen one way, departures every 2-3 hours). The shinkansen ride is covered by the Japan Rail Pass, but the bus ride is not.

-By air

Noto Airport. Flight duration is about one hour from Tokyo Haneda Airport. The regular one way fare is around 25,000 yen.

Buses connect Noto Airport to surrounding towns, such as Wajima and Anamizu. Wakura can be reached by Noto Railway trains from Anamizu. Note that not all flights have bus connections.

The Furusato Taxi service serves the entire Noto Peninsula with rides to/from the airport and charges between 900 and 2100 yen one way per person depending on the destination. Reservations must be made at least one day in advance.


We hope this article gives you useful information about non-mainstream places and gives new experience ideas for visitors.