Comprising the northern section of Ishikawa Prefecture, the Noto Peninsula is home to some of Japan’s most stunning coastal scenery and untouched countryside landscapes. Aside from admiring the natural scenery, the peninsula offers a number of spots for fishing, swimming, and camping. Its main tourist center, Wajima City, is home to fewer than 30,000 people and serves as wonderful place to experience Japanese small-town life.
The Iya Valley is a remote and mountainous area buried in Shikoku Island. Pair its remoteness with its steep and dramatic mountain faces and gorges, and the Taira clan decided this would be the perfect place to settle in the 1100s. The defining feature of the valley is the gorge, which offers sweeping vistas across the whole area.
To cross the gorge, three of the many original vine bridges of the early settlements still exist and are well-maintained as tourist attractions. A much less nerve-wracking way to cross the river is by using the “Wild Monkey Bridge,” a wooden cart suspended with ropes traditionally used to transport goods.
Iya Valley is also a popular spot for hot springs and outdoor activities, as the natural tapestry of the area affords adventure seekers great sights.
Shodoshima has a mild climate and a Mediterranean atmosphere, home to beaches, dramatic coastlines, resorts, and even olive plantations. The second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, Shodoshima is one of the hosts of the Setouchi Triennale contemporary art festival, and outdoor installations from previous festivals can be seen dotted around the island.
Shirakawa-go is a beautiful small village, authentically Japan but also unique. It is been declared a World Heritage Site because of its cultural value but you do not need a title like that to appreciate how stunning it is, nestled amongst the mountains and the rice paddies.
When you visit today, you will still see lots of these traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. They are so charming with their rustic wooden frames and thatched roofs. In winter, snow covers them and the whole village looks magical. Many of them offer homestays where you will sleep on tatami mats and have a traditional meal around the stove in the living room.
Nachi Falls is the tallest waterfall in the country, tumbling down 133 metres (436 feet) into a rushing river below. The waterfall is overlooked by the gorgeous Nachi Taisha Shinto shrine, which is said to be more than 1,400 years old. Built in honour of the waterfall’s kami (spirit god), the shrine is one of several Buddhist and Shinto religious sites found around the waterfall.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route connects Toyama City in Toyama Prefecture with Omachi Town in Nagano Prefecture. The route can be experienced by various types of transportation, including ropeway, cable car, and trolley bus, all of which offer spectacular views of the surrounding Tateyama Mountain Range. The most impressive part of the route is the road between Bijodaira and Murodo, which is bordered by 20-metre-high snow walls from April to May each year.
One of the most beautiful spots to admire Mount Fuji is definitely at the Chureito Pagoda. There is a big chance that you have seen this exact location pop up on Instagram multiple times before. But it is definitely well worth your time, as it is even more breathtaking in real life. This pagoda overlooks Fujiyoshida City and has Mount Fuji as the perfect backdrop.