Japan set the tourist bar even higher in 2018 by attracting more than 30 million visitors from overseas, triple the number from five years ago. The increase makes Japan the fastest-growing major travel destination of the decade, with India and Vietnam coming in a distant second and third, respectively.

With popular destinations like Kyoto and Kamakura already fending off boorish tourists like Grandma swatting a toddler from her tea cabinet, cities suffering from kanko kogai, or tourism pollution, will be further exacerbated when 40 million foreigners are expected to arrive in Tokyo’s Olympic year of 2020.

Escape the maddening crowds, and Grandma Yoshiko’s wrath, by planning your next Japan vacation to these out-of-the-way, tourist-friendly destinations.

Kusatsu Onsen: Gunma Prefecture’s Historic Hot Springs Villa

Kusatsu’s atmosphere and romance has drawn philosophers, painters and high-ranking gentry for centuries as this haven of Japanese culture, wellness and healing is built for one thing and one thing only: taking it easy.

Secret Kyoto: The Countryside and Lesser Known Attractions

Few tourists realize that there’s a whole prefecture beyond the city of Kyoto. Getting out of the city proper and exploring the broader landscape of Kyoto opens up a wealth of possibilities for exciting adventure, unique food and drink, and some wonderful surprises along the way.

Go Sandboarding in Tottori Prefecture

Hugging the Sea of Japan along a largely isolated stretch of coastline, Tottori tends to fly under the radar when it comes to scoping out potential travel destinations. However, the region is dotted with numerous alluring spots, with the Tottori Sand Dunes quickly becoming a must-visit geographical anomaly.

Find Heaven in the Hells of Kyushu

Beppu in Kyushu’s Oita Prefecture is the most famous hot spring resort in Japan with hot water vapors constantly steaming out of utility grates and hovering above the town.  Explore the entire region to soak your cares away in blissful seclusion.

Gaze in Wonder at Suwa’s Dazzling Fireworks Spectacles

Located in the southwest corner of Nagano Prefecture, Lake Suwa’s impressive summer illuminations are considered by many to be Japan’s best fireworks exhibitions, which is saying a lot.

Bury Your Toes in Japan’s White Sands

Japan is not revered for its beaches. However, from the utopia of Okinawa’s Tokashiki Island to isolated havens on the Izu Peninsula, we’ve found three well worth a long weekend getaway.

Explore Noshiro, Akita’s “Wood Capital”

Though Noshiro’s primary claims to fame are its wood industry and its basketball team, the city boasts unique architectural structures, extraordinary woodcraft prowess, and an awe-inspiring summer festival.


Food & Technology: Discover What Japan Does Best in Nagoya

Aichi Prefecture is known for being the home of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, Nagoya, but it’s also the birthplace of Japan’s number one delicacy, sushi, and the countryside is awash with verdant fields of green tea leaves.