5 Japanese Villages to Visit 日本の美しい村

  • Published on : 12/08/2020
  • by : R.A
  • Rating :

Japon des champs

Le visage du Japon est souvent celui de Tokyo et de sa mégalopole. C’est aussi celui de ses petits villages anciens, le visage d’un Japon plus rural et plus tranquille qui est cher au cœur des Japonais.

Shirakawa-go (Gifu Prefecture)

This is the most famous and most beautiful, with traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses scattered around the valley. Shirakawago and its neighbor, Gokayama, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and can be visited as a day trip from Nagoya or Kanazawa. Nearly 70 gassho-zukuri (houses with steep thatched roofs) are kept authentic, some have been converted into museums or hostels for a night's stay. The village is very popular: more than 1.5 million tourists a year visit, especially in winter when a thick blanket of snow gives the place an unreal beauty.

Gassho-zukuri type houses, in the village of Shirakawago

Gassho-zukuri type houses, in the village of Shirakawago, near Takayama


Takayama (Gifu Prefecture)

Not far from Shirakawa-go, the ancient village of Takayama is now a small town, but has kept its old center, consisting of small traditional houses, intact. There are also some rural houses with thatched roofs in the district of Hida. Takayama has been dubbed "Little Kyoto" for its similar old-fashioned charm. The city also has temples, the ruins of a castle and a morning market.

Charming streets of Hida Furakawa

Charming streets of Hida Furakawa

J. Laborde

Ine (Kyoto Prefecture)

Far from the mountain villages, Ine is an ancient fishing village famous for its funaya houses. These houses, at the water's edge, were also used as sheds for fishing boats. The village lies on a narrow strip of land nearly 20 meters wide. 

The funaya are now houses and restaurants overlooking the bay waters. This is one of the last fishing villages in Japan.

The funaya houses in Ine

The funaya houses in Ine


Tsumago (Nagano Prefecture)

Tsumago is in the Kiso Valley, a place renowned for hiking. This is one of the last postal towns that lined the Nakasendo road. This road linked Kyoto to Edo by an inland route (the Tokaido, most famous, followed the shoreline). Officials or simple travelers stopped in the many hostels and rest stops along the way. Tsumago was one of those villages born to accommodate travelers. The place is lovingly preserved - cars are banned and modern electric cables are hidden to maintain the atmosphere of the Edo period.

On the Nakasendô road in the Japanese countryside.

On the Nakasendo road in the Japanese countryside.

Fred Weng

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