5 Most Underrated Prefectures in Japan

Oboke Pleasure boat Places to visit in Japan
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Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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When people think of traveling to Japan, some of the first places that come to mind are usually Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Not to say that there aren’t incredible experiences you can’t miss in those locations, but Japan is a country of 47 prefectures; each with its own unique culture, food, and attractions. So, if you’ve got time to check out more than those first 3, then don’t miss out on these incredible places! There are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers willing to venture off the beaten path. In this article, we will introduce you to the 5 most underrated prefectures in Japan that are well worth a visit.

1. Fukushima

Fukushima Prefecture, located in the Tohoku region of Japan, is often associated with the 2011 nuclear disaster. However, Fukushima has made an undeniably remarkable recovery since then and boasts many amazing places to visit, here are a few to get you started:

Aizu Wakamatsu

Aizu Wakamatsu is a castle town with a rich Samurai history and is home to the impressive Tsuruga Castle. Check out our in depth guide on how to enjoy this historically amazing place!


Ouchi-juku is a well-preserved Edo-period village that gives visitors a glimpse into what life was like during that time. 

Soma Nomaoi

Soma Nomaoi is an annual festival held in July that features a thrilling horse race where riders wear traditional samurai armor. If you’re a horse lover or Samurai enthusiast, this is a must see for you! 


Urabandai is a beautiful highland area with stunning autumn foliage and hot springs. It’s also known for its lakes, marshlands, and streams! A great place for those who enjoy the water.


Hanamiyama is a hill covered with cherry blossom trees, making it a perfect spot for a spring picnic.

Fukushima Exclusion Zone Tour

After the 2011 earthquake and disaster that devastated Fukushima and northern Japan, many people are hesitant to visit the area as they think it may still be unsafe. Well we would like to tell you that it is now completely safe to visit the area! If you’re planning on going to Fukushima, we highly recommend you join our Exclusion Zone Tour where you will get to see the areas affected in 2011, learn all the true facts about the disaster, go to some beautiful parts of Fukushima, and even get to enter the nuclear power plant! Have a look below for more information.

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Visit 2-Day Tour from Tokyo
Learn more about the nuclear disaster and how far Fukushima has come in the reconstruction process in this educational 2...

2. Tokushima

Tokushima Prefecture, located on the island of Shikoku, is known for its beautiful nature and unique culture. This is the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, and is famous among hikers and backpackers because of the pilgrimage! Check out these destinations:

Iya Valley

Iya Valley is a remote mountainous region with steep gorges, clear rivers, and traditional thatched-roof houses. A wonderful area for outdoor activities and hot springs.


Naruto Kaikyo

The Naruto Kaikyo is a strait that connects the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and is famous for its whirlpools that can reach up to 20 meters wide. 

Oboke and Koboke Gorges

The Oboke and Koboke Gorges are narrow gorges that are perfect for hiking and rafting. Fun fact; Their names mean “big dangerous steps”, and “small dangerous steps”, respectively. 

Wakimachi Town

Wakimachi Town is a preserved historic district with traditional Japanese buildings that date back to the Edo period. 

Awa Odori Festival

The Awa Odori is a lively traditional dance festival that takes place every August and attracts thousands of spectators.

3. Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi Prefecture, located in the Chugoku region of Japan, has a rich history and is known for its scenic beauty. If you’re a fan of bridges, there are a couple remarkable ones on this region! Heres some great places to see:


Iwakuni is a small town with a beautiful traditional Japanese bridge and a castle that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area. 

Tsunoshima Bridge

Tsunoshima Bridge is a spectacular bridge that connects the mainland to a small island with stunning beaches

Motonosumi Shrine

Motonosumi Shrine is a unique shrine that is located on a cliff overlooking the Sea of Japan, and makes our list of top 10 shrines! Apparently, a white fox appeared at the side of a local fisherman’s bed and told him to build it. Without question, the fisherman did so in 1955! 

Motonosumi Shrine

Akiyoshido Cave

Akiyoshido Cave is a limestone cave(one of the biggest in Japan) that is over 300 million years old and has unique formations that are jaw-dropping. 


Omijima is a small island with rugged coastlines and a lighthouse that offers a great view of the surrounding sea. It’s also known for its all season scuba diving! Not to mention, it’s a protected nature area.

4. Saga

Saga is a quaint prefecture located on the island of Kyushu, renowned for its beautiful landscapes and traditional handcrafts, especially pottery. There are plenty of historical sights as well as hot spring towns! Here’s some suggestions on what to do:

Takeo Onsen

Takeo Onsen, one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, dates back to the Nara Period (710-794). Relax your body and soul in the warm waters while admiring the serene surroundings. 

Mifuneyama Rakuen

Mifuneyama Rakuen is a great place to see nature as it is a breathtaking garden that features seasonal flowers and art installations.

Mifuneyama Rakuen Saga

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Yutoku Inari Shrine is dedicated to the god of prosperity and good harvest. It’s known for its elaborate architecture, vermilion-colored torii gates, and stunning views of the valley. 

Yoshinogari Historical Park

At the Yoshinogari Historical Park, you can learn about Japan’s Yayoi Period (300 BC-300 AD) and experience ancient farming practices.

Arita and Imari

Arita and Imari are two towns famous for their porcelain production. You can watch craftsmen at work and shop for souvenirs to take home.

5. Fukui

Fukui, located in the Hokuriku region, is a perfect destination for nature lovers and history buffs. It’s just a bit north of Kyoto and is a mountainous region. There’s plenty of great things to see, but here are some ideas to start with:

Tojinbo Cliffs

The Tojinbo Cliffs, situated on the coast of the Sea of Japan, are a must-see. These rugged cliffs were formed by the pounding waves of the sea and offer a breathtaking view. 

Echigo Ono Castle

Echigo Ono Castle is a well-preserved castle that dates back to the 16th century. Climb to the top of the castle tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

For a unique experience, head to the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum; it has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in Japan. You can see life-sized models of various dinosaurs and learn about the history of life on earth. 

Dinosaur Museum

Eiheiji Temple

If you’re interested in Buddhism, don’t miss the chance to visit the Eiheiji Temple, a Zen temple that was founded by the famous monk Dogen in the 13th century. You can participate in a meditation session and learn about monastic life. 

Echizen Great Buddha

The Echizen Great Buddha, a massive bronze statue of Buddha that stands 17.7 meters tall, is another must-see for any buddhism enthusiasts, or those who practice buddhism.

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.

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Happy traveling!

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