Tourists have been returning to Japan in increasing numbers. But in a marked difference to the boom of the pre-pandemic era, a growing number of visitors are now venturing away from the big cities to enjoy the charms of quieter, less busy destinations. According to one survey comparing a 3-month period this year with the same period in 2019, the 10 locations that enjoyed the sharpest increase in arrivals are all in regional Japan. We visited some of these hidden gems to see what it is that appeals to international visitors and spoke with tourism experts about the growing desire for a more authentic experience of Japan's local communities.
Frank Walter (Editor, japan-guide.com)