Japan seems to be the country to be in these days as thousands of travelers flock the Asian nation to visit destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It has reached the point that many have argued that Japan is now wrestling with overtourism

Despite this, there are still cities in Japan that are not as known among travelers as the aforementioned cities. While they may not be as popularity, they too deserve the spotlight and the opportunity to explored by local and foreign visitors alike. 

Here are five less known cities in Japan that are definitely worth the visit. 

Kitakyushu

Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan

(Photo : Tayawee Supan on Unsplash)

Established in 1963, the city of Kitakyushu is found in the Fukuoka Prefecture after the merger of five separate cities. It is the northernmost city of the island of Kyushu and serves as the gateway between both Kyushu and Honsu. 

Points of Interest:

  • Kawachi Wisteria Garden
  • Kitakyushu Manga Museum
  • Kokura Castle
  • Tanga Market
  • TOTO Museum

Kumamoto 

Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

(Photo : Zion C on Unsplash)

The capital city of the prefecture of the same name, Kumamoto is considered one of the major cities on Kyushu island's west coast. In 2016, the city was struck by series of earthquakes that damaged several tourist attractions. 

Points of Interest:

  • Former Residence of Hosokawa Gyobu
  • Kumamoto Castle
  • Lafcadio Hearn's Former Residence
  • Reigando Cave 
  • Suizenji Garden

Related Article: Why This City in Japan is the Most Walkable in Asia

Okazaki

Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

(Photo : WANG Tianfang on Unsplash)

Known as the birthplace of Japan's first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Okazaki is located in the Aichi Prefecture. Throughout history, merchants and artisans have prospered in this city, and this is still evident today. 

Points of Interest:

  • Mikawa Warriors and Iyeyasu Museum 
  • Okazaki Castle 
  • Okazaki Park
  • Okutono Jinya
  • Tatsuki Shrine

Takasaki 

Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, Japan

(Photo : Lucas Calloch on Unsplash)

The largest city in Gunma Prefecture, Takasaki is best known as the birth place of the Daruma doll. It is also known for its onsens, which make it a must-visit city for those who want to experience it. 

Points of Interest: 

  • Cave of Goddess of Mercy Statues 
  • Haruna Shrine
  • Shorinzan Darumaji Temple  
  • Lake Haruna
  • Mount Haruna

Takayama

Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

(Photo : Vladimir Haltakov on Unsplash)

Located in the Gifu Prefecture, Takayama (otherwise known as Hida-Takayama) can be found in the mountainous Hida region. It is a must-visit city for anyone who refers to experience more of the traditional Japanese culture. 

Points of Interest:

  • Hida Folk Village
  • Matsuri no Mori
  • Shinhotaka Ropeway
  • Takayama Jinya
  • Takayama's Old Town

Read Also: Japan Wants More Tourists to Visit Despite Overtourism Concerns