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UPDATE | February 1, 2024

Hidden spots in Kanto: A journey to discover Japan's hidden charms

Kanto is an area located near the central east of the Japanese archipelago. When you think of Kanto, you first think of many tourist attractions and famous places in Tokyo, but there are many places outside of Tokyo that have hidden charms that are often overlooked. Visit these regions and embark on a journey to discover Japan's hidden charms.

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1. Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture: Enjoy nature and the sea

Tateyama, located at the southern tip of Chiba Prefecture, is an attractive place with beautiful nature and history. There are many things that attract visitors, such as the old townscape, the wide coastline, and the cuisine that makes use of local ingredients.

First of all, one of Tateyama's major attractions is its coastline. Located at the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula, you can enjoy the blue sea and beautiful scenery. Sunrises and sunsets create beautiful scenery. The sunset view from a location overlooking the ocean is especially spectacular and will soothe your soul.


Additionally, many historical places remain in Tateyama. Places such as Tateyama Castle, Awa Shrine, and Daifukuji Temple retain a strong sense of the good old Japanese atmosphere. The area around Tateyama Station has a southern European-style townscape that exudes a European atmosphere. You can enjoy the charm of both history and exoticism.

Tateyama has a warm and mild climate throughout the year. In the summer, the temperature and humidity are relatively high, but the sea breeze brings a cool breeze, making it a pleasant and pleasant summer. Winters are relatively warm with few cold days. I once visited in December, and the weather was so warm that I didn't feel cold even eating ice cream. For those who don't like the cold, this is recommended for winter travel.


2. Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture: Historical exploration and seasonal flowers

Ashikaga City, located in Tochigi Prefecture, has many historical attractions and attractive spots. You can feel the traces of history, such as the Ashikaga School Ruins, which is known as Japan's oldest school, and the Ashikaga Orihime Shrine, which is also known as the god of matchmaking.


Additionally, Ashikaga Flower Park is known as one of the largest flower parks in the Kanto region. It is a wonderful spot where you can refresh yourself while enjoying the beauty of nature, with beautiful seasonal flowers.
In particular, there is a spectacular wisteria trellis that is said to be the best in Japan, creating a beautiful scenery that resembles a curtain of flowers. In 2014, it was selected as one of the world's top 10 dream destinations by CNN. The best time to see them is around Golden Week, so if you have a chance, definitely go. Many tourists visit every year, so if you want to take beautiful photos, we recommend going early in the morning. I went when the park opened and there were already a lot of people there.



3. Annaka City, Gunma Prefecture: Spectacular Bridge and autumn leaves that create a spectacular view

The Usui Third Bridge, commonly known as Megane Bridge, located on Usui Pass in Annaka City, Gunma Prefecture, was born as one of the largest brick arch bridges in Japan.
This place was once known as a difficult place for transportation, and is a historical place where our predecessors gathered their wisdom and introduced Japan's first Abt-type railway (a railway system that can handle steep gradients). It has been designated as a nationally designated important cultural property.


The Shin-Etsu Main Line was electrified and a new line was constructed in 1963. As a result, this Abt-style railway was discontinued, but a promenade called ``Abt Road'' was constructed using the abandoned railway line.
The approximately 6-kilometer promenade from Yokogawa Station on the Shinetsu Line to the former Kumanodaira Station, passing by the former Maruyama Substation, Lake Usui, and Meganebashi, is now a popular hiking course on the abandoned line.

It is especially beautiful during the seasons of fresh greenery in spring and colored leaves in autumn, and is a tourist spot where you can enjoy the red brick arch bridge and nature at the same time.
It takes about an hour and a half to walk from Yokogawa Station to Meganebashi, but it's a very easy path, so we recommend hiking while enjoying nature.
I went there in autumn, and compared to other autumn foliage sightseeing spots, there are fewer people, so you can take your time. However, since the autumn of that year was warm, I was surprised to meet so many wild monkeys along the way.


4. Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture: An old-fashioned little Edo town and gourmet food while walking

Kawagoe, located in Saitama Prefecture, is also known as ``Little Edo'' and retains strong traces of the Edo period, making it a popular tourist destination due to its historic buildings and traditional atmosphere.

As a commercial city that flourished during the Edo period, the cityscape is characterized by a streetscape that still retains the charm of that time. The city is filled with cobblestone alleys, warehouse-style streets, and historic temples and shrines.
Sightseeing spots include Hikawa Shrine, Kawagoe Castle, and Toki no Kane.
The Toki Bell located in the center of the city has become a symbol of Kawagoe. The bell rings four times a day (6:00, 12:00, 15:00, 18:00).

There are many shops where you can rent kimonos, so you can wear them and explore the city while experiencing the tradition. There are also many Japanese sweets, sweets that look great on social media, and souvenir shops, so you can spend a relaxing time while walking around eating them.
Many events are held every season, allowing you to enjoy things unique to Little Edo.


The Kanto region is dotted with many hidden gems that are full of charm that you can't miss even outside the big cities. Various attractions such as natural beauty, unique local culture, local cuisine and festivals attract visitors. New discoveries and excitement await you as you travel around the hidden spots in the Kanto region. When you're tired from work or study, why not go out and refresh yourself?

The person who wrote this article

Jingjie Zhang

A former international student from China. I came to Japan in 2015 because I wanted to live in Japan. I wanted to do a job where I could support international students, so after graduating from graduate school, I joined a company that runsアクセス日本留学. My goal is to enjoy both work and private life.

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