Asia Destinations Japan

3 of the Best and Least Touristy Places in Japan.

Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world.
But don’t think for a second that the rest of Japan is like that.
I traveled Japan for 44 days and there were many sites I visited that hardly had anyone around.

I was actually surprised by the lack of people at certain tourist destinations.
Surprised, but incredibly pleased.
Less people around is always nice.

There were 3 places in particular I enjoyed that hardly anyone was at when I visited.
Honestly they were some of the best day trips I did.

So here’s 3 of the Best Least Touristy places in Japan.

NOKOGIRIYAMA(“Saw Mountain”).

The day I went to Nokogiriyama is was rainy and windy.
I’m sure that kept a lot of people indoors.
But when I returned to my hostel in Tokyo I realized a lot of tourists were unaware of it.
I’d show people pics from that day and they were surprised they never heard of it.
It’s also a 2 hour train ride from Tokyo.
So that might contribute to the lack of people there as well.

If you’re looking for nature, a little bit of hiking, good viewpoints, and great sculptures.
Nokogiriyama is the perfect site to visit.

View from Nokogiriyama out towards the Tokyo Bay.

What is Nokogiriyama?

Mount Nokogiri is a mountain on the Boso Peninsula in Honshu, Japan.
Known as Saw Mountain, or Saw-toothed Mountain, due to its saw-toothed looking slopes.

It is home to temples, mountain carvings, sculptures, a giant Buddha, and great views.

You can hike or ride the ropeway to the mountaintop observation deck.
The observation deck offers views to Tokyo Bay and Mt. Fuji, if the weather is clear enough.

Attractions at Nokogiriyama.

Nihon-ji Temple:
Nihon-ji Temple is the oldest place of worship in the Kanto region.
The temple was also buit in 725 C.E.

The fact that it’s still standing is impressive enough.
But even more impressive than that is what’s nearby…

Nihon-ji Daibutsu:
Carved in 1783, this is the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu in Japan.
Sitting at 102 feet(31 meters) this Giant Buddha is twice the size of his Kamakura-counterpart.
This Buddha Of Healing was my favorite attraction here.

Giant Buddha stone carving on Mt. Nokogiri

Kannon Carving:
The Hyaku-Shaku Kannon was built in 1966 in remembrance of those killed in World War II.
This 99 foot(30 meter) depiction of the Goddess Mercy was carved straight into the rock face of the quarry walls.
If you’re standing in front of the Kannon and you look up to your left you will see the next attraction…

Jigoku Nozoki(“View of Hell”):
When I think of a View Of Hell I don’t think of lush trees and the Tokyo Bay.
But hey, what do I know?
Getting to the edge of this viewpoint might be Hell if you’re afraid of heights.
But the view itself is quite nice.
If the view is really clear you can even see Mt. Fuji.
Bring your selfie stick for this part.

The 1500 Arhat:
As you’ve walked between the places listed above you might have seen headless statues.
These are the 1500 Arhat; mortals who have attained enlightenment.
If you see some with heads you’ll notice they all have different facial expressions.
But you’ll mostly see headless ones.
Because during the anti-Buddhist movement of 1868-1874 many Buddhist sites were destroyed.

Stone statues on Mt. Nokogiri.

Tokyo to Nokogiriyama.

Nokogiriyama is a 2 hour train ride from Tokyo Station to Hamakanaya Station.
The ropeway is a short walk from the train station as are the hiking routes.

Hours, Prices, and Directions are all available on its WEBSITE.

If you’re looking for a nice getaway from the craziness of Tokyo, this site is definitely worth it.


Okunoin is the site of the mausoleum of Kōbō-Daishi(Kūkai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism.
He is one of the most revered people in Japan’s religious history.
He died in 835 at the age of 61.
But many of his followers believe he never died.
Instead he rests in eternal meditation awaiting the Buddha of the Future.

The surrounding town is a highly religious place.
And Okunoin is one of the most sacred places in Japan and a popular pilgrimage spot.

And since Kukai is just “resting” many Buddhists want to be buried nearby.
The cause of this has created the largest cemetery in Japan.
Okunoin’s cemetery has over 200,000 tombstones.
All lining the two kilometer long path to Kukai’s mausoleum.

Child's tombstone at Okunoin Cemetery.

The cemetery isn’t only impressive because of its size.
It’s impressive because some of the tombstones are great pieces of art.
I spent hours roaming around and taking photos before I made it to the end.
If I was staying overnight I would’ve loved to have gone back around sunset for even more photos.
It might sound creepy because it’s a cemetery, but Okunoin is a gorgeous place.

Osaka to Okunoin.

Okunoin is not the most direct place to arrive at.
But once you get there you’ll immediately realize how worth it was.
For all the different transportation options you can visit This WEBSITE.

ŌKUNOSHIMA: Rabbit Island.

I thought for sure an island fun of bunnies would also be full of people, but it wasn’t.
I was actually surprised by the lack of people I saw on the island.
There were many times where I was all alone with a bunch of rabbits running up to me.

2 bunnies cuddled next to each other. Rabbit Island was surprisingly one of the least touristy places in Japan.

Ōkunoshima is a small island in the Inland Sea of Japan in the city of Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture.
It is often called Rabbit Island(Usagi Shima) because of the 1000+ rabbits that roam the island.
They love people and will immediately run up to you.
But they only want you for one thing: Food.

Whether or not you should feed them is up to you.
I didn’t bring any food, only because I forgot.
But later on I read THIS Article that talks about how feeding them isn’t helping them.

If you somehow get bored with all the rabbits you can learn what the island used to manufacture.
Ōkunoshima played a major role during World War II.
The island has a poison gas manufacturing plant on it.
It produced poison gas for much of the chemical warfare that was carried out in China.
The ruins of the old forts and gas factory can be found all over the island; but entry is prohibited.
You can visit the small Poison Gas Museum on the island to learn more.

Besides the bunnies and poisonous gas you can also hike to the top for nice views off the island.
There’s also a beach on the island.
I was there in April, so it was still too cold for swimming.
And the only sunbathers I saw were bunnies.


Take the Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Mihara station.
Travel time is about 25 minutes.
In Mihara, change for the Kure line to Tadanoumi.
Another 25 minutes.
The left-hand side of the train has great views of Inland Sea.
Once you get to Tadanoumi, the ferry terminal is a short walk away.
Check train timetables on HYPERDIA.
The train journey is covered by the JR pass if you have one.

For any other Rabbit Island information you can check their WEBSITE.

Best day trips in Japan.

None of these attractions are off the beaten path places in Japan.
But the lack of people at each site would make you think they are.
All of these sites are worth your time and money, unlike THESE Ones.

If you’re in Tokyo, Osaka, or Hiroshima, each one of these places are a great day trip.

What were some of the least touristy places in Japan you’ve been to?
Let me know in the comments below.

Jeremiah Cooper

By Jeremiah Cooper

Welcome to Live Life Extreme, a travel blog about thrill-seeking travel through some of the largest cities to off the beaten path getaways.

My name is Jeremiah and I'm a photographer from Arizona.
I'm always in search of picturesque landscapes and adrenaline pumping adventure.
Follow me as I show you What and What Not to do when visiting new places in search of Cheap Travel and Cheap Thrills.

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