Tag Archives: rural

Fascinating less traveled countryside and rural areas in Japan

shima onsen
‘Sekizenkan’ in Shima Onsen, one of the model of ‘Spirited Away’ movie

Lately, tourists from foreign countries seem to like to go to the countryside, or rural areas more than sticking to the “golden route” in Japan.

Outline

Traditionally, the places that tourists from foreign countries visit are famous cities or tourists destinations, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt.Fuji, Hokkaido, and Okinawa.

But recently, the number of tourists, especially individual travelers who prefer countryside or rural area to such famous spots is increasing.

The Japanese government is encouraging this trend to help reactivate rural areas.

Shima Onsen is an ideal place where visitors can enjoy an authentic onsen culture with a peaceful atmosphere in the countryside.

Also Shima Onsen is easy accessible from Tokyo.

enjoy bikes
Shima Onsen town

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The total number of lodgers who came from foreign countries to Japan reached a record 70 million in 2016.

80% of them stayed in descending order in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hokkaido, Okinawa, Chiba, Fukuoka, Aichi and Kanagawa prefecture.

Most of these regions are known for sightseeing, and are destinations on the “Golden Route”.
Meanwhile, the numbers of lodgers staying in Gunma prefecture where Shima Onsen is were just 210,000, 0.3% of the total.
(From the statistical survey by Japan Tourism Agency)

To get more visitors from foreign countries, we the managers of small onsen ryokans in the countryside are working hard to attract them.

The Japanese government helps us by promoting rural areas as nice places to visit and also help enhance community revitalization.

For example, according to ‘Tourism Vision to Support the Future of Japan’ drawn up by the Japan Tourism Agency in 2016, the Japanese government is actively making a plan which aims to double the number of foreign tourists visiting the countryside in Japan by 2020.

With this, the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in Japan is estimated to more than double from about JPY 3.5 trillion in 2015 to JPY 8 trillion by 2020.
(From the survey by the Japan Tourism Agency & Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management)

The Japan Tourism Agency gives tourists information about recommended tourist routes in the countryside, such as hot spring tours, visiting Japanese Sake breweries.

The Japanese government has started to support improvements to local areas which encourage foreign tourism.

Fish market, Ishikawa Pref.

Questionnaires filled out by foreign tourists who visited Japan for the first time showed that the tours they would like to do next were ones in which they could experience nature, fishing or rural areas, the four seasons, Japanese history, and the traditional cultures in the countryside.

This indicates they take more interest in the countryside and rural areas in Japan.
(From the survey by the Japan Tourism Agency)

There are many kinds of regional unique sceneries, food cultures, and onsen cultures in Japan.

Japan has wide range of climate conditions because of its length from north to south.

Japan also has a long history.
This history and climate affect the Japanese culture and landscape which can still be seen in the countryside and rural areas, but is sometimes difficult to see in the urban environment.

rural area
Magome-shuku in Gifu
Shibu-Toge, Gunma pref.

For example, you can enjoy beautiful nature like the amazing blue water of the Shima river which is called “Shima Blue“, In this region you can experience onsen culture as it was after the war, feel a peaceful atmosphere not found in big cities, and communicate with the warm hearted people of Shima Onsen.

Shima Blue (Oku-Shima lake)

However, we have some problems we have to resolve when hosting foreign tourists who don’t speak Japanese.

Public transportation information for coming to the countryside is insufficient.

We need more signs and guides in English and other foreign languages.

Currently we are developing communication systems like Wi-Fi in the countryside.

People in the countryside may not understand English. They may only speak Japanese.

Still, the countryside and rural areas in Japan are worth visiting.

We would like you to visit the traditional Japanese countryside in your next trip to Japan.

We are sure it will enhance your Japanese experience.

If you interested in Japanese style Onsen, Please click here
Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan >

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Japan Romantic Road: Would you like to travel countryside In Japan by a car?

Mount Asama, Shima to Karuizawa
Mount Asama, Shima Onsen to Karuizawa

Overview

If you have been visited Japan several times and are thinking to drive in Japan, Japan Romantic Road is recommended.

Japan romantic road
Japan romantic road

Japan Romantic Road is a rural road with the total length of 320 km (200 mile), which connects Nikko, Tochigi and Ueda, Nagano, through our Gunma.

Our Shima Onsen is located around the middle of the road.

There are many sightseeing spots, such as rural Japanese landscape, three national parks, lakes, mountains, Onsen, ruins, and much more.

If you would run through all the route, it will take at least 2 nights and 3 days.

But if you spend more time, you can much more enjoy rural Japan and highlands. So you will get more satisfied. Continue reading

Let’s go to countryside in Japan! To Good Old Japan Away from Hustle

Let’s go to countryside in Japan!

Kuni village

In the past few years

visiting customers from overseas to Japan are increasing due to yen depreciation and the fact that national efforts to strengthen for tourism have been made.

The number has also significantly increased in this year (2015) compared to the last year.

It might break through the milestone of 20 million people.

In fact, in major tourist destination, such as Kyoto and Tokyo, so many foreign countries are there that it may seem to that there are more foreign customers and Japanese tourists.

Continue reading

That’s Why rural Onsen are Good! 3 Reasons to Recommend Countryside Onsen

If you are planning second time or third time Japan travel, why don’t you include a plan to rural (countryside) onsen, which are rarely listed on travel guidebooks?

Our Shima onsen is one of rural onsen, which have relatively good access from Tokyo; that is about 3 hours. We are sure you’ll satisfy with your travel.

Continue reading