If you are traveling to Japan, of course it's fun to go and visit well-known places. However, there is an alternative - visit less well-known villages of Japan and wind down.

In this article, we will show you 7 villages that are affiliated to an NPO called "Nihonde Mottomo Utsukushii Mura" (Japan's Most Beautiful Villages). Hope it helps with your next travel plan to Japan.

1. Biei (Hokkaido)

Biei is located approximately 160 kilometers from Sapporo, Hokkaido. It is also known as a "township of hills".

2. Kyogoku (Hokkaido)

Located by a mountain called Yoteizan, Kyogoku is known for its stunning scenery. Fukidashi Park in particular is a popular tourist spot.

3. Tsurui (Hokkaido)

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Tsurui is home to Crane, a nationally protected species of Japan. Out of around 1,000 cranes confirmed in Japan, around half of them inhabit themselves in this village.

4. Nagiso (Nagano)

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Nagiso is known for its township that recalls the traditional bygone age of the Edo period. Located southeast of Nagano prefecture, approximately 94% of Nagiso prefecture comprises of forests.

5. Matsuzaki (Shizuoka)

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Located near the coastline, Matsuzaki has a lot of history, and Namako-walled buildings are one of the testaments to that.

6. Ine (Kyoto)

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Ine is characterized by "Funaya", buildings that are located right on the edge of the ocean. Historically, it has been one of the gateway to mainland China in terms of trade.

Minamioguni (Kumamoto)

Located right at the center of Kyushu region, Minamioguni is home to many hot springs, and is surrounded by beautiful nature.

In order to be registered in "Nihonde Mottomo Utsukushii Mura" (Japan's Most Beautiful Villages), the village must have its own scenery and culture that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

Although the NPO's website is in Japanese only, do have a look at it - there are many more villages that are worth the visit.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.