Join our search for Japan’s best Hidden Beauties

We’re sending two travel bloggers to opposite ends of Japan on a journey to uncover 31 off-the-beaten-trail places and experiences most travelers never find.

Follow the tour and you can help decide the winner of the 2015 Hidden Beauty Award!

North Start: Shiretoko
Nibutani
Mt.Tarumae
Gono Line
Osarizawa
Kitayamazaki
Kesennuma
Yamadera
Urabandai
Shiobara Onsen
Hitachinaka
Choshi
Izu
Minakami
Kizakiko
South Start: Zamami
Aoshima
Taketa
Imari
Kitakyushu
Tokuyama
Oki Islands
Ogijima
Naruto
Ryujin Onsen
Mie
Keihoku
Miyazu
Hakusan
Amaharashi
Goal: Itoigawa
North Route
South Route
Oct 1

Sea kayaking in Zamami

Exploring the deep blue waters around subtropical Okinawa's Zamami Island by sea kayak.

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Oct 2

Sea kayaking in Shiretoko

Sea kayaking along the rocky coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula, home to Japan's largest population of brown bears.

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Oct 3

Aoshima Island and the jungle shrine

Checking out the devil's washboard coastline and a small shrine in the jungle interior of Miyazaki's small shrine island.

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Oct 4

Climbing Mount Tarumae

Climbing Mount Tarumae, one of Hokkaido's most powerful and active volcanoes that towers over the idyllic Shikotsuko caldera lake.

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Oct 5

Japan's Queen of the Dams

A visit to Hakusui Dam, otherwise known as "the Queen of the Dams", a beautiful cascading waterfall in Taketa City, Oita.

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Oct 6

Nibutani Ainu Museum

Visiting one of the best museums about the Ainu, Hokkaido's indigenous people.

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Oct 7

Okawachiyama Pottery Village

Exploring the traditional artisan village of Okawachiyama in Saga Prefecture, where Imari Porcelain has been produced for centuries.

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Oct 8

Japan's most scenic train line

Riding the Resort Shirakami train along the scenic Gono Line which follows the Sea of Japan coast of Akita and Aomori.

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Oct 9

Toilet Factory Tour

Touring the Toto factory in Kitakyushu where the celebrated washlets and some of the world's most advanced toilets are being produced.

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Oct 10

The abandoned Osarizawa Mine

Exploring the abandoned ruins of one of Japan's largest former mines in Akita Prefecture.

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Oct 11

Shunan Industrial Complex

Joining an evening cruise along the illuminated refineries and factories that line the southern coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

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Oct 12

Kitayamazaki Coast

Visiting the towering cliffs along the northern coast of Iwate Prefecture.

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Oct 13

The Kuniga Coast of the Oki Islands

Discovering the sheer cliffs and rocky shores of Shimane's Oki Islands from both land and sea.

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Oct 14

Oysters on the Karakuwa Peninsula

Seeing and tasting how local oyster cultivation on the Karakuwa Peninsula in Kesennuma has recovered from the 2011 Tsunami.

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Oct 15

Ogijima Island

Exploring the narrow lanes of Ogijima Island's sleepy hillside fishing village.

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Oct 16

Omoshiroyama Kogen to Yamadera

Hiking the steep Momijigawa Ravine via a thrilling riverside trail on the way from Omoshiroyama Kogen to Yamadera Temple.

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Oct 17

Wakame farming in Naruto

Learning about wakame seaweed farming in Naruto, a city made famous by the tidal whirlpools which form in the nearby strait.

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Oct 18

Hiking in Urabandai

Hiking the beautiful Goshikinuma Walk in the Urabandai Region of Fukushima Prefecture, that leads past several colorful ponds. The local autumn colors should be near their peak.

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Oct 19

Beautifying Ryujin Onsen

Relaxing in the beautifying hot spring waters of historic Ryujin Onsen in the remote mountains of Wakayama Prefecture.

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Oct 20

Seven Colors of Hot Springs

Enjoying baths in many different hot springs in the historical bathing resort of Shiobara Onsen.

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Oct 21

Mie Prefecture

Uncovering a Hidden Beauty in Mie Prefecture, birthplace of ninja and home to Japan's most sacred shrines. Details to be announced.

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Oct 22

Kokia fields at Hitachi Seaside Park

Visiting Hitatchi Seaside Park, a sprawling public park in Ibaraki Prefecture known for its spectacular displays of seasonal flowers and the fire-red kokia plants which cover the hillsides in autumn.

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Oct 23

Overnight in a thatched-roof farmhouse

Staying overnight in a traditional thatched-roofed farmhouse deep in the forested mountains north of Kyoto.

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Oct 24

Chiba Prefecture

Uncovering a Hidden Beauty in the rural parts of Chiba Prefecture not far from Tokyo and a popular weekend getaway for its beaches, coastlines and flowers. Details to be announced.

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Oct 25

Searching for Fossils in Kyoto

Joining a tour through the mountains of northern Kyoto Prefecture in search of fossilized leaves, fish and other creatures.

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Oct 26

Wasabi Farming on the Izu Peninsula

Visiting a farm on the Izu Peninsula to learn about and experience wasabi cultivation.

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Oct 27

Rural cuisine around Mount Hakusan

Explore regional delicacies found around Mount Hakusan in Ishikawa Prefecture. Details to be announced.

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Oct 28

The outdoors of Minakami

Swimming, jumping and sliding down the rapids and waterfalls of the Tone River in the mountain hot spring town of Minakami, Gunma Prefecture.

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Oct 29

Amaharashi Coast

Visiting the rocky Amaharashi Coast in Toyoma for the pictuesque view of Toyama Bay with the Tateyama Mountains looming above in the distance.

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Oct 30

Art around Lake Kizakiko

Enjoying exhibits of contemporary art around Lake Kizakiko, a small lake south of Shinano-Omachi in Nagano Prefecture.

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Oct 31

Itoigawa

Arriving in Itoigawa, where the Northern Alps meet the Sea of Japan and where the We Love Japan Tour comes to an end. Details to be announced.

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