HOME Retro Japan! Exploring Western Japan’s Nostalgic Old Towns
Retro Japan! Exploring Western Japan’s Nostalgic Old Towns

Retro Japan! Exploring Western Japan’s Nostalgic Old Towns

Date published: 26 January 2021
Last updated: 16 February 2021

Although Japan is known for its uber-modern cities, many of its quieter towns have found equal fame in recent years. Offering an escape from the metropolitan madness, here are five old towns in western Japan to slow down, catch your breath, and enjoy a more tranquil side of Japan.

Yuasa Japan (Wakayama): Exploring the Gorgeous Birthplace of Soy Sauce!

Yuasa Japan (Wakayama): Exploring the Gorgeous Birthplace of Soy Sauce!

Yuasa Town in Wakayama Prefecture is the definition of quaint! A prosperous old-style Japanese village, it's the perfect place to stay for the Kumano Kodo or the Kumano Sanzan pilgrimage routes. It’s also famous as the birthplace of Japanese shoyu (soy sauce), the staple condiment of Japanese cuisine.

A stroll through the town is a walk back in time. In fact, many of the distinctive buildings date back as far as the Edo and Meiji periods! If you want an authentic, untouched taste of ancient Japan, you’ll seldom find a better place than Yuasa Town.

Kumano Hongu Onsen Guide: Japan’s ‘Fountain of Youth’ Step Into an Anime Fantasy On the Kumano Kodo

Kumano Hongu Onsen Guide: Japan’s ‘Fountain of Youth’ Step Into an Anime Fantasy On the Kumano Kodo

Since ancient times, Kumano in Wakayama has been called the "Land of Rejuvenation". Word has it that those who overcome the difficult pilgrimage path in Kumano will have their souls cleansed here.

If you’re in need of a soul-cleansing or just a quick rest on your action-packed itinerary, this deeply spiritual paradise will have you de-stressed in minutes! Find out how to make the most of Kumano Hongu Onsen Village with LIVE JAPAN’s ultimate guide!

Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka: A Walking Guide to Kyoto's Old Streets

Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka: A Walking Guide to Kyoto's Old Streets

The cobblestoned streets of Ichinenzaka, Ninenzaka, and Sannenzaka are an unblemished peek into the world of ancient Kyoto. Lined by historic buildings, each stone is another piece of the area’s profound history.

Free from department stores or combini, you can truly immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of Kyoto. With Kiyomizu’s three-tiered pagoda in the background, you’ll feel yourself slipping back deeper in time with every step. Read more about Ichinenzaka, Ninenzaka, and Sannenzaka here!

Ine Town - The Quiet 'Venice Of Japan' Just Outside Kyoto

Ine Town - The Quiet 'Venice Of Japan' Just Outside Kyoto

The boathouses of Ine, ‘Kyoto By The Sea,’ are an exceptionally popular tourist spot. Appearing to float on the surrounding water, the houses here are unlike anything else in Japan!

Atop a hill, from the streets, or on a boat, the town exudes a rustic atmosphere that will steal your breath from all angles. Here we'll introduce Ine Kyoto and give you a taste of the incredible scenery you’ll encounter!

Omihachiman Guide: Living the Anime Dream on a Merchant Town Boat in Hachiman-bori

Omihachiman Guide: Living the Anime Dream on a Merchant Town Boat in Hachiman-bori

Brimming with charming riverside views, Omihachiman City in Shiga Prefecture has long been considered one of Japan’s most idyllic landscapes. The unique township was the birthplace of the ‘Omi merchants,’ and the streets and rivers still retain the original aesthetic of the time.

Unable to resist the stunning photos, we ventured to Omihachiman to experience this peaceful paradise for ourselves! From delightful boat rides along the Hachiman-bori Canal to endearing retro streets, we’re certain you’ll be adding Omihachiman to your Japan wishlist after reading our guide!

While taking in the dazzling lights of Shinjuku or having a blast at Disneyland are all part of the quintessential Japan adventure, for a complete experience, don’t forget to visit a retro town or two! Havens of relaxation, tranquility, and history, these towns are revered by locals and travelers alike for their uncanny healing abilities, allowing you to freshen up and restart your Japan journey full of energy!

Written by:

Steve Csorgo

Steve Csorgo

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Steve currently lives in Niigata City, two hours north-west of Tokyo. His passions include discovering local sake, dining at interesting restaurants and travelling as much of Japan as possible.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Japan
Search