the most beautiful villages in Japan

March 30th, 2010 by
Category: Report, Sightseeing

How do you define “beautiful”?  What makes a beautiful village?  There is one organization, “Nihon de mottomo utsukushii mura/the most beautiful villages in Japan”,  (Japanese only site: that has set a few guidelines and based on those guidelines has named 33 villages to this special list.  Among other criteria, the village must have a population under 10,000 and a low population density, must have beautiful scenery and natural resources that remain undeveloped, and must have a festival, architecture, or cultural resources that have been been preserved over time.    Of the 33 villages on the list, 6 of those are in Nagano-ken and one of those is my neighboring Nakagawa-mura.   On my way to visit a friend who lives there, I took a picture of the logo-sign.e4b8ade5b79dsign

The best way, if not the only way,  to get to this place is by car.  Get on the Chuo Expressway going towards Iida-city.  Coming from the north, exit at Komagane I.C. or from the south at Matsukawa I.C. then follow the signs for Route 153 towards Iida.  From either exit, Nakagawa is about 20 minutes.  There is no train station.  The nearest train station would be Iijima station on the Iida train line.  From there you can take a taxi.  For any of our overseas visitors who are really interested, let me know if you are in the area and I can be your personal guide for half a day.


“Beautiful” is a patchwork of culture, history, and tradition against the backdrop of natural scenery that remains largely untouched.

7 Responses to “the most beautiful villages in Japan

  1. Janie-san,

    Howdy! Thanks for the great information about the “beautiful” village. Can you advise how one could go there? Is there any access by train or bus?



  2. Dear Janie-san,

    “Beautiful” is a patchwork of culture, history, and tradition against the backdrop of natural scenery that remains largely untouched.
    ↑I truly agree with the last paragraph that you wrote.

    Great info!!!


  3. Nice of you to comment, Harry-san. When I saw the logo for the beautiful villages, it reminded me of a patchwork quilt. Too bad I’m not into quilting–I think the logo would be fun to duplicate.

  4. Greetings, Edward! Please do come back and browse anytime. There’s always something going on in Nagano.

  5. Can i stay 2 nights in one of those villages? Really want to experience daily life in unspoiled Japanese villages

  6. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your comment. Several of these villages are in Nagano prefecture, including Kiso-machi, Nagiso-machi, and Ogawa-mura (the last link is only in Japanese). There is a lodge in Ogawa-mura called Yakimochiya where you can enjoy the natural scenery and learn to make traditional Oyaki dumplings. Nagiso-machi has the famous post town Tsumago with a variety of inns to stay at. And Kiso-machi has the Fukushima post town, very close to this Japanese inn.

    If you’re looking for more of a homestay experience, you can also find pensions that cater to that on the unique-nagano website. Hope that helps!

    -Blair Guardia

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