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Little Kyoto Towns: Five of the Best

Kyoto may be synonymous with ‘old Japan’ for travelers, but that city by no means has the monopoly on must-see historical sites. Up and down the Japanese archipelago lay a multitude of smaller towns that superbly preserve the atmosphere and appearance of the pre-modern era. Many of these have each been dubbed ‘Little Kyoto’ and can substitute, at least partly, for a trip to the former Imperial capital itself. Our picks below though, we’d contend, are also well worth a visit for those with Kyoto already ticked off on their itinerary.

Little Kyoto Towns: Five of the Best


  • Kakunodate (Akita Prefecture)

  • Tsuwano’s Tonomachi Street (Shimane Prefecture)

  • Hida Furukawacho and Gujo Hachiman (Gifu Prefecture)

  • Hagi (Yamaguchi Prefecture)