The Charm of Small Towns

Japan's other side

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

Japan is often associated with images of skyscrapers, bullet trains, electronics, robots and high technology. As for culture, people from other countries imagine anime, geisha and samurai. Of course, all those things exist in Japan, but that’s not all there is to Japan. In my trips I visited both large cities and small towns that helped me to form a fuller image of the country.

As a result all that, I’ve decided that I prefer smaller towns with their quieter atmosphere and kinder people. Staying in small places and traditional ryokans allowed me to take my time and soak into the local life, helping me to better understand the country. I always found interesting and old shrines and temples, nice shopping streets and restaurants with local food and if I was lost I simply asked a local for directions who would kindly take me to where I was going. That motivated me to learn more Japanese.

I'm a great fan of the ocean and in Japan there are many places to visit. I enjoyed my visits to Ito and Bentenjima where I walked along the deserted seaside, watching the waves, seagulls and fishing boats. I like those places for being, unlike tourist beaches, so simple and quiet in the presence of the majestic ocean…

In the countryside of Nagano I enjoyed grand views of the Hida mountain range, fresh mountain air, onsen hot springs and the gorgeous nature of the northern Japan. Staying in one place for few days, I dined in a restaurant run by a local family. On my second visit, the family recognised me and were very friendly.

To honest, I was surprised to be alone in the places where I walked, but if suddenly somebody appeared they would invariably greet me with a ‘konnichiwa’! Wherever I was, people always asked me where I was from and I somehow managed to hold a conversation. I found such conversations and interest only possible in smaller places…

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!