Updated: January 15, 2017
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3 Interesting Unpopular Prefectures in Japan

Japan has 47 prefectures, and the annual "Attractiveness Ranking" results have just been published! Which 3 prefectures are most unpopular with the Japanese? And why should you visit them actually?

1. Ibaraki Prefecture

View from art tower mito south https://goo.gl/awGTuu
Mito City, the capital of Ibaraki
It comes as no surprise that Ibaraki was ranked 47th in 2016 since it has been struggling to improve from its last place ranking ever since the inception of the "Attractiveness Ranking" survey in 2006. Why so? Apparently, the majority of Ibaraki is comprised of the countryside, so it is inconvenient to get from one place to another. A situation not helped by how a lot of towns and cities are not served by public transport.

Cool Places to Visit

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Spectacular Hitachi Seaside Park
With car rental getting popular these days, getting around Ibaraki is not inconvenient at all. Thankfully, Ibaraki has many awe-inspiring attractions that are worth a visit. Take for instance the Hitachi Seaside Park that boasts lush fields of red kochia and pink cosmos in autumn! Other flowers like tulips and nemophila will captivate your attention during the other seasons.

Ibaraki is also home to the 120-meter-tall Ushiku Daibutsu, which is the world's tallest Buddha statue. Visit it in August to revel in the festivities during the Tsukuba Festival - a spectacular display of Mikoshi (portable shrines) and Nebuta (huge lantern arts) - with the friendly locals!

2. Tochigi Prefecture

Utsunomiya ikegami cho intersection ac https://goo.gl/tI98Vp
Utsunomiya City, the capital of Tochigi
It is perhaps baffling to find Tochigi ranked at 46th place in 2016. After all, the UNESCO-registered World Heritage Site, Nikko National Park, is one of Japan's best-known shrines and draws millions of visitors every year. However, ironically, Nikko's fame may be Tochigi's downfall since tourism is so dependent on it that tourists fail to register the many other great attractions in Tochigi!

Cool Places to Visit

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Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival is not to be missed
Other than Nikko, do include Yunishigawa Onsen in your itinerary in winter because the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival will be held then. This onsen will be transformed into a snowy wonderland as snowmen of all shapes and sizes will be built by the locals to welcome you. Also, snow huts will be available where you can make a reservation and initiate your own barbeque feast! How's that for enjoying winter?

Tochigi is famous for its large and juicy strawberries too, so why not engage yourself in a memorable bout of strawberry picking (and eating!) at a strawberry farm?

3. Gunma Prefecture

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Maebashi City, the capital of Gunma
Like Ibaraki, Gunma is always ranked near the bottom of the "Attractiveness Ranking" survey. For 2016, it was ranked at 45th place. This may be because people do not have a vivid impression of Gunma. It may contain Kusatsu Onsen, one of Japan's Top Three Onsen, but unfortunately many people have the misconception that Kusatsu Onsen is in Nagano Prefecture!

Cool Places to Visit

Tanigawadake minakami gunma japan https://goo.gl/WydtPp
Enjoy adventure sports at Minakami Town
Ideal for adrenaline buffs, Minakami Town offers a variety of adventure sports that will enable them to get up close with picturesque scenery and powerful forces of Mother Nature. These include rafting, canyoning and even bungee jumping.

On the other hand, wine lovers will dig the idea of visiting Shinto Village, where they can not only pick grapes, but also visit Shinto Winery and drink delicious freshly-brewed wine!
Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures are all a stone's throw away from Tokyo, so perhaps their proximity to one of the world's most bustling cities draws people's attention away from their charm. Now that you know which cool places to visit, why not visit these prefectures in future and lend them your support?
mondomover

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