An amazing part of Japan that most people seem to overlook when planning their holiday is the wonderful countryside. People seem to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo or the history and culture of Kyoto and forget about the amazing natural wonders.
On one of my last days in Japan, I decided to further maximize the usage of my JR Rail Pass and head for the hills. I had heard of a tiny village called Izumo in Shimane prefecture with a famous shrine. That seemed like a good enough reason to take a four-hour one-way train journey to check it and the countryside out.
As I rode the train, it passed small towns that only got smaller as we continued. Rice fields became more abundant in rural areas. Green hills became forests full of trees that stretched for miles. We crossed rivers and streams filled with white-washed rocks. The scenery started getting more wild, and it reminded me of New Zealand’s South Island.
Throughout the four-hour journey, I enjoyed watching the world pass by through the train’s window. The inaka, or countryside, looked peaceful and was a drastic change to city life. In my mind, this was the true Japan of which I’d been dreaming.