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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Best of 2023: Spiritual Getaways, Steam Trains, and More

Journey through the beautiful seasons of Japan in a "best selection" throwback to our hidden wonders of 2023, starting with the latest end-of-year discoveries.



In Japan, the year 2023 brought an end to pandemic restrictions and a weak yen. Meanwhile, tens of thousands explored hidden gems and favorite places throughout the country introduced through our readers' favorite column, "Hidden Wonders of Japan." Thanks to you, our valued readers, this weekly column reached new milestones in popularity in 2023.

As 2023 comes to a close, we are delighted to share a special selection of popular articles from this column. In this first installment, we revisit five Hidden Wonders of Japan published from late May to November. 

Check out these gems and discover for yourself why thousands read the Hidden Wonders of Japan series this year. And, once again, thanks for following JAPAN Forward!

First of 2 parts

All stories are from our series, [Hidden Wonders of Japan]:

Rare 'Diamond Fuji' Dazzles Crowd in Funabashi City

"Diamond Fuji" seen from Sanbanze Seaside Park in Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture on October 27. (©Sankei by Yoshinori Saito)

By:  The Sankei Shimbun, November 3, 2023

Mount Fuji was bathed in a gentle orange glow when the sun aligned with its summit, treating observers in Funabashi to the magical sight of "Diamond Fuji."

Read the full story.


Ride a Steam Train on the Oigawa Main Line this Autumn

In a test run, Oigawa Railway's steam locomotive races across a bridge in Shimada City, Shizuoka Prefecture on September 26. (©Sankei by Hiroaki Okada.)

By: The Sankei Shimbun, October 6, 2023

Savor the Japanese autumn and hot spring attractions with a relaxing steam train ride along the Oigawa Main Line in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Read the full story.

Naki Sumo in Morito Daimyojin Shrine

Adult sumo wrestlers present the babies to the audience. (©JAPAN Forward by Galileo Ferrari)

By: Galileo Ferrari, September 29, 2023

Infants become champions in the adorable Naki Sumo, or crying baby ceremony, one of Japan's lesser-known traditions celebrating transitions in a child's life.

Read the full story.

Yonako Falls, a Spiritual Getaway Nestled in Ancient Mountains

From the left, Fudo Falls and Gogen Falls. To the right, the "black waterfall" can be seen. It sometimes appears after rainfall. Taken in June from the Yonako Mine site in Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture. (© Sankei by Shigeki Harada)

By: Shigeki Harada, August 25, 2023

The majestic Yonako Falls, counted among Japan's top 100 waterfalls, is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring northern Nagano Prefecture.

Read the full story.

Six Unique Retro Shops to Visit in Tokyo's Koenji

Koenji station platform. (©JAPAN Forward by Hidemitsu Kaito)

By Hidemitsu Kaito, May 26, 2023

Welcome to Koenji, a vibrant retro hub in Tokyo. Within its streets lie six unique shops that have revived items from the past for our present enjoyment.

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Continues in: [Hidden Wonders of Japan] Best of 2023: Dreamy Flowers, Shrine Secrets, and More

What is your hidden wonder of Japan? If you have a favorite spot that didn't make our list, let us know in the comments section below. Happy New Year!


Author: JAPAN Forward

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