Nov 9, 2022

How to really get to know your prefecture

Over the past couple of years, the pandemic changed the way a lot of us did (and still do) things. One of those things for me was that for the most part we have stayed close to home, mainly within our own prefecture besides the occasional trip here or there to Tokyo. Certainly, on the whole we’re doing a lot less traveling than we did pre-2020.

Because of that, I’ve really found it useful to get to know my prefecture on a deeper level, and discover new things to see and do without having to travel to other parts of the country. If you also want to discover your prefecture in new ways, these are three of my recommendations.

How to really get to know your prefecture photo

Pic Credit: Public Domain

Explore your prefecture’s official tourism site

This is the first port of call that I would recommend to anyone looking to discover their prefecture in greater detail. First of all, prefectural tourism sites are typically catered to tourists, so they’re usually in a variety of languages including English – this makes it super easy if you’re an expat who may prefer to read things in a language other than Japanese.

Secondly, they’re just such a wealth of information. Want to find the best spots for autumn leaves? They’ve got you covered. Interested in learning about regional cuisine and the best spots to try some of it? There are recommendations galore! Need sample itineraries, recommendations for places to stay, or seasonal events taking place in different areas? Check, check, check. Simply Googling the name of your prefecture + official tourism site should yield you the result.

Check out brochures and displays at your local train station

It might seem a little retro in the age of the internet, but one place that I find information about things happening in my local area is at my nearest train station. They always have displays and brochures available about events, seasonal activities, and exhibitions, and sometimes they’re smaller scale (but still very awesome) things that the official prefectural website may not have caught wind of.

Look at Google Maps before you go anywhere!

I typically have a look at Google Maps before I’m traveling to a new spot, to see what other cool places are in the vicinity. Doing that in advance has often meant finding a unique cafe or restaurant, off the beaten path shrines and temples, or even a fun playground or park for my kids to run around at. This really helps me feel like I get the most out of any area I visit.

What tips do you have for really getting to know your prefecture? Are there any things you’d suggest other than the points I mentioned above?



Love to travel, interested in J-beauty products and consider myself a convenience store snack aficionado. Navigating the ever-present challenges of expat life, particularly about my TCK's (third culture kids).

1 Comment

  • TonetoEdo

    on Nov 10

    All great ways to connect with local culture and places of interest. I also suggest looking up 観光協会 kankokyokai, tourism associations, and 交流協会 kouryu kyokai, international associations. Our local associations hold events, tours, and lectures on culture and history.