This jaw-dropping video will make you wonder how Tochigi Prefecture came in last in the prefectural popularity poll.

In Japan, prefecture pride is a seriously big deal, and a given prefecture’s charms or local features will shape its reputation across the nation. This is why Kyoto is seen as a cultural zenith and Aomori is virtually synonymous with apples.

Japanese company Brand Research holds a survey each year to determine various things about Japan’s prefectures: which is the most attractive, which would be the best place to live, and so on.

For 12 years now, Hokkaido has remained top of the “most attractive” poll (in the overall sense of the word “attractive,” not just referring to physical beauty), and the prefecture that came in last used to be almost as consistent. Ibaraki ranked dead last every year since 2013, but not this year.

No, this year, that honor went to Tochigi Prefecture.

▼ Yes, this Tochigi prefecture.

On October 6, a highlight reel was posted by the YouTube channel Honmono no Deai Tochigi (A Genuine Encounter with Tochigi). In the video, all kinds of luscious landscapes are portrayed in eye-watering 8K definition.

So many gorgeous places are crammed into just under five minutes that it would be impossible to go in-depth for all of them, but an especially notable series of shots come courtesy of Kinugawa River and its affiliated hot springs resort. An elderly gentleman is shown giving a boat tour down its rich, rocky banks and we also glimpse the free foot bath, Kinuko-no-yu, located downstream.

Kinugawa Onsen offers an incredible view.

Then the video provides a quick sample of Nikko, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the entire country, let alone the prefecture it comes from. Winding forest walkways, torrents of rapidly churning waterfalls, and the lavishly gilded walls of Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine all take their turn in the spotlight.

▼ Tosho-gu Shrine, a significant portion of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Unusual and eye-catching, the video stars a close-up of some of the Towa Pure Cottage units installed inside one of the Nasu forests. These ornate orbs of honeycomb glass are available to rent so that you can enjoy the natural landscapes and starry skies through your ceiling, surrounded by all the luxuries and amenities of a regular hotel room.

▼ Glamping has never looked this good!

Speaking of Nasu, it crops up at various points throughout the video and with good reason. Sprawling mountain highlands densely packed with dark green trees, the colorful and mysterious Nasu Shrine, and one of the world’s most incredibly picturesque onsen houses combine to give Nasu a powerful aesthetic impact that will knock you off your feet.

The full video eagerly presents us with tantalizing shots of a chef preparing hand-cut soba noodles, Nikko’s stunning Senjogahara plains, and artisans at the town of Mashiko producing their local pottery wares at a kiln, as well as all kinds of museums, architecturally delightful embassies, and gorgeous lakes.

Judging by the YouTube comments, Tochigi may be in for a better ranking next year:

“I want to live here as an old person and eventually die here.”
“I can’t go this year due to the virus, but I’ve been many times and I’m desperate to go again!”
“You’re saying THIS place came last in the poll?!”
“Yo, I’m from Ibaraki, and… sorry.”

Many commenters suggested that perhaps those answering the poll didn’t make the connection that Nikko and Nasu belong to Tochigi prefecture, and this is likely to change explicitly because of the poll causing people to search this video out.

The fact is, Tochigi is beautiful, and a great reminder that there’s plenty of charm to find all over the country.

Source: YouTube/本物の出会い栃木 via Netlab, @Press
Images: YouTube/本物の出会い栃木

● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter