Inuyama, literally meaning ‘dog mountain’, is in Aichi Prefecture and works well as a wonderful day trip from Nagoya. It is most famous for its small but beautiful castle - said to be the oldest surviving one in Japan - and the street leading to it which has a variety of eateries and traditional shops.
Longer stays offer a chance to visit the amusement parks and museums on the outskirts, such as Meiji-mura which houses an abundance of Meiji-era architecture. The town offers other great sights, such as cormorant fishing throughout the summer and early autumn, and the wonderful garden of Urakuen. It is also host to a festival in April every year, where huge floats parade around the town transporting puppeteers and their dolls to the sounds of flutes, drums, yells and general revelry.
One of the 100 hidden towns in Japan chosen for this publication.