Japan's government encourages tourists to visit more remote regions

Overtourism in Japan's main centres is a growing issue and the government there is trying to encourage visitors to move off the beaten track.

Smaller, more sustainable businesses are cropping up in remote regions of Japan, hoping to attract some of the millions who visit the country each year.

Japan now wants tourists to come out of the cities and into the more remote parts of the country.

"For the guests seeing the culture and the nature and meeting the local people," said Mt Fuji Ecotours founder Masa Shintani.

Over the past eight or so years, there's been an inbound tourism boom to Japan - but the big cities are suffering.

"Overtourism is one of the biggest issues we are facing right now," Shintani said.

The government is now trying to drive tourists out with rural development tourism projects all over Japan.

"A lot of people coming right now and to tell the truth we are not ready for them to welcome the guests right now," Shintani said.

"I'm hoping more people like us will do community-based eco-tourism."

In the hills of Hakone, this Amazake tea house is 400 years old. Satoshi Yamamoto's family have run it the entire time and he is the 13th-generation manager.

They welcome tourists for traditional Japanese tea and rice cakes, with the ultimate respect.

"Because we've been in business nearly 500 years, we think of it as serving travellers rather than tourists," he said.

Millions visit cities like Tokyo and Kyoto each year but the government is hoping businesses like these will draw some of them out.

"They've seen that that's the magic bullet to get people away from the main centres, Tokyo and Kyoto, which has been a little bit overcrowded and push them into those rural areas which need an economic boost," tourism operator Mike Harris said.

So it's whether as a tourist you'd want to come to a town like Hatajuku, with less than a couple of hundred people living here, famous for its wooden crafts. Or Hatajuku in Tokyo where you'll be amongst millions.

Both are great, but one is more sustainable than the other.

Newshub travelled to Tokyo courtesy of the Asia-New Zealand Foundation.