You don’t know inaka until you have visited the smallest town in Japan: Aogashima. This tiny island is technically still part of Tokyo, and is the southernmost tip of the Izu Island chain. The population hovers around 170 and on the "stuff to do" scale, it sits somewhere just above 1. The island is accessible by a scenic helicopter ride or by ferry, and it’s a great place to spend a day or two.
Aogashima’s main attraction is its geologic anomaly, the double volcano. The island itself is one volcano, and another smaller volcano sits inside the caldera of it. The donut-like site can be reached by hiking trails, which lead up from Aogashima town.
The main volcano also has steam vents around one side of it. The steam is scalding hot, and is used to power the public sauna, which is the perfect way to relax after a long day of hiking the island. Bring a few eggs with you, because the steam vents can also be used to cook food. Pots are available outside the sauna where you can steam your goodies.
The entire population of Aogashima lives on one small part of the island, where all amenities are also located. There are a few minshukus, a general store, the heliport, and a number of friendly locals who can help you find trailheads and sights. The island's only harbor sits far away. Cameras record waves and weather, which then broadcast the images to everyone on the island. That way, you don't have to make the trip to the ferry if it's going to be canceled.
There’s not a lot of action on Aogashima, but it is a great place to unwind and experience Japan’s unspoiled nature. And by the time you head home, maybe your town won’t seem so small in comparison.