The English-language literature on Japan, and indeed, much of the Japanese literature, concentrates on the metropolitan core, the Tokyo–Osaka axis. However, most Japanese do not live in the metropolitan centers but rather in small cities, towns and even rural countryside. This chapter looks outside the metropolitan core, examining changes in land use, demography, rural and small-town economies, transportation, communications and architecture. An overall emphasis is an examination of the effects—often negative—of government policies at both the national and prefectural levels.