I've hitchhiked between Iwate and Yamaguchi many, many times, not mention Kyushu and my only time ever in Shikoku was a hitchhiking trip.
It's funny to see some of the responses and although some of the fears are valid, moreso now than previously, they show an elitist attitude that they know more about something they've never done than those who have.
For those who think it's too difficult, they're right, and probably should avoid other difficult things like surfing, mountain climbing, living in a foreign country and interacting with the local populace outside of urban comfort zones etc...
There are ways to make hitching easier or more difficult but getting directly between the bigger cities is generally more difficult.
As far as the dangers involved, it can be scary at times, and most rewarding at others. The single scariest incident for me was a van full of middle easterners who pulled over and started shouting and arguing among themselves whether to give me a ride or not. The ones who thought they should give me a ride won and the ones who had been glaring at me smiled and said that I should get in. I opted for waiting till I could get a ride to my exact destination.
The final decision as to whether anyone should try hitching or not is theirs to make but by all means, try to take some rational precautions in your approach.
In closing, I have also hitched several times with my girlfriend in the Touhoku and Chuugoku areas of the country and once with another girl from Saitama to Niigata, all with nothing but the kindest of interactions.
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