Besides culture and traditions, Japan also offers some of the numerous spectacular scenery in the world. Here is a list of things you can do in Japan
It’s no secret that Japan is an incredibly beautiful best place to visit in Japan. From the lavender fields of Furano, Hokkaido, to the pristine beaches of Okinawa, this small country is full of natural beauty, modern museums, mountain temples, and, of course, beautiful cherry blossom trees in spring.
Although Japan remained closed to international tourists as of June 10 – except for group tours — the country is working to reopen its borders. In the meantime, here’s some travel inspiration to add to your next Japanese adventure.
Niigata Prefecture Kiyotsu Gorge and Tunnel of Light
The Chongjin Gorge in Niigata Prefecture is a massive natural wonder, with volcanic columns known as Columnar Joints towering over the majestic views of the river. After the trail was deemed treacherous and closed to the crowd in 1988, Ma Yansong and a team from MAD Architects built the Tunnel of Light, a 750-meter-long tunnel that leads into the canyon, allowing visitors to view its beauty in complete safety.
Kamikochi, Nagano Prefecture
Kamikochi is a verdant plateau on the Nagano side of Japan’s Northern Alps that offers some of Japan’s most breathtaking mountain views with the least amount of hiking. Most tourists just circle the Kappa Bridge (Kappa Bridge), and for good reason. First of all, the bus stop is very close. But more than that, you can relish the view here: the forested banks of the river, surrounded by mountains, turn yellow, orange, and red in autumn.
Beat the crowds from the tranquil Taisho Pond, whose pristine surface reflects its beautiful morning setting. From there, it’s an easy one-hour walk across the swamp to Kappabashi, where you can take a break at one of the many cafés and restaurants. For hikers, it goes deep into the forest; another 90-minute walk takes you to the atmospheric Myojin Pond.
Oirase Gorge, Aomori
The picturesque gorges of the Aomori Mountains are one of Japan’s most popular fall destinations. The 9km hike from Ishio to Nenoguchi at Towadakoguchi is impressive, not because it’s a strenuous hike, but because of the beautiful scenery along the way. The boiling Oirase Stream winds its way through bright orange and red forest dotted with mossy rocks, and several waterfalls cascading down. This is the most beautiful autumn in Japan.
Expect an easy three-hour hike, and you can glimpse a tourist ferry on Nenokuchi’s trailhead for more red leaves along Lake Towada. While you need good stamina, don’t worry if you can’t complete six miles. There are bus stops along the creek from where you can get anywhere along the way.
Forest where the gods live in Mifuneyama Rakuen, Saga Prefecture
The sprawling Mifuneyama Land in Saga Prefecture was designed more than a century ago in 1845, but teamLab has brought it into the future with quirky, immersive digital art that changes the way we interact with nature.
Overall, the site now resembles an enchanted forest after dark, with various exhibits dotted around the hotel. There is a surreal projection of a quiet waterfall in a remote part of the jungle. A hilly garden of rhododendron bushes vibrates under the lights as if the plants are breathing. Trees glow otherworldly in the dead of night, holographic carp cross the lake, digital flowers bloom on rocks, and calligraphic brushstrokes are like paintings in progress on sacred rocks. It’s amazing, there is nothing like it anywhere in the world.
Kyoto Kinkakuji Temple
Also comprehended as the Golden Temple, Kinkaku-Ji is a gilded Zen Buddhist temple, a wonderful and resplendent place in traditional Kyoto. In fact, the temple is so beautiful that a young monk tried to burn it down in 1950, which inspired Yukio Mishima’s famous novel The Kinkakuji. First, you’ll follow a path to see the temple and its reflection before getting up close, so have a few photos ready. Go early in the morning or in the evening, there are few people to see, and there are few golden leaves.
Mount Fuji, Yamanashi Prefecture
As Japan’s crown jewel, and possibly the country’s most beautiful sight, Mount Fuji is a must-see for any visitor. There are many places to see this great mountain, but its beauty is best captured from the views of Arakurayama Sengen Park and the majestic Chuling Pagoda and Lake Kawaguchi.
One of the Fuji Five Lakes, Kawaguchiko offers stunning sceneries of Mount Fuji, especially in winter when the sky is usually clear and you can see the reflection of the volcano in the water. However, no concern where you look from, Mount Fuji’s near-perfect symmetry makes for a spectacular view all year round.
Mount Haguro is the most affordable of the three mountains that make up the sacred pilgrimage route of the Three Mountains of Dewa and seems to be the true embodiment of the enchanted forest. Hiking to the top of the shrine and climbing nearly 2,500 steps is sure to test your stamina and determination. But just at the foot of the mountain, an elegant five-story wooden pagoda seems to have appeared out of thin air. It was built in 937 and is surrounded by dense fir forests with ancient trees at least 300 to 600 years ancient. It’s a magical, almost surreal sight that will stay with you after the hour-long hike as you feel small and humbled by the towering cedars leading up to the summit.
Shirakawa-go, Gifu Prefecture
At the heart of Gifu Prefecture is Shirakawa-go, a well-preserved, UNESCO-listed Japanese town full of traditional gassho-style farmhouses, famous for their triangular thatched roofs, designed like Praying hands. Today, much of the farm has been altered into a museum, restaurant, and even a hotel, but visitors can still explore inside the house and admire the original buildings held together by wooden beams. The winter house is especially picturesque: it’s all sheathed in snow and looks like a gingerbread house.
Ibaraki Prefecture Hitachi Seaside Park
All flower lovers should add Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture to their wish list. This Park is comprehended for its blue sea, with about 5.3 million pneumophila bright red kohlrabi or summer cypress (pictured) in spring and fall. He also grows California poppies, roses, daffodils, and even a Dutch-style tulip garden. The fun doesn’t stop there, as the 350-acre park also features an amusement park, a children’s adventure area, and 11 kilometers of bike trails.
Yamaguchi Motosumi Shrine
Vermillion torii tunnels are common in Japan. There are Fushimi Inari in Kyoto and Nezu Shrine in Tokyo, but Motosumi Shrine in the picturesque seaside city of Nagato is the most beautiful. A moderately new reliquary built in 1955, it consists of 123 torii gates cascading down a ridge with sensational ocean views. Unlike most shrines where you just drop coins into the offering box, here you have to put your donation in a box that is delivered to the top of the final six-meter-high torii gate. If you can do it, your wish will come true.
Along the historic Nakasendo, the mountain road connecting old Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto, is a post town Nara in the picturesque Kiso Valley. It’s one of the best places to learn about life in the Edo era (1603-1868), as the bustling town of the time was largely preserved, with its wooden buildings extending over a block. Many historic houses within 1 km have been altered into restaurants, ryokans (ryokans), and shops, while the two former residences, Nakamura Residence and Kamijouya Shiryokan, remain as they were at the time. Narai is very photogenic in autumn when brilliant foliage illuminates the surrounding Kiso Mountains.
Kumano Kodo, Wakayama Prefecture
The UNESCO-designated pilgrimage route comes from the Kumano Kodo on the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture. The 70-kilometer route passes through lush, dense forests and stops at numerous ancient shrines and temples. One of the most famous destinations is Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Nachi no Taki with its three-story vermilion pagoda, the most towering waterfall in Japan at 133m.
Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki
Miyazaki’s magnificent Takachiho Gorge is best viewed from the water. You can rent a small boat for a romantic cruise on the tranquil Gokase River. This isn’t boating in the park, though: the canyon is full of natural wonders, and you’ll be surrounded by lush maples and the majestic 55-foot (17-meter) Minai-no-Taki waterfall. Do you like to stay dry? The canyon is always impressive from above: Hikers can stroll the mile-long Takachiho Trail for panoramic views, best enjoyed during the summer lighting or during the fall foliage.
Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture
Himeji is probably the most renowned palace in Japan. It’s even the basis for this emoji: 🏯. Himeji Castle, also comprehended as the White Heron, is a huge, gleaming white building that has miraculously survived battles and naturalistic disasters. The palace dates back to the 17th century but was restored in 2015, allowing visitors to admire the renovated buildings inside. If you plan to visit, be sure to check the official website for live wait times.
Beaches in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa
Imagine a white sand beach with water so clear you don’t even need snorkeling gear to see fish. Let your imagination run wild on Okinawa’s tropical paradise, the island chain between Japan and Taiwan. Of the 49 inhabited islands, Ishigaki is definitely one of the most dramatic, with a mixture of mountains, jungles, and sandy beaches that attract active and adventurous people, as well as those who like to relax on the beach. Spend the day sunbathing and swimming at Maibara Beach, or watching marine life in the azure moistness of Kabira Bay, where you can take a glass-bottom craft tour.
The Buddhist Hill at the Takino Cemetery in Makomanai, Hokkaido
Let star architect Tadao Ando create beauty from loss and pain. Ando’s Makomanai Takino Circular Cemetery in Sapporo is built around a giant 13.5m-tall Buddha statue with its head protruding from the top of an artificial mound. Ando’s signature material, industrial concrete, contrasts with the lavender that surrounds the cemetery and covers the Buddha. The only form to witness the sculpture in its entirety is through a dark tunnel into the 40-meter-high hollow “mound”. When you reach the (natural) dawn at the end of the underpass, you will see the ever-graceful Buddha sitting in front of you.
Outside of Kagoshima Prefecture, Yakushima is a nature lover’s paradise. The most pleasing manner to see the island that served as the backdrop for the Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke is on a multi-day hike: forget the absurdities of modern life as you trek down mossy dirt roads and admire the yakusugi, the oldest surviving tree. In Japan, it has a history of more than 1,000 years. From a foolproof one-hour hike to a thrilling 20-hour overnight ride, there are several routes to suit all experience levels. Highlights include a nighttime walk to ancient Jomon cedar trees, counted between 2,000 and 7,200 years old.
Yeti Zao Yamagata
Not only is Zao one of the best ski resorts for ski lovers, but it also has picturesque scenery like in a winter fairy tale or a horror movie. The slopes are lined with snow-covered, wind-bent trees that make them look like giant mutant snowmen. The monsters are even celebrated with their own festival in January, including lights and fireworks.
Tokyo Ogasawara Islands
Just a pebble throw from Tokyo and a 24-hour ferry conveyance away are the Ogasawara Islands, an archipelago with some of Japan’s best beaches, diving, and hiking. Parent Island is the main island and is a popular spot for dolphin and whale watching. These islands are truly secluded, allowing you to escape the bustling cities, relax and enjoy the subtropical climate. The South Island, opposite Chijima, can only be reached with a guide, but the unusual rock formations and white sand beaches are definitely worth the extra effort.
Korakuen in Okayama, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Kairakuen in Mito, is one of the best places to visit in japan and Japan’s three numerous famous gardens, a traditional honor that has been held since the 19th century. The mountainous landscape of approximately 144,000 square meters is a fine example of traditional beauty from the Edo period (1603-1868). While the gardens have been vandalized by war and natural catastrophes in the past, they have been lovingly restored using illustrated historical maps. One of the largest landscaped gardens in Japan, Korakuen is large enough to accommodate large gardens, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and Japanese cranes. The gardens are picturesque in all four seasons, with carefully selected plants ensuring flowers throughout the year. The beauty of Okayama Castle in the background is the icing on the cake.