20 Must-See Nature Spots in Japan

miyajima

Japan’s natural striking scenery is often overshadowed by its image of being a neon metropolis filled with skyscrapers, sci-fi supermarkets and bullet trains. Japan is filled with countless natural wonders and unusual landscapes you must see to believe.

Kawachi Fuji Gardens – Fukuoka Prefecture

The Kuwachi Fuji Garden is a private garden in the wooded hills south of central Kitakyushu in the Fukuoka prefecture. The garden displays about 150 wisteria plants of 20 different species. The garden is open to the public during the wisteria season at end of April, when the flowers are in full bloom.

Happo Pond – Nagano Prefecture

Located in the Nagano prefecture the hike to Happo Pond takes you through the Japanese Alps. Surrounded by the peaks of Mount Hakuba, Happo Pond sits 2,060 meters above sea level. What the pond lacks in size, it makes up for by reflecting the beauty of the 3,000-meter-tall peaks in its waters.

Motonosumi-Inari Shrine – Yamaguchi Prefecture

A total of 123 torii gates stretch from the Motonosumi-Inari Shrine to the cliff overlooking the ocean. Locals and tourists alike come to the shrine where a donation box is placed out of reach at the top of the gate. It is believed if you can successfully toss money into to the box, all your wishes will come true.

 

Nachi Falls – Wakayama Prefecture

At 133 meters high Nachi Falls is the biggest waterfalls in Japan. Nachi Falls is located by the Seiganto-ji (Temple of Blue Waves) and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sacred Site for its ancient pilgrimage routes and for its historical and religious significance.

Mount Zao – Yamagata Prefecture

Mount Zao has one of the best-known ski resorts in Japan. Travelers not only come to here for the snow-covered mountain to ski and snowboard but for the trees as well. Extreme snow and winds cocoon the mountain’s pine trees creating towers of snow knows as ice monsters or Juhyo in Japanese.

Kinetsu Beppu Ropeway – Oita Prefecture

This is for those who don’t enjoy hiking, this cable car carries passengers to the top of Mount Tsurumi where you can get panoramic views of the city Beppu, Mount Yufu, and the Kuju Mountain Range. The best time to go is in spring where more than 2000 cherry trees blossom on the mountain.

Shiratani Unsuikyo Forest – Kagoshima Prefecture

This lush green nature park will look familiar to fans of the movie Princess Mononoke. Hayao Mizyazki used Shiratani Unsuikyo as inspiration for his film. The otherworldly nature park offers a network of maintained hiking trails along the ravine.

Koya Pond – Niigata Prefecture

You will find Koya Pond on your way up to Mount Huichi. The best time to visit Koya Pond is in the fall, the fall season changes the vegetation in and around the pond.

Hitachi Seaside Park – Ibaraki Prefecture

More than four million Nemophilas (baby blue eyes) bloom between April and May in Hitachi Seaside Park on Miharashi Hill. The Nemophila Harmony is the highlight of the park's flowering events.

Sagano Bamboo Forest - Kyoto

On the edge of Kyoto, towering green bamboo stalks sway in the wind in the Sagano Bamboo Forest. The noise of the wind passing through the bamboo creates a distinct sound so much so the Japanese Ministry of Environment has included it on the list of 100 Soundscapes of Japan.

Mount Daisen – Tottori Prefecture

Mount Daisen is a large volcanic mountain that dominates western terrain of the Tottori Prefecture. Mount Daisen has been revered as a spiritual site since the Jomon and Yayoi eras. Temples and shrines are spread out throughout the slope of the mountain.

Tottori-sakyu Sand Dunes – Tottori Prefecture

The Tottori Sand Dunes span almost ten miles long and one and half miles wide. The sand dunes are blend of sand and volcanic ash that have mixed over 100,000 years by wind from the Sea of Japan. Sand dunes can be explored by camel rides, dune buggies or sandboarding.

Itsukushima Shrine – Hiroshima

The Itsukushima Shrine’s torii gate is built over water making it seem like it is floating in the sea during high tide. It is possible to walk to the torii gate on a sandbar during low tide and enjoy the view of Mount Misen and the shrine itself behind the gate.


Lavender Farm – Hokkaido Prefecture

The Tomita farm is free to enter and has three lavender fields which sit in front of the Tokachi mountain range. The farm’s Sakiwai field has four different types of lavender growing in rows creating a gradient of lavenders.


Lake Toya – Hokkaido Prefecture

Lake Toya is part of the Shikotsu-Toya national park. The circular lake itself is the remains of a volcanic eruption that hollowed out the ground. The area offers many fishing, hiking and camping spots for nature lovers to explore.


Jigokudani Monkey Park – Nagano Prefecture

Though the steaming hot springs set in a snowy valley may be scenic, travelers come to the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park for another reason: the snow monkeys. Hundreds of Japanese macaque monkeys live and soak in the hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park during the winter season.

Adachi Museum of Art Garden – Shimane Prefecture

The Adachi Museum of Art is probably best known for its award-winning garden more than its collection of 20th century paintings. The garden has been named the best garden in Japan every year since 2003. The garden can only be viewed from inside the museum building.

Fuji Five Lakes/Shibazakura Festival – Yamanashi Prefecture

The Shibazakura festival is located in the Fuji Five Lakes area and celebrates the pink moss’ first bloom. The Shibazakura covers 2.4 hectares and offers breathtaking views of fields of pink and purple Shibazakura with mount Fuji in the background visible on clear days.

Jodogahama Beach – Iwate Prefecture

This beautiful beach is just outside the city of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture and is part of the Sanriku Recovery National Park. Jodoghama features a white pebble shoreline, and calm waters surrounded by jagged rocky islands

Mototaki Waterfall – Akita Prefecture

Located in Akita prefecture in the Tohuou region this scenic waterfall is fed year-round by melting snow on Mount Chokai, and remains chilly even during the warmer sunny seasons.