When we hear about Japan, we always think of a highly developed country. But did you know that almost 67 percent of Japan’s land is covered with dense forests? So, finding beautiful natural places in Japan is not that hard.
Surrounded by the Japan Sea, the Pacific Ocean and China Sea, this far eastern Island country is full of many natural wonders. Javanese people are nature lovers and most Japanese festivals are centric to nature, and seasons, such as hinamatsuri, hanabi, natsumatsuri, etc. Even Tokyo offers parks and patches of wilderness at every corner.
Also Read: Complete Guide to Travelling Solo in Japan
41 Blissfully Beautiful Natural Places in Japan You Must Explore
Honsu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the four major islands of Japan but there are as many as 6848 small islands in Japan. The country’s natural beauty is spread equally across all islands, but 90 percent of these islands are uninhabited.
To discover the true essence of Japan you must include these places to your itinerary –
Explore Japan’s Highest Peak Fujisan
Mount Fuji or Fujisan, in Japanese, has a height of 3776 meters, and is the tallest mountain in the country. The clear conical form of this dormant volcano makes for a beautiful view. You can admire its beauty from Tokyo, Shizuoka, and Yamanashi prefecture, all throughout the year. Long, tough, yet breathtaking hiking experiences are open to the public through July and August.
Take a Trip to the Famous Five Fuji Lakes
The Five lakes around Mt Fuji are known as Fujigoko. One of my favourites, you can get an incredibly amazing view from these lakes. March and April are the most popular months to visit these lakes to enjoy Mount Fuji along with the cherry blossoms.
Enjoy the Spectacular View from Mount Takao
Mount Takao is another beautiful summit near Tokyo. A one hour drive from the city will take you to this majestic wonder. A moderate climb to this mountain will lead you to the breathtaking view of the nearby metropolitan area. You can also take a cable car to reach the top.
Don’t Miss The Autumn Colors of Mt Mitake
Mount Mitake is a comparatively lesser known mountain near Tokyo but in my opinion one of the best natural places in Japan. This place is especially known for its colorful autumn leaves. A small village is located at the summit of the mountain, where you can enjoy some traditional food.
Observe the Unusual Rock Formations at Dogashima Coast in Izu
The Izu peninsula is widely known for its beautiful beaches. Dogashima coast is specifically famous for the unique rock formations, cliffs and caves. You can go to these caves by the boats run by the Japan tourism board.
Meditate At Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto
Most people know Kyoto as a temple city but the natural beauty of the city is just as breathtaking. The Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama is a magical place where you can sit quietly for hours. The grove is a natural forest of tall, green bamboos. The light filtering through these bamboo shoots are awe-inspiring.
Magnificent Miyajima Island Hiroshima
Miyajima island is a beautiful place next to Hiroshima. It is connected by boats, ships and cruises. The island is famous for its picturesque views and the iconic, floating torii gate at the entrance of the iconic Itsukushima Shrine, which is built over the water.
Get Mesmerised By the Untouched Beauty of Dorokyo Gorge, Mie
Another one of my favourites in the list of beautiful natural places to visit in Japan is the Dorokyo Gorge. Known for pearl cultivation, the natural beauty of Mie is somewhat undiscovered. Dorokyo Gorge has been around for thousands of years without mass interference from humans.
Observe the Marvel of Abukumado Limestone Caves, Fukushima
Nature took around 80 million years to create these 3000 meter long limestone caves which are located at the eastern part of the Fukushima prefecture. The caves have some of the most unique rock formations, underground rivers, and beautiful crystal-clear water. You can take a guided tour through the caves to explore the natural beauty.
Watch the Picture Perfect View of Oirase Stream, Aomori
Aomori is the northernmost prefecture of Honshu island and it is widely known for its natural beauty. Oirase stream is a picturesque stream with a length of 14km. Walking along the stream is refreshing for your mind and soul.
Check Out the Beautiful Oigawa River Valley, Shizuoka
Shizuoka is the neighboring prefecture of Tokyo and is filled with many natural attractions. Oigawa river valley is a famous destination to indulge yourself with green therapy. You can also ride locomotives here to enjoy the perfect view of the valley.
Be Amazed by the Tottori Sand Dunes
Along with the Sea of Japan, sand dunes of Tottori are a very well known tourist attraction of Tottori prefecture. There are many other activities around the area such as camel and horse riding etc. You can also avail the chairlift facility here that takes you to the top of the dunes for a panoramic view.
Visit Beppu, A Town of Hot Springs in Kyushu
Beppu is a stunning town on Kyushu island widely known for its hot springs. Hot springs or Onsen are an important part of Japanese culture. Taking a bath in these natural hot springs is another activity that Japanese locals take part in; displaying their love and appreciation for nature.
Witness the Timeless Beauty of Takahicho Gorge, Miyazaki
You can’t miss this beautiful gorge in Miyazaki prefecture on Kyushu island. This place is not only incredibly beautiful but also plays an important role in Japanese mythological tales. You can take a boat to go under the waterfall; make sure to check the timings before you buy yourself a ticket.
Behold the Beauty of the Shiretoko Goko Lakes of Hokkaido
Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan and is a haven for nature lovers. Shiretako Goko lakes are a group of five lakes located in Shiretoko national park in eastern Hokkaido. These lakes are connected with an elevated pathway. With a background of Shiretoko mountain range, the view is incredibly scenic.
Explore the Caldera of Mt Aso, Kumamoto
Mount Aso or Asosan is the largest active volcano in Japan. The circumference of its caldera is over 100 kilometers. Tourists are allowed to go to the main crater if the volcanic gasses are being emitted at a normal range. It is surrounded by grassy slopes where you can ride horses. Cycling around the area is the best way to enjoy this panoramic view.
Meet the Snow Monsters on Mt. Zao
Visit in the winter time to meet the snow monsters on Mt Zao, when the pine trees cover themselves under the thick blankets of snow. You won’t find such a view anywhere else. Mt. Zao is famous for skiing slopes and hot springs. During summer you can hike to Okama crater which changes hues of the water from dark green to blue according to the sunlight.
Gaze At the Divine Beauty of Nachi Waterfall, Wakayama
Located in the green forest of Wakayama, Nachi waterfall is Japan’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful natural places in Japan. You can enjoy this breathtaking view from the observation deck. Its water is considered very sacred by locals, which you can buy from the site. A beautiful shrine (Shinto temple) is here to worship the waterfall deity.
Get Impressed By The Tateyama Alpine Route
To observe the grand beauty of the north Japanese Alps, you must visit the Tateyama Alpine route. You can choose to hike or take multiple routes of transportation to explore the beauty of these peaks. Carved snow walls are a newly added attraction here; though these are accessible only between mid April and mid June.
Nosappu Cape is a Spectacle to Behold
Nosappu cape is on the easternmost coast of Japan. The sun rises here first, in the country of rising sun. Visit to witness that most amazing sunrise, with a view of the pacific ocean. This place is also famous for its fresh and delicious seafood.
Witness the Stunning View from Mt. Hakodate
Situated on the southwest part of Hokkaido, the summit of the mountain gives a thrilling view of Hakodate Bay and Hakodate city. To get a night time view, begin your hike in the second half of the day. You can also get a cable car to reach the summit.
Visit the Pearls of Ise-Shima National Park in Mie
This famous national park is surrounded by sea on all three sides. This place is famous for its cultured pearl cultivation. These scattered islands are also home of the famous Ise Jingu shrine, with an unmissable sunrise view.
Don’t Forget Japan’s Circular Rishiri Island, Hokkaido
This small island is in the sea of Japan and around 20km away from Japan’s mainland in Hokkaido. The island has a circular shape and the volcano Mt. Rishiri in its center. You can easily climb this mountain to take in the stunning view. Kayaking is another way to see this island from the sea, and is famous for seal watching.
Stroll in the Ancient Yakushima Forest, Kyusu
From beautiful sandy coast to high peaks, magnificent waterfalls to forests full of a variety of flora, this island of Japan looks like a dream. This is situated near Kagoshima prefecture in the Southern part of Japan. Don’t forget to carry an umbrella because according to locals it rains here 35 days a month!
Be Enchanted By the Kujuku Islands, Nagasaki
Kujiki, one of the most beautiful natural places in Japan is located in Nagasaki prefecture and part of the Saikai national park. In Japanese Kujuku means 99, but there are actually 208 big and small islands here. You can take a cruise to reach, and enjoy the stunning view of the islands.
Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Kinugawa River in Nikko
Though Nikko is famous for its Buddhist temples and shrines, this prefecture offers many natural attractions as well. Kinugawa river is beautiful, attracts many people for adventurous water sports. Its stunning gorge and falls are breathtaking. Don’t forget to take a dip in the Kinugawa hot spring after the exciting water sports.
Enjoy Skiing in the Slopes of Niseko Village, Hokkaido
Niseko is a small village in Hokkaido which is widely known for its skiing slopes. The light powder snow and a background of the glorious Mt. Yotei makes it a perfect place to ski. You can find a wide variety of terrain here from beginner to expert friendly.
Visit Japan’s Largest Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido
This is the largest national park of Japan. The indigenous Ainu people have named this park. Daisetsuzan means ‘A playground of God’, and by all means it is true. Surrounded by many peaks, you can rent a car or trek to enjoy the heavenly beauty of the place. If you are not a snow lover then summer is the best time to visit.
Be Amazed By the Limestone Caves and Karst Plateau of Akiyoshidai
Nature has been creating these limestone caves for the last 350 million years and are nested in the Yamaguchi prefecture. The total length of the caves is approximately 11 km, which is the longest in Japan; yet only 1 km area is open for sightseeing. Akiyoshidai Karst plateau is another marvelous creation of nature. You can explore the place on foot but for your safety, always stick to the allotted paths.
Feel the Serenity At The Alpine Landscape of Kamikochi
Kamikochi is a quaint and stunning alpine valley surrounded by the highest mountain range of Japan. This place is part of Chubu Sangaku national park. You can conquer the mountains or enjoy the stroll around Azusa river, from April to November.
Be Stumped By the Beauty of Grass covered Mount Omura
Mount Omura is an extinct volcano located in Ito city. The circular mountain is completely covered with grass. To reach the summit you must take a chairlift, hiking is not allowed there. But you can walk around the crater which is around 1 km long. From the summit you can get a stunning view of the Izu peninsula and its islands.
Dive in the Clear Sea of Kerama Islands
Kerama islands are a group of 20 islands which are 30-40 km away from Okinawa prefecture’s capital- Naha. Clear blue water of these islands is a perfect place to dive into the sea. These islands are the natural habitat for sea turtles, and humpback whales migrate here in the winters.
Enjoy a Sunset on Ishigaki Beach
Ishigaki islands of Okinawa are known for its clear blue water. Among many beaches here, Ishigaki sunset beach is a perfect place to see the sunset. The glass bottom boat tour is a great way to see blue corals on Shiraho reef.
Take a Quick Getaway From Tokyo to Seren Akigawa Valley
If you are in Tokyo and don’t want to travel far to enjoy nature then Akigawa is the best place to visit. Just a 1 hour travel by train will bring you to a totally different world of natural beauty. Walking is the best way to explore this area.
Be Soothed By The View of Cherry Blossoms at Mount Yoshino
Located in the Nara Prefecture, Mt Yoshino is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing locations, blooming in March – April. In June you can enjoy the beautiful colors of Hydrangea here. It is also an important place for spiritual seekers. There are many famous temples and shrines here.
Explore the Region of Kawazu Seven Waterfall
Another one of my favourite beautiful natural places in Japan is the Kawazu Waterfall area. Immerse yourself in nature while walking on the Kawazu Nanadaru hiking trail. It is a beautiful trail where you will find 7 stunning waterfalls. These falls are part of Hontani river in the Izu peninsula.
Visit the Blissful Shiraito falls, Shizuoka
This waterfall is among the best waterfalls in Japan. The water in the falls comes from Mt. Fuji that makes the water crystal clear. It is in the Fujinomiya area of Shizuoka prefecture. It is particularly more scenic during the autumn season.
Watch Out For the Thriving View of Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Fall
Both these places are natural jems of the Nikko area. Situated on an altitude of 1269m, a view of Lake Chuzenji with Mount Nantai is just amazing. The glorious Kegon falls are a must see and are located near the lake . If you want to see both these places in one view then take a cable car to go to Akechidaira peak. It is definitely the best place to admire the beauty of the lake.
Have a Fun & Relaxing Time at Yonaha Beach
You can’t miss this thriving beach of Miyako Island which is one of the most beautiful natural places in Japan. Blue sea and white sand beaches make this place a perfect destination for beach lovers. The place offers many water activities to keep tourists engaged through exciting adventures.
Explore the Beauty of Japan’s leser Known Omogo Gorge
The clear blue color of this quaint gorge is situated in the foothills of Mount Ishizuchi. This is the largest gorge in Shikoku island, one among the four main islands. Although you can enjoy hiking and trekking here throughout the year, autumn is especially very beautiful in Omogo.
Be Amazed by the Gorgeous Susa Hornfels
This is a unique natural wonder where the coastal cliffs have three different layers of colors- gray, white and black. It looks as if someone painted cliffs in a striped pattern. Situated in Yamanashi, these cliffs look more gorgeous around sunset.
I hope you liked my list of most beautiful natural places in Japan. Japan has many more green and scenic experiences to offer; many that did not make it on this list, are just as beautiful as the ones that did!
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