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All Other Destinations and Attractions in Japan

Matsuyama, Japan

Matsuyama is located on Shikoku island and is known for hot springs and the oldest hot spring bath house in Japan. Matsuyama is home to several universities and hosts several festivals each year including the Dogo Festival in spring and the Fall Festival, held in October.

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle was built in 1603 and is located in the heart of the city. The castle was renovated in the 1850's with original materials after several devastating fires. A spectacular view of the city is available from the tower.

Dogo Onsen

Dogo Onsen bathhouse is the oldest and best known hot springs in Japan. The current building was built in 1894 and consists of three levels.

Unzen-Amakusa National Park

The Unzen -Amakusa National, at the extreme western end of the main Japanese group of islands, includes the central section of Shimabara Peninsula and the Amakusa Islands, just off Kumamoto. The area is bounded by the Ariake Sea, Chijiwa Bay and Yatsushiro Bay.
The backbone of the Shimabara Peninsula is formed by the Unzen Massif, which attracts large numbers of visitors in spring for azaleas and in the fall for the vividly colored foliage. The volcanic origin of the range is reflected in the presence of numerous geysers, fumaroles and bubbling pools of mud.

Saikai National Park

The Saikai National Park lies at the extreme western end of the main Japanese group of islands. It includes a small strip of the coast of Kyushu, parts of the island of Hirado, The Kujukushima Islands (literally the "Ninety-Nine Islands") and a number of small islands in the Goto (literally "Five Islands") Archipelago. The scenic beauty of the National Park and its features of historical interest have made it one of the most popular excursions from Kyushu. The vegetation is subtropical, and stretches of rugged coast alternate with beautiful beaches. Pearl culture is practiced in some areas.
Immediately off the northwest coast of Kyushu are the Kujukushima Islands, a closely packed group of some 170 small islands and islets, covered with subtropical vegetation lying in the channel between Kyushu and Hirado. There are cruises around the islands from Sasebo.
The island of Hirado can be reached by boats from Sasebo; there are also ferries from Hiradoguchi and a road bridge.
The most westerly part of the National Park is constituted by the Goto Islands, lying some 30 miles off the coast of Kyushu. The group consists of the five large islands of Fukue, Naru, Wakamatsu, Nakadori and Uku together with some 150 smaller islands and islets.

Naoshima, Japan

Located in the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima is an island. It is home to the Seto Inland Sea National Park, the Benesse House complex, and the Art House Project. Naoshima is a hilly island with beaches and opportunity for biking or walking along the coasts.

Benesse Art Site

Benesse Art Site features the Benesse House, the Art House Project, Chichu Art Museum as well as the Honmura Lounge and Archive.
Benesse House opened in 1992 on the south side of the island. The works of art on were designed to be permanently displayed, the artists select where they will be displayed before creating.
Chichu Art Museum houses works of art by Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell.
The Art House project transforms old houses within Naoshima into works of art.
Address: 850-2 Naoshima-cho, Kagawa-gun, Japan

Nagasaki, Japan

The city of Nagasaki is closely associated in most people's minds with the atomic bomb that devastated the city. Today the city is also seen as a symbol of peace and many visitors take in the sights of Nagasaki's Peace Park.
Due to the city's position it has long been a prosperous port city.

Kirishima-Yaku National Park

The Kirishima-Yaku National Park in southern Kyushu takes in the Kirishima mountain range, the island of Yakushima off the coast to the south, part of the Kagoshima Bay including the Sakurajima Volcano, and the southern coasts of the Satsuma and Osumi peninsulas, at the southern-most tip of Kyushu. The predominant features of the National Park - the various parts of which are separate from one another - are chains of volcanic mountains with lave fields and beautiful crater lakes, extensive beaches and hot springs, most of them at busy health resorts. The countryside is at its most beautiful during the summer flowering season and in the fall when the foliage takes on its vivid coloring.
The most northerly part of the National Park consists of the Kirishima Range, on the borders of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures. The highest peaks are Karakuni in the north and Takachiho in the south. Among the most beautiful of the ten or so crater lakes in this area are Lake Onami, Fudo, Byakushi and Miike, with water of varying hues.
There is rich vegetation, with dense primeval forests at lower altitudes, silver fir and red spruce at intermediate levels and an upper zone of scrub and deciduous forest. Many areas are renowned for the beauty of their vegetation, such as Lake Onami with its maples and firs and Mount Shimmoe with its great expanses of azaleas.

Kagoshima, Japan

Kagoshima is located on the southwestern tip of the Kyushu Island. It is noted for the hot climate, palm trees, and an active volcano, Sakurajima. The volcano rises out of the waters of Kinko Bay.

Kagoshima Prefectural Museum of Reimeikan Culture

Kagoshima Prefectural Museum of Reimeikan Culture is home to history, folk customs as well as fine arts and crafts of Kagoshima. The Reimeikan is enclosed in the ruins of Tsurumaru castle with the moat, stonewall and stone bridge still standing today.

Senganen Garden

Senganen, also known as Isoteien, is a Japanese style landscaped garden, located at the foot of a wooded hill along the coast near Kagoshima. The garden contains beautiful former residential buildings and a small museum dedicated to the Shimazu Clan, which ruled Kagoshima for almost 700 years.

Shoko Shuseikan Museum

Shoko Shuseikan Museum is house in Japan's first industrial factory, built in the mid-1850's. Exhibits feature items from the Shimadzu clan covering almost 700 years of history. Family heirlooms include lacquerware, tea-ceremony objects and photographs.

Yoshino-Kumano National Park

The Yoshino-Kumano National Park, situated on the Kii Peninsula, which reaches out into the Pacific from western central Honshu, takes in the mountains of the Yoshino region and the deep gorges of Kumano region. Many of the temple and shrines once visited by swarms of pilgrims can still be seen. During the Nara period this territory, then remote and inaccessible, was the haunt of the mountain ascetics of the Shugendo sect.
The isolated northwestern section of the National Park consists of the Yoshino Mountains, which rise above the little town of Yoshino. The mountains are widely famed for their cherry trees - some 100,00 in all, in four large groves which are in blossom at varying times, depending on the altitude, between the beginning and the end of April. Nearest the upper station of the cableway is the Shimo-no-Sembon ("Lower Thousand Trees") which is followed by Naka-no-Sembon ("Middle Thousand Trees"), Kami-no-Sembon ("Upper Thousand Trees") and Uko-no-Sembon ("Inner Thousand Trees"). The Cherry Blossom Festival (Hanao-eshiki) is celebrated in mid-April. The tradition has it that the threes were originally planted by a priest named Enno-Ozuno in the 7th C and dedicated to the mountain divinity Zao-Gongen.

Sanin Kaigan National Park

The eastern part of Tottori falls within Sanin Kaigan National Park, which extends eastward for almost 50mi/ 80km. Among the chief attractions in this region of varied scenery are the stretch of coast at Kasumi, Uradome Beach and the resort of Kinosaki.
Sanin Kaigan National Park has very attractive seaside scenery, including sea caves, strata, and joints. The sand dunes of Tottori are well known of their largest scale in Japan, so that the dunes were designated as Natural Monument in 1955.

Ise-Shima National Park

The Ise-Shima National Park lies on the Shima Peninsula, which forms the southeastern part of Mie prefecture on Honshu. The beautiful coast facing on to the Pacific is indented by many bays and inlets; offshore are many small islands; the coastal region is covered with subtropical vegetation; and inland are dense forests. The main feature of interest is the Ise Shrines revered as one of the most sacred places in Japan.
The northern gateway to the National Park is the town of Ise (pop 106,000) formed by the amalgamation of Uji and Yamada, with the administrative office of the Ise Shrines and their library, richly stocked with Shinto literature. Also in the town are the Chokokan Museum (antiquities) and the Nogyokan Museum (agriculture). A traditional local dance, the Ise-ondo, is performed to the music of Shamisen and Kokyu (similar to guitars and fiddles).

Himeji, Japan

Himeji is a city in the Kansai region that has grown through merging with the towns of Yasutomi, Kodera, Ieshima and Yumesaki.
It is home to Himeji Castle, a UNESCO heritage site, as well as the Engyo-ji temple, Mount Seppiko-san, the Himeji City Tegarayama Botanical Garden and the Koko-en Garden.

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle has survived virtually intact with extensive gates, moats, turrets, and mazes of passageways. It is a flatland castle with 83 wooden buildings and on the most visited castles in Japan. Himeji Castle was nicknamed the "White Heron" because the white walls are covered with white plaster.
The castle was in use from 1333 to 1868, and restoration work began in 1956.

Kokoen Garden

Kokoen Garden was completed in 1992 and features nine gardens highlighting the Edo period from 1603 to 1867. There is an elaborate tea house, where visitors can enjoy an authentic tea ceremony. The natural beauty is found in the trees and flowers, waterfalls, and covered walkways built of Japanese cypress.
Address: 68 Honmachi, Japan

Ogasawara National Park

This southernmost national park consists of Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands, Iocated about 1,000 km south of Tokyo. The Park boasts of mag- nificent oceanic islands and coastal scenery. Iwojima Island is the summit area of a submarine volcano emerging above sea level. The other islands of the park are also volcanic in origin. In the Senjin-iwa area of Chichijima Island and Ooku-zure Bay of Hahajima Island, many large scale cliffs can be observed, eroded by wave. Mina- mijima Island of the Chichijima Island group has karstic type landforms.

Narita, Japan

The town of Narita, east of Tokyo, is noted for the Shinshoji Temple, one of the great Japanese pilgrimage centers, visited by more than seven million worshippers every year. In recent years the town has acquired increased importance from its proximity to Tokyo's new international airport: since the opening of the airport its population has increased by a third.

Naritasan-Shinshoji Temple

The Naritasan-Shinshoji Temple is dedicated to the light god Fudo and was founded in 939, during a rising instigated by Taira Masakado in the area of the present day prefectures of Chiba and Ibakari. The Emperor Sujaku had the statue of Fudo in the Jingoji Temple at Kyoto brought to Kozugahara (to the west of the Shinshoji) in order to secure the god's help in defeating the rebels. When the rebellion came to an end in 940 with the death of Masakado, a temple was built in Kozugahara to house the statue, and in 1705 this was moved to its present site.
The most notable features within the 50ac of the temple precinct are the Niomon Gate, the Hall of the Three Saints, the Buddha Hall, the Hondo (Main Hall, built 1963-68 in traditional style), a belltower and a three story pagoda. The temple attracts particularly large numbers of worshippers at New Year and the Setsubun festival (beginning of February).

Naritasan Park

Adjoining the temple precinct is Naritasan Park (41ac), which is seen at its most beautiful when the cherry and plum trees are in blossom. In the park is a Historical Museum, in which are displayed some of the temple's treasures and archeological material from the Boso Peninsula.
Ponds, fountains, water falls, flower beds, wisteria trellis, a small zoo, and birds' houses are found within the park.

Sogo-Reido Shrine

Sogo-Reido Shrine is dedicated to Kiuchi Sogo (or Sakura Sogo, 1612-53). In defiance of a ban on direct appeals to the Shogun, Sogo presented to Tokugawa Ietsuna a petition on behalf of the peasants suffering from a failed harvest and high taxes. Although his mission was successful, he and five members of his family were condemned to death and executed. Scenes from Sogo's life are depicted in a memorial hall, the Sogo Goichidai-Kinenkan; adjacent to the hall is a small museum.

Joshin-etsu-kogen National Park

Joshin-etsu-kogen National Park is comprised of two separate areas. To the north are Mounts Myoko (8,091ft/ 2,466m), Kurohima (6,736ft/ 2,053m), Togakushi (6,270ft/ 1,911m) and Iizuna (6,290ft/ 1,917m), to the east Mount Tanigawa (6,441ft/ 1,963m) and two active volcanoes, Shirane (7,094ft/ 2,162m) and Asama (8,340ft/ 2,542m; last eruption April 1982). In this eastern section are the extensive skiing areas of Suga-daira and Shiga-kogen (numerous lifts). With its clear lakes and open birch forests the plateau attracts many summer visitors. This part of the National Park is traversed by the Shiga-Kusatsu-kogen Ridge Highway, which connects Yudanka in the north with Karuizawa in the south, reaching a height of some 6,550 ft/ 2,000m.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone is a popular destination for residents of Tokyo to enjoy the hot-spring resorts, and spectacular views of Mount Fuji.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

The Izu Peninsula, south of Tokyo.
The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, on the south coast of central Honshu, consists of four separate and unconnected sections. The most northerly part includes the area around Mount Fuji and the Fuji Lakes; the central part consists of the Hakone region with Lakes Ashi and a number of health resorts; while to the south are two areas taking in the Izu Peninsula and the seven Izu islands.

Hakone Check Point

Hakone was an important checkpoint to control traffic along the highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the Edo period. The checkpoint guardhouse was built in 1619 and eventually demolished.
Hakone Checkpoint was reconstructed and completed in 2007. It now features gates, fence, housing for officers and foot soldiers, a prison chamber and lookout tower.

Hakone Detached Palace Garden

Hakone Detached Palace Garden is located near Hakone Checkpoint. The palace served as a summer home for the Imperial Family, and was eventually opened to the public. The small palace building is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Visitors will enjoy the walking trails and scenic views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji.

Hakone Open-Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum opened in 1969 and was the first open-air art museum in Japan. Displays include over 100 masterpieces set against a natural background. The collection features over 300 works by Picasso such as pottery, paintings, prints, and sculptures.
Address: Ninotaira, Japan

Hakusan National Park

Hakusan National Park (area 183sq.mi/ 473sq.km) is home to Mount Hakusan (8,865ft/ 2,702m) is one of Japan's three sacred mountains. Of the five approach routes (Iwama, Chugu, Itoshiro, Hirase and Ichinose) the most popular, for climbers coming from Kanazawa, is the Ichinose route. Near here is the Murodo Hut, which is open during the summer. The route to the five peaks of Mount Hakusan (views of the Tatayama Range to the southeast and Mount Norikura) runs up through dense forests and rich Alpine vegetation. The highest of the five peaks is Gozenmine (8,865ft/ 2,702m), followed by Tsurugigamine (8,714ft/ 2,656m) and Onanji (8,682ft/ 2,646m); to the south are Bessan and Sannomine. On Gozenmine is the Inner Shrine (Okunoin) of the Shirayamahime Shrine (Kaga-Ichinomiya) at the foot of Mount Hakusan.

Okayama, Japan

The town of Okayama lies in western Honshu on both banks of the River Asahi, which flows into the Inland Sea in Kojima Bay. It is the chief town of the prefecture and its economic and cultural center. Bounded on the north by the foothills of the Chugoku Range, it is a good base from which to explore the beautiful surrounding area.
The city's industries include engineering, textiles and chemicals as well as the traditional craft of porcelain manufacture (Bizen-yaki).

Koraku-en Park

Koraku-en Park is one of the three most celebrated landscaped gardens in Japan (the others being at Kanazawa and Mito). Commissioned in 1687 by Ikeda Tsunamasa, the local feudal lord, and completed in 1700, it is a typical example of a pleasure garden of the school of Kobori Enshu (1579-1647). Within an area of 28 acres it contains tea pavilions, pools, waterfalls and numbers of pine, maple, cherry and plum trees. The backdrop to the garden is formed by the Castle, beyond the river (Tsukimi Bridge), also known as "Crow Castle" (U-jo) on account of the black coloring of its walls. Of the original 16th C Castle there survive only two outer towers; the rest was rebuilt in 1966 after its destruction during the Second Wolrd War.

Okayama Orient Museum

Exhibits at the Orient Museum include "The History and Culture of the Orient" which help provide an understanding of the cultures of the Orient. Art and artifacts are displayed including sculpture, glassware, textiles and pottery.
Address: 9-31 Tenjin-cho, Okayama, Chugoku 700-0814, Japan

Chichibu-Tama National Park

Elevated monorail in Tama.
The beautiful Chichibu-Tama National Park, established in 1950, extends over the Kanto Mountains, northwest of Tokyo. This upland region, lying at an average altitude of some 3,300ft/ 1,000m, is traversed by numerous rivers and gorges and is attractively wooded. It is a very popular recreational area, particularly with the people of Toyko and Yokohama.
The principal gateways to the National Park are the towns of Ome, in the Upper Valley of the Tama (Okutama), to the east and Chichibu to the north. The highest peaks in the area are Kimpu (8,514ft/ 2,595m) and Kokushi (8,504ft/ 2,592m); and these mountains, together with Ryogami (5,656ft/ 1,724m), Mikuni (5,998ft/ 1,828m) and Mizugaki, offer much good walking and climbing. On the southern periphery rises Mount Daibosatsu (6,749ft/ 2,057m). Among the finest gorges and valleys are Shosenkyo to the southwest, Okutama to the southeast and the Valley of the River Chikuma. The best known spa is Masutomi-onsen, to the southwest, from which Mount Mizugaki and Mount Kimpu and the Shosenkyo Gorge can be reached.

Shiretoko National Park

The Shiretoko Peninsula, most of which is included within the Shiretoko National Park, projects into the Sea of Okhotsk from the east coast of Hokkaido in the form of a narrow wedge 40mi/ 65km long. The dominant features of the landscape are two quiescent volcanoes, Rausu and Shiretoko.
This area, difficult of access until about 10 years ago, has now been opened up by the provision of excellent new roads. The best center is the seaside resort of Utoro on the northwest coast. The traveling season is confined to the months of May to October.
There are five Shiretoko Lakes, the most notable beauty spots in this are Lake Rausu (circumference 4mi/ 6 km) and the Kamuiwakka and Oshin-Koshin Falls.'
From Utoro there are boat trips round the peninsula to Rausu on the southeast coast. For most of the way the coast is fringed with cliffs up to 650ft/ 200m high. Near Rausu is the health resort of Rausu-onsen.

Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park

Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, Japan's most northerly national park takes in the Sarobetsu Plain at the northernmost tip of Hokkaido and the offshore islands of Rishiri and Rebun. This area, of particular interest to birdwatchers, can be reached from the port of Wakkanai.
Thanks to the warm Tsushima Current Wakkani (pop 60,000), in Soya Bay, is ice-free throughout the year. South of the town are Toyotomi and the little seaside resort of Toyotomi and the little seaside resort of Toyotomi-onsen. From Toyotomi Station there is a bus to the Sarobetsu Plain with the Sarobetsu Gensei Kaen, a well-watered garden with sub-Arctic vegetation (azaleas, etc).
Off the coast opposite the Sarobetsu Plain lies the almost exactly circular island of Rishiri, with the volcanic cone of Mount Rishiri (5,640ft/ 1,719m). A road encircles the coast. There is good fishing to be had in Lake Himenuma, and pleasant walks to Misaki Park and Kutsugata-Misaki Park. The ascent of Mount Rishiri takes about 10 hours there and back; in the summit area there are rare species of seabirds and alpine plants.
Six miles northwest is the island of Rebun (32sq.mi/ 82sq.km) known as the "Island of Flowers", from which a fine view of Mount Rishiri may be enjoyed. There is a beautiful beach at Motoshi-kaigan and imposing cliffs at Nishitomari-kaigan.

Matsumoto, Japan

Matsumoto is popular with tourists due to the traditional culture, moderate climate and the lovely views. Hiking and climbing are enjoyed in the surrounding mountains.
Matsumoto is noted for soba noodles and the world's largest wasabi farm.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle, also known as Fukashi Castle or Crow Castle, is noted as one of Japan's historic castles. It began as a fort in 1504.
Matsumoto Castle tower is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. The keep and some of the walls are original, some of the gates were rebuilt in 1960 and the square drum gate was reconstructed in 1999.

The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum is a comprehensive ukiyo-e museum with one of the largest collection of prints in the world. The prints are featured on a rotating basis along with paintings, screens, old books and modern contemporary prints.
Address: 2206-1, Koshiba, Japan

Inland Sea National Park & Setonaikai

The Inland Sea (Setonaikai) is a wide arm of the sea extending between the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, with about a thousand small islands and islets, magnificent beaches and quiet little coves containing small fishing villages. The exceptionally mild climate ensures a rich and varied pattern of vegetation. The Inland Sea is linked to the Sea of Japan by the Kammon Strait and to the Pacific by the Straits of Kii, Kitan, Naruto, Hoyo and Bungo. Over most of its area the Inland Sea is no more than 130ft/ 40m deep. There are strong tidal movements and counter-currents in the various straits.
Much of the area was declared a National Park in 1934, including part of the island of Shodojima, the Yashima Peninsula, the island of Sensui, Cape Abuto and Mount Washuzan. The Inland Sea National Park (land area 254sq.mi/ 659sq.km) now extends much farther southwest reaching as far as the coasts of northeastern Kyushu. In the east it extends to the island of Awaji.

Iriomote National Park

The most notable features of Iriomote National Park are the long coral reefs with their varied marine life and the dense primeval forest with its rich wild life (including the Iriomote wild cat). The finest beach on Iriomote is Haemida on Cape Haemida (south coast of the island).

Akanko, Japan

Akanko is small resort town with about 2,000 residents. It is noted for the hot springs as well as a good base to explore both Akan National Park and nearby Kushiro Marshland National Park.

Beppu, Japan

Beppu is located southeast of Fukuoka and is noted for more hot-spring water than anywhere else in Japan. The town is well-known for spa resorts including the Hells, a major tourist attraction.

Yakushima

Yakushima is an island south of Kyushu covered in dense forest that includes old growth Sugi trees and spectacular Rhododendrons. The ancient forest became a World Heritage site in 1993.

Kumamoto, Japan

Kumamoto is a major city and is noted for its castle, one of Japan's largest. Kumamoto has two national parks, Aso-Kuju and Unzen-Amakusa.

Kumamoto Castle

The current castle is a concrete reconstruction with several wooden buildings that still remain of the original castle. The interior of Kumamoto Castle houses armor, swords, and other artifacts of the former ruling clans.
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