46 most beautiful places to visit in Japan

Discover the most beautiful places to visit in Japan, from the serene Mount Fuji and historic Kyoto temples to the vibrant coral reefs of Okinawa.

Japan, a land of unparalleled beauty, offers a tapestry of sights that blend ancient tradition with breathtaking natural landscapes.

Among the myriad destinations, there are certain beautiful places to visit in Japan that stand out for their unique charm and cultural significance.

From the majestic Mount Fuji to the serene bamboo groves of Kyoto, the vibrant coral reefs of Okinawa to the historic streets of Takayama, Japan invites travelers to embark on a journey through its heart.

This blog aims to guide you through Japan’s most picturesque locales, each promising an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of this enchanting country.

Join us as we explore the beauty that Japan has to offer, one remarkable destination at a time!

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1. Mount Fuji: the most beautiful place to visit in Japan

📍 Kitayama, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka 418-0112, Japan

Mount Fuji is a symbol of Japan’s natural beauty, making it a highlight among beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its nearly perfect symmetrical cone, often capped with snow, presents a breathtaking and iconic image.

The mountain’s surroundings, with serene lakes and lush forests, add to its stunning visual appeal, especially during cherry blossom season or autumn foliage.

For visiting, early morning is ideal to avoid clouds obscuring the view. July to September, the official climbing season, offers the best conditions for hikers.

However, for those preferring less strenuous activities, surrounding areas like Hakone or the Fuji Five Lakes offer spectacular views and cultural experiences.

2. Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

📍 Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8394, Japan

Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove stands out as one of the most serene and ethereal beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty lies in the towering bamboo stalks that sway gently, creating a tranquil and otherworldly atmosphere. The way light filters through the dense bamboo, casting soft shadows on the path, provides a unique sensory experience.

It’s best to go early in the morning to avoid crowds and fully immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance. Walking through the grove is free and can be combined with a visit to nearby temples like Tenryu-ji.

For a unique experience, consider renting a rickshaw for a guided tour of the area. The grove is also strikingly beautiful in different seasons, with the lush green of summer and the golden hues in autumn.

3. Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

📍 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a magnificent oasis amid the city’s hustle and bustle, and is celebrated as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty emanates from a harmonious blend of traditional Japanese, English, and French garden designs.

Spanning over 58 hectares, it features sprawling lawns, tranquil ponds, and over 20,000 trees, including cherry blossoms that create a spectacular display in spring.

The garden is open throughout the year, but the best times are during cherry blossom season in spring and autumn when the leaves change color. Arrive early to avoid crowds, especially on weekends and during sakura season.

There’s a small entrance fee, and it’s advisable to allot a few hours to fully explore and appreciate the diverse landscapes. Remember, picnics are allowed here!

4. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

📍 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto is renowned as one of the most iconic and beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty is characterized by the thousands of vermilion torii gates that wind through the forest, creating a mesmerizing path up the sacred Mount Inari.

This vivid contrast against the greenery and the spiritual ambiance of the shrine grounds offer a truly unique visual and cultural experience.

It’s advisable to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. The shrine is open 24/7, and there is no admission fee.

If you’re up for a hike, the walk to the summit of Mount Inari takes about 2-3 hours, and the views along the way and from the top are breathtaking.

Don’t forget to explore the smaller paths off the main trail, as they often lead to quieter, equally enchanting areas of the shrine complex.

5. Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

📍 Ono District, Gifu, Japan

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are truly some of the most picturesque and beautiful places to visit in Japan. Their beauty lies in the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are over 250 years old.

These houses, with their steep thatched roofs designed to withstand heavy snow, create a fairy-tale landscape, especially in winter when the area is blanketed in snow.

For visitors, it’s recommended to visit during different seasons to appreciate the changing scenery – lush green in summer, vibrant colors in autumn, and a snowy wonderland in winter.

An observation deck in Shirakawa-go offers a panoramic view of the village. While public transport is available, renting a car can provide more flexibility to explore the region thoroughly.

Remember to respect the privacy of locals, as these are still living villages. Walking tours and staying overnight in one of the farmhouses can offer an immersive experience into the traditional lifestyle of rural Japan.

6. Nara Park: one of the most beautiful places to visit Japan to see deers!

📍 Nara, Japan

Nara Park, renowned for its historical significance and natural beauty, is a must-see among the beautiful places to visit in Japan. The park’s beauty is accentuated by its free-roaming deer, considered in Shinto as messengers of the gods.

These gentle creatures add a unique charm to the park’s picturesque landscape, which includes traditional gardens, serene ponds, and ancient temples like Todai-ji and Kasuga-taisha.

It’s best to allocate a full day to explore the park and its surrounding attractions. Early mornings or late afternoons are ideal for avoiding crowds and experiencing the park’s tranquil atmosphere.

Remember to purchase “shika senbei” (deer crackers) to feed the deer, but do so cautiously and respectfully.

Spring, with cherry blossoms in bloom, and autumn, with its vibrant foliage, are particularly stunning times to visit. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as the park and its attractions cover a large area.

7. The Island of Miyajima

📍 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan

The Island of Miyajima, often referred to as one of the most scenic and beautiful places to visit in Japan, captivates visitors with its natural and spiritual beauty.

The island is famed for its floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, a sight that becomes particularly enchanting during high tide. The lush forests, friendly deer roaming freely, and traditional buildings add to Miyajima’s picturesque charm.

It’s advisable to check the tide times to witness the torii gate both at high tide (when it appears to float) and at low tide (when you can walk up to it). Consider staying overnight on the island to experience its tranquil atmosphere after day-trippers leave.

Exploring Mount Misen, either by hiking or cable car, offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. Autumn is especially beautiful with the changing leaves, but every season offers a unique experience.

8. Hokkaido’s Shirogane Blue Pond (Aoiike)

📍 Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235, Japan

Hokkaido’s Blue Pond, a remarkable and surreal destination, stands out as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its ethereal beauty comes from the unique, bright blue color of the water, caused by natural minerals.

The contrast of the vivid blue against the backdrop of the surrounding forest and the mysterious, partially submerged trees creates a stunning, almost otherworldly scene.

For those planning to visit, the best time is from late spring to early autumn, as the pond can freeze or be covered in snow in winter. The color of the water can vary depending on the weather and season, offering different perspectives each time.

The Blue Pond is accessible by car or bus from Biei Station. While there’s no entrance fee, visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon can help avoid crowds.

9. Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa

📍 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0936, Japan

Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is celebrated as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan, renowned for its classic Japanese garden design.

This beauty is characterized by its perfect balance and harmony of the six attributes of an ideal landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, water courses, and panoramas.

The garden showcases a variety of trees, ponds, waterfalls, and flowers, changing spectacularly with the seasons, from cherry blossoms in spring to snow-draped landscapes in winter.

To visit Kenrokuen, it’s best to go early in the morning to experience its tranquility without the crowds. Each season offers a unique charm, with spring and autumn being particularly picturesque.

The garden is located near Kanazawa Castle, making it convenient to combine both in one trip. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended, as the garden spans a large area with many paths to explore.

10. Himeji Castle

📍 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan

Himeji Castle, with its brilliant white exterior and elegant architecture, stands as a stunning example of classic Japanese castle design, making it a highlight among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Known as “White Heron Castle,” its beauty lies in its imposing size, intricate wooden construction, and the pristine condition of the complex. The cherry blossoms in spring further enhance its picturesque allure.

The interior, showcasing historical artifacts and offering panoramic views from the top, is a must-see. Comfortable shoes are advised for the climb.

11. Naoshima Island

📍 Naoshima, Kagawa District, Kagawa 761-3110, Japan

Naoshima Island, often referred to as an “art island,” is a unique and beautiful place to visit in Japan, blending contemporary art and architecture with the serene natural beauty of the Seto Inland Sea.

Its beauty is characterized by art installations, sculptures, and museums, like the famous pumpkin sculptures by Yayoi Kusama, seamlessly integrated into the island’s landscapes and traditional villages.

Plan to stay overnight to fully experience the island’s artistic and natural ambiance. Renting a bicycle is an excellent way to explore the island’s art sites and beaches. Be sure to check museum opening times, as they can vary seasonally.

12. The Japanese Alps: not-so-popular beautiful places to visit in Japan

beautiful places to visit in japan
Photo: Domenico Convertini

The Japanese Alps, encompassing the Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi mountains, are a breathtakingly beautiful destination and a must-visit in Japan. Their beauty lies in the dramatic mountain landscapes, pristine forests, and traditional villages nestled in valleys.

In winter, the snow-covered peaks offer superb skiing opportunities, while in spring and summer, the area is perfect for hiking and enjoying the lush greenery.

Choose your season based on activities: skiing in winter, or hiking and sightseeing in warmer months. Takayama, Kamikochi, and Matsumoto are great bases for exploring the region.

Utilize the extensive trail network for hiking, but always check weather conditions and trail difficulty beforehand.

13. Okinawa’s Tropical Beaches

📍 Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa’s tropical beaches are among the most beautiful places to visit in Japan, offering a stark contrast to the country’s more traditional and urban destinations.

Their beauty lies in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, soft white sands, and lush greenery, creating a paradise-like atmosphere. The coral reefs surrounding the islands are a haven for marine life, making them ideal for snorkeling and diving.

When visiting, consider staying in a beach resort for direct access to these pristine beaches. The best time to visit is from April to October for ideal beach weather. Don’t forget to try local Okinawan cuisine for a complete island experience.

14. Nikko National Park

📍 Yumoto, Nikko, Tochigi 321-1662, Japan

Nikko National Park, known for its natural beauty and historical significance, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty stems from stunning waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and richly decorated shrines and temples, like the famous Toshogu Shrine.

The park’s lush forests and mountainous landscapes offer breathtaking views, especially during autumn when the foliage turns vibrant hues.

For visiting, allocate a full day or more to explore both the natural and cultural sites. Early mornings are less crowded.

Autumn is a particularly stunning time, but each season offers its unique charm. Comfortable walking shoes and a camera are essential for capturing the picturesque scenery.

15. Tottori Sand Dunes

📍 2164-971 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105, Japan

The Tottori Sand Dunes are a unique and striking natural wonder among beautiful places to visit in Japan. Their beauty is in their vast, wind-sculpted sandscapes that contrast sharply with the typical green landscapes of Japan.

Early morning or late afternoon are ideal for softer light and cooler temperatures. Camel rides or sandboarding offer a fun experience. Visit the Sand Museum nearby to see impressive sand sculptures.

16. Matsumoto Castle

📍 4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0873, Japan

Matsumoto Castle, with its distinctive black exterior and imposing structure, stands out as one of Japan’s most beautiful places to visit. Its beauty is enhanced by the contrast of the dark castle against the backdrop of the Japanese Alps.

Explore the interior to see historical artifacts and enjoy the views from the top. The castle is particularly picturesque during cherry blossom season and is illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere.

17. Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes

The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes are a network of ancient paths traversing the Kii Mountains, offering a spiritually and visually enriching journey among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The routes are known for their lush forests, traditional shrines, and rural landscapes. For visitors, choosing a specific route based on fitness and interest is advised, as the trails vary in difficulty.

Spring and autumn are ideal for milder weather and scenic beauty. Staying in traditional ryokans along the way enhances the cultural experience.

18. Sand bar of Amanohashidate

📍 Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan

Amanohashidate, often referred to as the “Bridge to Heaven,” is a breathtakingly scenic sandbar and a highlight among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty lies in the pine-covered sandbar that stretches across Miyazu Bay, creating a natural bridge-like formation.

For the best views, head to the viewpoints on either side of the bay, accessible by cable car or chairlift. Renting a bicycle to ride along the sandbar offers a unique perspective of this natural wonder.

Visiting in the morning helps avoid crowds and captures the sandbar in soft light.

19. Yakushima Island

📍 Yakushima Island, Japan

Yakushima Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its ancient cedar forests, making it an extraordinary addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The island’s enchantment comes from its lush, green landscapes, waterfalls, and wildlife, including the famous thousand-year-old Jomon Sugi tree. Hiking is the best way to explore the island, with trails for all levels.

The best time to visit is from April to June for milder weather and fewer rain showers. Prepare for changeable weather and rugged terrain, and consider hiring a guide for the more challenging trails.

20. Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto

📍 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Kinkaku-ji, or The Golden Pavilion, in Kyoto, is a stunning architectural masterpiece and a quintessential example of beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its beauty is exemplified by the gold-leaf-covered Zen temple that reflects elegantly on the mirror pond surrounding it.

The surrounding strolling garden enhances its picturesque setting. Visiting early in the morning helps avoid crowds, and each season offers a different view – cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, colorful leaves in autumn, and a serene snowscape in winter.

21. Izu Peninsula

📍 1638 Suzaki, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0014, Japan

The Izu Peninsula, with its rugged coastline, hot springs, and scenic beaches, is a diverse and beautiful place to visit in Japan. Its beauty lies in its natural diversity from sandy beaches to mountainous landscapes and waterfalls.

It’s a popular spot for onsen (hot springs), diving, and enjoying fresh seafood. Visit the Jogasaki Coast for breathtaking views and hiking trails.

The best way to explore the peninsula is by renting a car, allowing you to visit various coastal towns and attractions at your leisure.

22. Oirase Gorge in Aomori

📍 60 Okuse, Towada, Aomori 034-0301, Japan

The Oirase Stream in Aomori, flowing through a lush, forested gorge, is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places to visit in Japan. The stream is famed for its clear waters, cascading waterfalls, and the vibrant greenery that lines its banks.

The best way to experience its beauty is by walking along the well-maintained hiking trail that runs alongside it.

Autumn is particularly spectacular with the changing colors of the leaves. It’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a camera to capture the enchanting scenery.

23. Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu

📍 1-chome-20-16 Ritsurincho, Takamatsu, Kagawa 760-0073, Japan

Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu is a splendid example of traditional Japanese landscape gardening and ranks among the beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its charm lies in its meticulously maintained ponds, bridges, tea houses, and strolling paths set against the backdrop of Mt. Shiun.

The garden is enchanting throughout the year, with cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, vibrant colors in autumn, and tranquil snow scenes in winter.

Early morning is the best time to visit for a peaceful experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a cup of matcha in one of the tea houses!

24. Historic Town of Takayama

📍 Takayama, Japan

The Historic Town of Takayama, with its well-preserved Edo period streets, offers a journey back in time and is a delightful destination among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The town’s beauty is found in its traditional wooden merchants’ houses, local craft shops, and sake breweries. Strolling through the old town, particularly Sanmachi Suji, is like stepping into a bygone era.

Plan to visit during the Takayama Festival in spring or autumn to witness one of Japan’s most beautiful festivals. Additionally, the nearby Hida Folk Village provides insight into the region’s traditional architecture and rural life.

25. Sumida River in Tokyo

📍 Tokyo, Japan

The Sumida River, flowing through Tokyo, offers a peaceful escape from the city’s bustling streets and is a picturesque addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The river’s beauty is best enjoyed through a leisurely boat cruise, offering views of iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Skytree and the Asakusa district. The riverside parks, particularly during cherry blossom season, provide stunning scenery.

Evening cruises are popular for experiencing the illuminated cityscape. Additionally, the annual Sumida River Fireworks Festival is a spectacular event not to be missed.

26. Ishigaki Island in Okinawa

📍 Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan

Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, known for its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs, is a tropical paradise among the beautiful places to visit in Japan. The island’s beauty lies in its clear blue waters, white sandy beaches, and lush landscapes.

Popular activities include snorkeling, diving, and exploring the island’s interior. Visit Kabira Bay for its stunning views, and don’t miss trying the local Ishigaki beef.

The island serves as a gateway to the nearby Yaeyama Islands, perfect for island hopping.

27. The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto (Tetsugaku No Michi)

📍 Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan

The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto, a stone path along a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees, is a tranquil and picturesque spot among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The path’s beauty peaks during cherry blossom season when the trees form a breathtaking canopy. The walk is also enjoyable in other seasons, with lush greenery in summer and colorful leaves in autumn.

The path runs between Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) and Nanzen-ji Temple, allowing visitors to combine a serene walk with visits to these historic sites.

28. Takeda Castle Ruins in Hyogo

📍 Japan, 〒669-5252 Hyogo, Asago

beautiful places to visit in japan
Photo: hermitvoita

The Takeda Castle Ruins in Hyogo, often referred to as “Japan’s Machu Picchu,” are a captivating sight and a unique addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The ruins’ beauty is most striking at sunrise, especially in autumn when a sea of clouds often envelops the site, creating a mystical, floating appearance. For the best views, hike up early in the morning.

The site is particularly popular during the cloud season from September to November, so arriving early to beat the crowds is advisable.

29. Hell Valley (Jigokudani) in Hokkaido

📍 Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan

beautiful places to visit in japan
Photo: Kentaro Ohno

The Hell Valley (Jigokudani) in Hokkaido, with its steaming sulfuric hot springs and volcanic activity, offers a starkly beautiful landscape. It’s an unusual and strikingly scenic place to visit in Japan.

The wooden pathways allow visitors to safely explore this geothermal area and observe the hot steam vents and sulfurous streams. Winter visits are especially magical when the valley is covered in snow, contrasting with the steamy hot springs.

The nearby Noboribetsu Onsen town provides a perfect retreat for a relaxing hot spring bath.

30. Chureito Pagoda near Mount Fuji

📍 2-chome-4-1 Asama, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0011, Japan

The Chureito Pagoda, set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji, is one of the most iconic and beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The beauty of this five-storied pagoda comes to life during cherry blossom season and autumn, providing a picturesque scene with Mount Fuji in the background.

Arrive early in the morning or late afternoon for the best light and fewer crowds. The climb to the pagoda involves several steps, so comfortable shoes are recommended.

This spot is perfect for capturing one of Japan’s most classic and beloved views of Mount Fuji.

32. Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo

📍 4 Chome-13 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan

The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, formerly the site of the world-famous fish auction, remains a vibrant and bustling place and a colorful addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its beauty lies in the lively atmosphere and the array of fresh seafood.

While the wholesale market has moved to Toyosu, Tsukiji’s outer market still offers a fascinating glimpse into Japan’s culinary culture.

Visiting early in the morning allows you to experience the market at its liveliest. Don’t miss trying fresh sushi and other seafood delicacies from the local vendors.

33. Ashikaga Flower Park

📍 607 Hasamacho, Ashikaga, Tochigi 329-4216, Japan

The Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is a floral paradise, making it a standout among beautiful places to visit in Japan. The park’s beauty is most notable for its large wisteria, including a stunning 150-year-old wisteria tree.

The best time to visit is during the wisteria season in late April to mid-May, when the flowers are in full bloom. The park also features beautiful light-ups in the evenings and is enjoyable year-round with seasonal flowers.

34. Naruto Whirlpools in Tokushima

📍 Naruto, Tokushima 772-0000, Japan

The Naruto Whirlpools in Tokushima, occurring in the Naruto Strait, offer a unique natural spectacle and are a fascinating sight among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The whirlpools, caused by tidal currents between the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea, are among the world’s largest. The best way to view them is from sightseeing boats or the walkways on the Naruto Bridge.

The whirlpools are most visible during spring tides, roughly every two weeks, and it’s advisable to check the tide schedule before visiting.

35. Zao Fox Village in Miyagi

📍 Japan, 〒989-0733 Miyagi, Shiroishi, 福岡八宮川原子11−3

The Zao Fox Village in Miyagi offers a unique and enchanting experience, making it a distinctive addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan. This sanctuary is home to over a hundred free-roaming foxes in various colors and breeds.

The beauty of this place lies not only in the adorable foxes themselves but also in the lush, natural setting that surrounds them. Visitors can observe and even feed the foxes (under supervision).

It’s important to follow the village’s guidelines to respect and protect the animals. Visiting during the cooler months can be particularly rewarding, as the foxes are more active.

36. Snow Corridor (Yuki-no-Otani) on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

📍 Japan, 〒930-1406 Toyama, Nakaniikawa District, Tateyama, Ashikuraji, ブナ坂11

The Snow Corridor (Yuki-no-Otani) on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a spectacular natural phenomenon, creating one of the most breathtaking and beautiful places to visit in Japan.

This towering wall of snow, which can reach heights of up to 20 meters, is formed along a stretch of the route and is accessible to visitors during spring.

The contrast of the massive, white snow walls against the blue sky offers an unforgettable sight. For the best experience, visit from April to June, when the walls are at their highest.

37. Shikisai Hill Flower Fields in Hokkaido

📍 Japan, 〒071-0473 Hokkaido, Kamikawa District, Biei, Shinsei, 第3

The Shikisai-no-Oka Flower Fields in Hokkaido is a vibrant tapestry of color from spring to autumn, making them a mesmerizing destination among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The rolling hills are covered in various flowers, including lavender, tulips, and sunflowers, creating a stunning, picturesque landscape. For the best views, visit between April and October when the flowers are in bloom.

The flower park offers tractor rides, allowing visitors to easily explore the vast area. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the panoramic beauty of these flower fields.

38. Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kotoku-in)

📍 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kotoku-in) is a colossal, bronze Amida Buddha statue, standing as a serene and awe-inspiring highlight among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty and grandeur lie in its size and the peaceful expression, set against a backdrop of lush greenery. Visiting early in the morning allows for a more contemplative experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view the interior of the statue. The area is particularly picturesque during the cherry blossom season in spring and the colorful foliage in autumn.

39. Gion District in Kyoto

📍 Gion, Kyoto, Japan

The Gion District in Kyoto is famous for its traditional wooden machiya houses, teahouses, and exclusive Japanese restaurants. Walking through Gion is like stepping back in time, making it a captivating addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The district is also known for geisha sightings in the evenings. For a respectful visit, consider booking a cultural tour or a geisha performance.

Early evening is the best time to explore Gion’s atmospheric streets. Remember to be respectful of residents and professionals working in the area.

40. Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki

📍 Japan, 〒312-0012 Ibaraki, Hitachinaka, Mawatari, 字大沼605-4

The Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki is a sprawling park known for its seasonal flowers, including the famous nemophila (baby blue eyes) in spring and kochia bushes in autumn.

The park’s undulating landscapes become a sea of blue or red, offering breathtaking views that contribute to its status as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The best times to visit are during the blooming seasons in spring and autumn. Renting a bicycle is a great way to explore the vast park.

Be sure to check the blooming forecasts before your visit to catch the flowers at their peak.

41. Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama

📍 Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama 649-5301, Japan

The Nachi Waterfall, located in the verdant mountains of Wakayama Prefecture, is one of the tallest and most majestic waterfalls in Japan, making it a breathtaking sight among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Its beauty is further enhanced by the presence of the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine nearby, creating a spiritual and natural harmony. The best time to visit is after the rainy season when the waterfall is at its fullest.

There’s a viewing platform close to the base for the most impressive views, and the surrounding area offers several scenic trails for exploration.

42. Coral Reefs of the Kerama Islands in Okinawa

📍 Zamami, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3402, Japan

The Coral Reefs of the Kerama Islands, located a short boat ride from Okinawa Main Island, are a dazzling underwater paradise, showcasing some of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan beneath the waves.

The crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral ecosystems offer outstanding snorkeling and diving experiences, with a chance to see a wide variety of marine life.

The best time to visit is from April to October when the water is warmest. For the best experience, join a guided snorkeling or diving tour to explore the most spectacular reef sites.

43. Shimanami Kaido Cycling Route

beautiful places to visit in japan
Photo: kotaro70s

The Shimanami Kaido Cycling Route stretches across the Seto Inland Sea, connecting the islands of Honshu and Shikoku via a series of bridges.

It’s a unique and scenic journey, ranking it among the most beautiful places to visit in Japan, especially for cycling enthusiasts.

The route offers breathtaking views of the sea, islands, and bridges, with dedicated cycling paths ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride.

Bicycle rental services are available at various points along the route, making it easy to start your journey from either end. Spring and autumn are ideal for comfortable weather and scenic beauty.

44. Towada Lake in Aomori

📍 Aomori, Japan

The Towada Lake, nestled within the Towada-Hachimantai National Park in Aomori, is a caldera lake known for its pristine blue waters and the stunning natural scenery that surrounds it.

It ranks as a serene and breathtaking addition to beautiful places to visit in Japan. The lake’s beauty is particularly captivating during autumn when the surrounding forests turn vibrant shades of red and yellow.

Boat tours offer a peaceful way to enjoy the lake’s vastness and its scenic vistas. Hiking trails around the lake provide opportunities to explore the area’s natural beauty up close.

45. Sagano Scenic Railway in Kyoto

📍 Kyoto, Japan

The Sagano Scenic Railway, also known as the Sagano Romantic Train, winds through the picturesque Hozugawa River valley, offering a unique perspective on Kyoto’s stunning natural landscapes.

This journey is especially popular during cherry blossom season in spring and when the autumn leaves reach their peak color.

The train’s slow pace allows passengers to fully appreciate the beauty of the surrounding countryside, making it a must-visit experience among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

Booking tickets in advance is recommended, especially during peak viewing seasons, to ensure a spot on this popular scenic ride.

46. Fuji Five Lakes

📍 Yamanashi, Japan

The Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) area, at the northern base of Mount Fuji, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and its panoramic views of the iconic mountain, making it an essential destination among beautiful places to visit in Japan.

The lakes – Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko – each offer unique vistas and recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking.

Kawaguchiko is the most accessible and developed, with numerous hot springs and the picturesque Chureito Pagoda nearby. Visiting in the early morning can provide stunning reflections of Mount Fuji in the calm lake waters.

The area is also spectacular in the autumn for foliage and in the spring for cherry blossoms. For photographers and nature lovers alike, the Fuji Five Lakes region offers endless opportunities to capture the beauty of Japan’s most famous mountain.

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  1. Japan definitely has a lot of beautiful places to see and visit. We have been there a few times and saw a few but there is still a lot on our list left which gives us a reason to go back.

    So far, my favorites are Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. We’re hoping to get a chance to visit the Himeji Castle next time.

  2. Wow what an incredible list!! Japan is my ultimate bucket list destination and really hope to take my kids within the next year or two so this post is very helpful!! Would love to see Mount Fuji in real life as well as the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine and take some of the fantastic trains!

    Thanks for sharing
    Laura x

  3. Whoa! I’ve never been to Japan, but this list makes me feel like I am missing out SO much. There’s a ton to do and so much variety. Nature, architecture, animals, culture, history. I also think the work of Yayoi Kusama is so interesting. I’ve seen her stuff at two different art museums in the US, but I’d LOVE to see it in Japan. Thanks for such an inspirational list!

  4. I have lived in Japan for seven years and now spent a couple of months there every year working as a tourguide and journalist. I have been to all of the places you mention in your post and you really managed to pick out the best spots. very useful guide for travellers.
    However I would suggest skipping the Fox Village – the foxes do not look healthy there. I also write guidebooks about Japan – and for that reason went again last year. After the visit I decided to not list them any longer in the books.

  5. I am hoping to visit Japan soon, in the near future. I have a good friend who just left for Japan and is going to spend 3 months there and I can’t wait to hear all her stories. I would love to see and hike Mount Fuji, a Japanese friend told me that it is not hard at all. Kyoto would also be a high destination on my list, not necessarily because of the cherry blossoms but for the entire geisha culture.

  6. Wow! That’s a lot of beautiful places to visit in Japan. I’ve only been to Tokyo and I have to say that Mount Fuji is such a beauty when seen in the early morning. From your list, my future travel would be Shirogone Blue Pond and the town of Takayama.

  7. Proud to say I’ve been to several of the places on this list and they are indeed beautiful (when not crowded with tourists!). I haven’t been to Shirakawa-go yet and I would love to head there in 2024.

  8. We spent a few weeks in Japan and saw a lot. But this list shows us there is so much more to see on a return visit. We missed seeing a bamboo grove. And did not really venture into the smaller villages. It looks like we will need to plan to spend some time in the Japanese Alps! Such amazing variety in the sights around Japan. And your post shows that any time of year would be a good time to enjoy the sights. We will need a long return visit. Or head back more than once!

    1. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove reminds me of the bamboo forests I’ve seen in the Philippines, but it looks like the stalks in Kyoto are even taller and more lush. Also, I love the idea of visiting in autumn to see the bamboo take on golden hues – that would be simply magical!

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