Tag:Nature / Japan Travel Videos

Iya Valley and Wonders, Tokushima

Tokushima Prefecture is one of the four prefectures of Japan's Shikoku Island. Surrounded by mountains, the Iya Valley and Oboke region seems a world away from modern Japanese cities. This remote area has spectacular scenery with steep gorges and is famous for its Kazurabashi Bridges made from vines. Near Okobe Gorge, you can take in the landscape from a boat or from the quiet of an onsen bath. Time seems to have stopped here - Ochiai Village has preserved its traditional old farmhouses. To see more historic Japanese architecture, take a walk through the Udatsu Townscape of Wakimachi in Mima.

Nature History View Scenery Mountains Onsen

Scenery in Miyazaki

Miyazaki Prefecture is part of Kyushu Island in southern Japan. It is known for its stunning scenery, beautiful coastline, and good surfing. Many of Miyazaki’s scenic spots are linked to Japanese history and mythology. The Mimitsu Historical District is lined with historic buildings from when this was a busy port trading with Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. Near the dramatic Takachiho Gorge is Amano Iwato Shrine. According to legend, the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave here. Another place surrounded by legends is Aoshima Island. Visit at low tide to see its unique rock formations called the devil’s washboard.

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Highlands in Nagano

Nagano Prefecture is located in the center of Japan’s main island. It has highlands and mountains with stunning scenery and excellent hiking. Kamikochi is one popular resort in the Northern Japan Alps with beautiful landscape. Take a walk along the river from Taisho Pond to Kappa Bridge or venture further up into the mountains. Away from the big cities, Nagano’s highlands like the Utsukushigahara plateau have stunning night skies. And Achi Village in Southern Nagano is known as the best place in the country for stargazing. For history, visit Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto City, the oldest existing castle in Japan.

Nature Hiking History Views Mountains Stargazing

Journey to Iwate

Iwate is the second-largest prefecture in Japan, located in the Tohoku region in the northeast of the country’s main island. Iwate is known for its stunning landscapes from mountains and valleys to a spectacular coastline. Take a masterclass in Japanese culture and folk tales in Tono Valley, explore the Ryusendo Cave and its underground lakes in Iwaizumi, or visit the seaside. The coast is part of the Sanriku Fukko National Park that stretches out along the Pacific Ocean. In Miyako City, a main fishing port, you can enjoy local seafood and scenic spots like Jodogahama Beach and the Blue Cave.

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Kanagawa day trip, feeling of discovery

Kanagawa Prefecture is situated next to Tokyo. Yokohama, Kamakura, and Hakone in Kanagawa are popular destinations for short trips from Japan’s capital. Kanagawa’s coast along Tokyo Bay has many beautiful spots you can explore. Sarushima Island is one place with excellent views of Tokyo Bay. Kamakura is also located on the coast. The many shrines and temples here let you explore Japan’s history and architecture. More traditional buildings can be seen at the open-air museum Nikon Minka-en. Another destination in Kanagawa is Lake Ashi in Hakone. It has great views of Mount Fuji, that you can enjoy during a cruise.

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Kumamoto, rugby legend's visit

Kumamoto Prefecture is located in southern Japan, in the middle of Kyushu Island. At its center prefecture is Mount Aso, an active volcano. The Aso Unesco Global Geopark has an exceptional landscape with one of the largest calderas in the world. Explore the area cycling or go hiking on the peaks and plains here. Kumamoto also has a beautiful coast and onsen hot springs. Kumamoto City is the seat of the prefectual government. Its symbol is Kumamoto Castle, which sustained significant damage in the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes and is being restored. Another historic site in the city is the landscape garden Suizenji Park.

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Oita, rugby legend's visit

Oita Prefecture is part of Kyushu Island in southern Japan. Onsen hot springs are found throughout Oita and the seaside city of Beppu on the Seto Inland Sea has the highest amount of onsen water in Japan. The Hells of Beppu are scalding hot onsen with different qualities and colors, a fascinating display of the force nature. Yufuin, a little inland from Beppu, is another popular onsen resort. Down the coast in Usuki, the Usuki Stone Buddhas carved into the rocks are designated National Treasures. Explore Oita’s towns, unwind in its many onsen baths and enjoy the tasty local cuisine.

Onsen Hot spring Nature Relax History

Kobe, rugby legend's visit

Kobe is a major port city in western Japan and the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the main cities in the Kansai region next to Osaka and Kyoto. The port opened up to foreign traders in 1868 whose influence can still be seen in old buildings. Kobe is famous for its excellent beef and sake, products of its beautiful natural surroundings dominated by the Rokko mountain range. Go up Mount Rokko for a great view of Kobe and Osaka Bay. Fun districts to explore are Nankinmachi Chinatown and Kobe Harborland, which is all about shopping and entertainment.

Fun Nature View Eat Sake Wagyu beef

Meet My Kagawa

Kagawa is one of the four prefectures that make up Shikoku Island. It is famous for its udon noodles and often called Udon Prefecture. Major attractions besides the tasty local food are historic shrines, temples, and scenic spots. Kagawa faces the Seto Inland Sea and has many beautiful places on the coast such as Chichibugahama Beach and Shodoshima Island’s Angel Road sandbank. The “Henro” pilgrimage route to 88 temples in Shikoku includes 23 temples in Kagawa, among them Zentsuji Temple. Other famous destinations are Kotohira-gu Shrine (Konpira-san) and Ritsurin Garden, one of the most important landscape gardens in the country.

History Shrine Temple Garden Nature

Tokyo westside, Yamanashi and Kanagawa

Tokyo’s west side is green and scenic and has many easily accessible day trip destinations. Explore Lake Sagami, take a boat out on the lake and visit the “Art Town” Fujino, famous for its huge outdoor Love Letter installation. For a panoramic view of the area and Mt. Fuji, go to the top of Mt. Iwadono in Otsuki. The unusually shaped Saruhashi Bridge here is a nationally designated place of scenic beauty. In Tsuru, water from Mt. Fuji creates the Taro Jiro Waterfall. And Kikuchi Wasabi Farm uses the fresh water to grow wasabi, an essential ingredient for making sushi.

Nature Hiking View Art Architecture Wasabi

Travel to Mt. Fuji, Yamanashi

Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and has long been worshipped as a sacred place. Pilgrimages to the top traditionally started at Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine near Lake Kawaguchiko in the Fuji Five Lakes region (Fujigoko). You can find some of the best views of Mt. Fuji here within easy access from Tokyo. Great places to take pictures include the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway and Arakurayama Sengen Park Chureito Pagoda. Another fun highlight in the area is Fuji-Q Highland, one of Japan’s best amusement parks with a huge haunted house and several record-breaking roller coasters and rides.

World heritage Nature View Shrine Play Lake Mountain

Hot spring town, Kusatsu Onsen, Gunma

Kusatsu is one of the most famous onsen (hot spring) resorts in Japan. The hot water field Yubatake at its center is the source of Kusatsu’s waters, flowing with the largest water volume of all hot springs in the country. An onsen visit is a typically Japanese way to relax and refresh with leisurely baths and local cuisine. Netsunoyu demonstrates the traditional Yumomi method of cooling down the water and Otakinoyu offers Awaseyu bathing in pools of different temperatures. Try it for yourself at one of Kusatsu’s public baths, a ryokan, or the big outdoor Rotenburo bath in Sainokawara Park.

Onsen Hot spring Spa Relax Nature

Nikko National Park, Tochigi

Nikko National Park has gorgeous nature with waterfalls, lakes, and forests. Among its famous scenery are Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The park includes the UNESCO World Heritage “Shrines and Temples of Nikko”. One iconic spot is the red lacquered Shinkyo Bridge. Nikko is a popular trip from Tokyo and great as a two-day excursion. Stay overnight at Kinugawa Onsen and relax with onsen baths and local cuisine. In nearby Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura you can experience the Edo Period (1603-1868), walk the recreated Edo-period streets and dress up like a Samurai.

Nature Hiking National park World heritage History Play Onsen

Tokyo westside

For a day trip away from the busy districts of Tokyo, take a train to the green western side of the city. Mt. Takao is a popular destination for hiking. Different trails lead to the summit - trail #1 goes past Mt. Takao Monkey Park and Takao-san Yakuo-in Temple. From the summit of Mt. Takao you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. After a long walk, relax with a leisurely onsen bath. Akigawa Keikoku Seoto-no-Yu is an onsen spa located near Ishibune-bashi Bridge, a spot known for its gorgeous view across Akigawa River in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.

Nature Hiking National park View Temple Monkeys Onsen

Narita Airport transit & stay programs, Chiba

Within easy access from Narita International Airport are several interesting destinations for a short side trip. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is one of Japan’s largest temples. Omotesando Street leading up to it has many traditional shops and restaurants. Stroll the historical streets of Sawara and enjoy the old Japan atmosphere of this merchant city. In the past goods where transported to Edo (Tokyo) by boat through its canals. Visit Tako Town and walk or cycle through its surrounding rice fields. Nichihon-ji Temple here is famous for the many hydrangea flowers on its grounds. Visit Boso no Mura museum in Sakae where you can walk through a town from the Edo Period dressed in kimono or as a samurai or ninja.

Temple History Shopping Walking Cycling Nature

Exploring Nikko, Tochigi

Nikko offers gorgeous nature and architecture. Located in Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko is a popular destination for a trip from Tokyo. The “Shrines and Temples of Nikko” are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for over 200 years is enshrined at Toshogu Shrine, known for its intricately decorated buildings set among tall trees. Another famous spot is the red lacquered Shinkyo Bridge that belongs to Futarasan Shrine. Nikko National Park has good hiking and photogenic landscape. From the shores of Lake Chuzenji you can walk through Senjogahara Marsh to Yudaki Falls and Yumoto Onsen.

World heritage Architecture Shrine Nature Hiking National park

Love Fukushima

Aizu is the westernmost region of Fukushima Prefecture. In the past, feudal lords ruled the area with their samurai warriors from Tsuruga Castle in Aizu Wakamatsu. The museum inside the reconstructed castle explains Aizu’s history. In Ouchi-juku you can feel like a traveller in old Japan. This post town was a stop on the route to Edo (Tokyo). In Kitakata, try local sake and the city’s famous ramen noodles. Lake Inawashiro near Aizu Wakamatsu is one of the largest lakes in Japan. It belongs to the Bandai Asahi National Park where you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and watersports.

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Things to do in Hakone, Kanagawa

Hakone is a beautiful nature spot, close enough to the big cities for a day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama. The area is known for its views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, and onsen hot springs. The Torii gate built in the water of the lake belongs to Hakone Shrine hidden in the forest. Hakone’s mountain scenery also serves as background for the art exhibited at the Hakone Open-Air Museum. And in Owakudani Valley volcanic activity brings hot springs, bubbling mud, and steam to the surface. Getting around is part of the fun. Catch different views from Hakone Ropeway or the boats crossing Lake Ashi.

Nature Shrine Lake Museum Art Mt. fuji View

Seki, home of master sword makers

Seki City is located in Gifu Prefecture, in the center of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Seki is known for its master sword makers. Skilled craftsmen have been creating Japanese swords, knives, and tools of the highest quality here for over 800 years. At Hamonoya Sanshu / Seki Cutlery Museum you can learn about the process of forging blades and buy locally produced knives. To explore Seki’s beautiful natural surroundings, take a walk in the mountains outside Seki up to Nichiryubuji Temple. Or visit the Kabusugi Giant Cedar Forest with old trees that look like the enchanted world of Japanese anime.

Nature History Craftsmanship Japanese swords Japanese knives