National Parks

Daisetsuzan National Park

The first national parks in Japan were established in 1931 to designate and preserve places of scenic natural beauty for people to enjoy. They included the coastal areas around the Setonaikai and the mountainous areas of Kirishima and Unzen Amakusa. Today, there are 33 national parks scattered across the country from the northern tip of Hokkaido to the southernmost islands of Okinawa.

Japan's national parks cover a wide range of environments including volcanoes, forests, marshes, beaches, coastlines and underwater marine habitats. Visitors to the parks can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving and hot springs. Some parks have also established eco tourism activities such as whale and dolphin watching and guided nature hikes.


Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park (more info)
The northernmost of Japan's National Parks, the Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park is made up of two small islands, Rishiri and Rebun, and part of the coastal area of northern Hokkaido. The park offers hiking, coastal scenery and a wealth of alpine flowers.

Shiretoko National Park (more info)
Shiretoko National Park is one of Japan's most beautiful, unspoiled national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The remote peninsula is home to a high concentration of brown bears which can be viewed from sightseeing boats during the warmer months. In winter it is one of the few places in Japan where you can see drift ice.

Akan National Park (more info)
Akan is a popular national park in eastern Hokkaido consisting of three lakes surrounded by volcanoes. It is known for its natural scenery, such as Lake Mashu, which is often considered Japan's most beautiful lake.

Kushiro Shitsugen National Park (more info)
The Kushiro Shitsugen National Park was created to preserve Japan's largest wetland and marsh habitat. The park is home to the only known population of endangered Japanese Cranes, which have made a dramatic recovery due to the parks conservation efforts. The cranes are a popular attraction and can be seen in winter at feeding sites and observation centers around the park.

Daisetsuzan National Park (more info)
Daisetsuzan is Hokkaido's largest national park. Its volcanic mountains are a paradise of unspoiled wilderness and the earliest places in Japan to see autumn colors and snow each year. The park is one of the few places where you can do weeklong treks completely surrounded by nature.

Shikotsu Toya National Park (more info)
Shikotsu Toya National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, hot springs and some of the country's best ski resorts around its caldera lakes and volcanic mountains. Its close proximity to Sapporo makes it a popular destination for those with limited time in Hokkaido.

Tohoku Region

Aomori, Akita and Iwate Prefectures
Towada Hachimantai National Park (more info)
Located along the volcanic interior mountains of the northern Tohoku Region, the Towada Hachimantai National Park offers visitors some of Japan's best rustic hot springs such as Nyuto Onsen and is also famous for its autumn colors. It is made up of the area around Lake Towada and the Hachimantai mountains.

Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures
Sanriku Recovery National Park (more info)
Stretching along the Pacific Ocean across Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, the Sanriku Coast experienced the worst damage and loss of life in the 2011 tsunami. Some of the most scenic parts of the coast have been designated as Rikuchu Kaigan National Park since 1955. In 2013, the national park was expanded and renamed Sanriku Fukko National Park (Fukko means Recovery) to encourage the recovery of the region.

Fukushima, Yamagata and Niigata Prefectures
Bandai Asahi National Park (more info)
The Bandai Asahi National Park covers four separate volcanic mountain chains in the southern Tohoku Region including Mount Bandai and the sacred Dewa Sanzan mountains. Outdoor activities such as hiking and winter sports can be enjoyed around the area.

Kanto Region

Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures
Nikko National Park (more info)
Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park, Nikko offers visitors a large variety of natural and cultural attractions including the Toshogu Shrine, Kinugawa Onsen, Nasu-Shiobara, and the lakes, mountains and waterfalls of Okunikko. The popular park is an easy side trip from Tokyo.

Gunma, Fukushima, Niigata and Tochigi Prefectures
Oze National Park (more info)
Oze National Park centers around a large marshland at an altitude of 1400 meters in the border area between four different prefectures. It is known for its skunk cabbages which bloom from late spring to early summer and as a place to see early autumn colors.

Tokyo Metropolis
Ogasawara National Park (more info)
The Ogasawara Islands are a remote island chain 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo. They were designated a World Heritage Site due to the unique habitats and endemic plants and animals found only on these islands. Located on a similar latitude as Okinawa, the subtropical islands share a relaxed hospitality and offer activities such as whale and dolphin watching, sea kayaking, snorkeling and diving.

Chubu Region

Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa Prefectures
Fuji Hakone Izu National Park (more info)
Japan's most visited national park, Fuji Hakone Izu consists of several extremely popular outdoor spots within easy reach of Tokyo: Mount Fuji, Hakone, the Izu Peninsula and the Izu Islands. The park offers a wide variety of outdoor attractions including mountain climbing, hot springs and beaches.

Nagano, Gifu, Niigata and Toyama Prefectures
Chubu Sangaku National Park (more info)
The Chubu Sangaku National Park, also known as the Northern Japan Alps, encompasses a set of high mountain ranges known for their beautiful natural scenery and alpine vistas. The park includes popular outdoor getaways such as Kamikochi and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, as well as several famous ski resorts and hot spring towns.

Ishikawa, Gifu, Fukui and Toyama Prefectures
Hakusan National Park (more info)
The centerpiece of Hakusan National Park is Mount Hakusan, the tallest mountain in western Japan and an important spiritual symbol. Although covered in snow for much of the year, the mountain becomes a popular hiking destination in the warmer months.

Kansai Region

Mie Prefecture
Ise Shima National Park (more info)
The Ise Shima National Park encompasses the Shima Peninsula, a coastal resort area in central Japan known for its rugged shore and a history of pearl cultivation. At the western edge of the park lie the Ise Shrines, the most important and sacred Shinto shrines.

Nara, Mie and Wakayama Prefectures
Yoshino Kumano National Park (more info)
The Yoshino Kumano National Park covers the southern coastal areas and interior mountain of the Kii Peninsula. The park includes Mount Yoshino, Japan's most famous cherry blossom spot; and the sacred Kumano Region, both of which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Chugoku Region

Tottori, Hyogo and Kyoto Prefectures
Sanin Kaigan National Park (more info)
The Sanin Kaigan National Park stretches 75 kilometers along the Sea of Japan coast. The park includes attractions such as Kinosaki Onsen, lots of beautiful rocky shoreline, and the Tottori Sand Dunes, the largest in Japan.

Seto Inland Sea
Setonaikai National Park (more info)
The Setonaikai National Park covers a large portion of the Seto Inland Sea, stretching nearly 400 kilometers from the Naruto Whirlpools to Miyajima and beyond. The park includes hundreds of island such as Naoshima, Shodoshima, Inujima, Ogijima and Megijima, as well as other attractions like the Shimanami Kaido.

Shimane, Tottori and Okayama Prefectures
Daisen Oki National Park (more info)
The Daisen Oki National Park combines the Oki Islands and coastal areas around Shimane Prefecture with Mount Daisen in western Tottori. The tallest mountain in the region, Mount Daisen is both an important spiritual icon and a popular hiking destination.


Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefectures
Unzen Amakusa National Park (more info)
Unzen Amakusa National Park in western Kyushu was one of the first national parks to be designated in Japan. It includes Mount Unzen, an active volcano that erupted in the early 1990s with devastating effects, as well as the coastal landscapes and marine zones of the Amakusa Islands.

Oita and Kumamoto Prefectures
Aso Kuju National Park (more info)
Aso Kuju National Park encompasses the dramatic landscape around the active volcanoes of Mount Aso and the Kuju Mountains in central Kyushu. Visitors can hike around and explore the craters or visit some of the best hot spring towns in Japan which are located nearby.

Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures
Kirishima Kinkowan National Park (more info)
Kirishima Kinkowan National Park combines the coastal areas of southern Kagoshima with the volcanoes of Sakurajima and Kirishima. The former is one of Japan's most active volcanoes, while the latter is a great hiking and hot spring destination and plays an important role in Japanese mythology.

Kagoshima Prefecture
Yakushima National Park (more info)
Originally exploited as a lumber source, Yakushima is a heavily forested, subtropical island of the southern coast of Kagoshima Prefecture. The island is home to several endemic species such as Yakushima monkeys and deer, as well as a number of several thousand year old cedar trees. Visitors can hike through the forests and visit the ancient trees, including the 7000 year old Jomonsugi.


Okinawa Prefecture
Kerama National Park (more info)
Kerama National Park consists of the Kerama Islands, a small island group 40 kilometers west of Okinawa Main Island. The islands are very popular for their beautiful beaches and surrounding waters which allow for high-quality sunbathing, snorkeling and diving.

Okinawa Prefecture
Iriomote Ishigaki National Park (more info)
The Iriomote Ishigaki National Park is covers the tropical islands and marine habitats found around the Yaeyama Islands in southwestern Okinawa. This island paradise offers plenty of beaches for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Visitors can also explore the islands' jungle interiors or kayaking on their mangrove lined rivers.

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Page last updated: September 16, 2016