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 over 30 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.