Meet nature and wildlife in Japan’s national parks

TOKYO, December 13, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Many countries have designated areas of natural beauty as national parks, with the aim of preserving outstanding natural landscapes and protecting local ecosystems. Japan designated its own first national parks – Setonaikai, Unzen and Kirishima – in 1934, and the country now has 34.

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Nachi Falls in Yoshino-Kumano National Park, Wakayama Prefecture, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site ©JNTO

Japan’s national parks include a fair amount of private land, including residential areas, farms, and forested areas, giving visitors a glimpse into local cultures and long-held traditions. These include growing rice, brewing sake, and bathing in hot springs, all of which have inseparable ties to the natural world. Parks help to preserve these links and thus testify to the enduring relationship between man and nature.

National parks in Japan are administered in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. The objective is to protect the surrounding natural environment while respecting local lifestyles; this is what makes the country’s management of its national parks unique.

Some of Japan’s national parks are conveniently located near major international airports. After enjoying the attractions of its main cities, foreign visitors can easily go to one of the parks and immerse themselves in nature.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

It is the most visited national park in Japan, given its proximity to the Tokyo metropolitan area. It features volcanic landscapes and hot springs, as well as rugged coastlines and numerous islands, with Mount Fuji rising majestically at its northern end. An iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visitors can hike to its peak during the summer. Other attractions include camping near nearby Lake Ashinoko and snorkeling or diving off the Izu Islands. If they are lucky, visitors may find themselves swimming with wild dolphins!

Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park

This park straddles Gunma, Nagano, and Niigata prefectures in central Honshu. It includes highlands and mountains, including famous peaks such as Mount Tanigawa, Mount Asama and Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, which attract mountain climbers, and popular ski resorts such as Shiga Highland and Naeba. Active and dormant volcanoes make the area an attractive destination for hot spring enthusiasts, and it’s home to amazing flora and fauna. At Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, visitors will often have the chance to observe Japanese macaques bathing in the hot springs.

Yoshino Kumano National Park

This national park includes a number of sacred sites and pilgrimage routes scattered along the Kii mountain range, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. They include three sacred sites: Yoshino & Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan , as well as various scenic spots. paths collectively known as Kumano Kodo. Nachi Falls is one of Japan’s best-known waterfalls and, with a drop of 133 meters, is the highest in the country. Yoshino-Kumano National Park features a variety of mountain, river and beach landscapes and encompasses the Omine mountain range. Every spring, Mount Yoshino fascinates visitors with a panorama of cherry blossoms covering its slopes. To the south, along the coast of the Kii Peninsula, warm ocean currents have produced beautiful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. Snorkeling and diving are popular summer activities.

Japan’s national parks stretch from subarctic Hokkaido in the north to subtropical Okinawa in the south, welcoming visitors year-round with alluring scenery. Discover more of their diverse beauty and get inspired for your future travel plans on the official National Parks Japan Instagram account.

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Mayuko Harada
Weber Shandwick JNTO Team

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