Meet nature and wildlife in Japan’s national parks

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

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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 incorporate a fair amount of private land, including residential areas, farms, and forest areas, offering visitors a glimpse into local cultures and long-standing traditions. These include growing rice, brewing sake, and bathing in hot springs, all of which have inseparable connections to the natural world. Parks help to preserve these links and therefore bear witness to the lasting relationship between humans 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 big 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 towering majestically at its northern end. An iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can hike to its summit during the summer. Other attractions include camping nearby Lake Ashinoko, and snorkeling or diving off the Izu Islands. If lucky, visitors may find themselves swimming with wild dolphins!

Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park

This park straddles the prefectures of Gunma, Nagano and Niigata in central Honshu. It incorporates highlands and mountains, including famous peaks such as Mount Tanigawa, Mount Asama and Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, which attracts climbers, and popular ski resorts such as Shiga’s Haute-Terre and Naeba. Both active and dormant volcanoes make the area an attractive destination for hot spring enthusiasts, and it is home to an incredible variety of animals and plants. AT Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, visitors will often have the chance to observe Japanese macaque monkeys soaking 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, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. They include three sacred sites: Yoshino & Omine, Kumano Sanzan, and Koyasan, as well as various scenic trails known collectively as the Kumano Kodo. Nachi Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Japan 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. Each 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. Snorkelling and diving are popular summer activities.

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

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Mayuko Harada
Team Weber Shandwick JNTO
[email protected]

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