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7 of Japan's Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- In total, Japan is home to 34 national parks, which can be found across the archipelago from Hokkaido to Okinawa. But only a handful have been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites for their natural beauty and biodiversity. In this article, we’ll introduce you to seven of them, including what you can expect to see, how to get there and where to base yourself while visiting the national park. Shiretoko National Park Shiretoko National Park Encompassing most of the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of Hokkaidō, Shiretoko National Park is one of the most remote regions of Japan. It features unspoiled landscapes, a variety of wildlife (including a large population of brown bears) and is one of the southernmost places in the Northern Hemisphere to see drift ice. Hiking trails wind through its temperate and subalpine forests, which are dominated by Erman’s birch, Sakhalin fir, and Mongolian oak, as well as to the Kamuiwakka Hot Falls from which warm spring water cascades. Due to its remote location, Shiretoko National Park is difficult to access independently, so it’s recommended that you visit with a tour or hire a rental car. The closest railway stations are JR Shari Station and JR Shiretoko Shari Station, with buses connecting from both stations to the national park. Shiretoko National Park [Access] From Memanbetsu Airport in Hokkaido, take the Shiretoko Airport Liner bus for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Hokkaido Kushiro Airport to JR Kushiro Station, then change to JR Kushiro Main Line to JR Shiretoko Shari Station (about two hours), followed by the Shiretoko Line bus (one hour). Nikko National Park Nikko National Park Much easier to access is Nikko National Park, which encompasses mountains, lakes, waterfalls, wetlands, and marshes in the Kantō region. It sprawls across four prefectures - Tochigi, Gunma, Fukushima, and Niigata - and was designated as an imperial park in 1911. Aside from its spectacular scenery which can be explored on a network of hiking trails, Nikko is also famed for its historic Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. That include the Nikkō Tōshō-gū which most of the shrine complex seen today was renewed in the 17th century and Rinnō-ji that was said to be built in the 8th century. Autumn foliage in Nikko National Park are particularly impressive, so does the 97-meter-high Kegon Falls and the twin cascades of Ryuzu Falls. Also, not to miss in Nikko are the sparkling waters of Lake Chūzenji, which is backed by the 2,486-meter peak of Mount Nantai. Nikko National Park [Access] If you have a JR pass, take the Shinkansen(bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station, then change to JR Nikko Line which takes about 2 hours in total. Alternatively, you can ride the Tobu Railway's Limited Express from Asakusa Station and change at Shimo-Imaichi Station before continuing on the journey to Nikko Station (total ride is about two hours). Ogasawara National Park Ogasawara National Park While the Ogasawara Islands, a chain of volcanic islands are technically part of Tokyo, they lie around 1,000 kilometers south of the city in the Pacific Ocean. Only the two largest islands, Chichijima (Father island) and Hahajima (Mother Island) are inhabited. Following U.S. occupation during World War II, the archipelago was returned to Japan in 1968 and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011. Ogasawara National Park’s subtropical islands are home to several endemic species, including the critically endangered Bonin flying fox and the Ogasawara snake-eyed skink. The surrounding waters provide habitat for humpback whales and dolphins, as well as green sea turtles and a variety of tropical fishes. Highlights of visiting the islands include snorkeling on the coral reefs, seeing sea turtles laying their eggs on the sandy beaches (during the breeding season only) and soaking up the views of Futami Port from the top of Mount Asahi. Ogasawara National Park With no airports on the two largest islands, Chichijima and Hahajima, transportation to the those islands are only possible by ship. About once a week, the Ogasawara Maru ocean liner departs from Tokyo Takeshiba Pier and stays in Chichijima for three nights. It departs from Tokyo Takeshiba Pier at 11am arriving at Chichijima the next day at 11am. And makes the return journey departing the island at 3pm, arriving at Tokyo Takeshiba Pier around 24 hours later. If you’re planning to make the trip, the total journey takes five nights and six days. The timetable may change so its best to check its official webpage from here. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park One of the most popular national parks in Japan for both locals and visiting tourists is undoubtedly Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It centers around the iconic peak of Mount Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes, as well as comprising Hakone, the Izu Peninsula, and the Izu Shichito Islands. Rather than being a single area, the park is a collection of dispersed tourist sites that encompass a variety of natural features - hot springs, coastlines, mountains, lakes, and more than 1,000 volcanic islands. Highlights of the national park include hiking to the top of Mount Fuji to see the sunrise across Japan and photographing the cherry blossoms along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi. Impressive views of Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from the hiking trails of the Owakudani Valley while there are magnificent panoramas of the Izu Shichito Islands from the rugged Cape Irozaki. Several picturesque waterfalls also dot the national park, including Kawazunanadaru Falls and Shiraito-no-taki Falls. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park [Access] About two hours onboard the JR or Fujikyu train from Tokyo to the Mt. Fuji area; about two hours onboard the Odakyu Limited Express train to the Hakone area; about three hours onboard the JR Limited Express Odoriko to Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula. Yoshino-Kumano National Park Yoshino-Kumano National Park Stretching from north to south across the Kii Peninsula, Yoshino-Kumano National Park is gradually increasing in popularity with tourists due to its Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. The park encompasses Nara, Wakayama and Mie prefectures and includes the summit of Mount Yoshino, which is famed for its thousands of sakura trees that ignite in pink and white during the cherry blossom season. Highlights of Yoshino-Kumano National Park include the UNESCO-listed Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, which is one of the three Kumano shrines accessed on the Kumano Kodo. Rather than being a single trail, the Kumano Kodo is a network of pilgrimage trails that have been accessed for more than 1,000 years by devotees as a religious purification rite.Aside from its picturesque natural landscapes and pilgrimage route, the Kii Peninsula’s surrounding coastline is fast becoming a leading dive destination in Japan, with a rich diversity of corals and tropical fish flourishing under the influence of the Kuroshio Current. Yoshino-Kumano National Park [Access] Take the Kintetsu Limited Express from Kyoto or Osaka for about 90 minutes. There are various ways to reach the trails of the Kumano Kodo, with Kumanoshi Ekimae accessible in around 3 hours 30 minutes by express bus from Nagoya. Setonaikai National Park Setonaikai National Park Setonaikai National Park is the biggest national park in Japan, encompassing parts of the mainland and the Seto Inland Sea between the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. It’s home to one of the country’s most famous cycling routes - the Shimanami Kaido highway - which connects the park’s various islands across a network of bridges. Beginning in Onomichi City and passing through several charming towns, it extends over 60 kilometers and offers cyclers sweeping views across the Seto Inland Sea. Setonaikai National Park Highlights of the Setonaikai National Park include hiking to the ancient worship center of Mount Misen and taking in the views of the Bisan-Seto Strait from the Goshikidai Plateau. Coincide your visit with low tide to walk between the Karanijima Islands and photograph the famed “floating” torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, one of Hayashi Gahō's “Three Views of Japan”. You can experience the Naruto Whirlpools (which are Japan’s fastest) by boat or from the Naruto Bridge, with pleasure cruises also exploring the natural scenery of the Kanmon Straits between Kyushu and Honshu. Yakushima National Park Yakushima National Park Encompassing parts of the Ōsumi Islands, Kuchinoerabu-jima and Tanegashima, Yakushima National Park is a spectacular protected area in Kyushu’s Kagoshima Prefecture. It’s famed for the Yakusugi, a Japanese cedar that’s more than 1,000 years old, as well as the Jomonsugi, the oldest and largest among the old-growth cryptomeria trees in Yakushima. Daiousugi cedar and Mount Miyanoura (1,936m), which is the highest mountain in central Kyushu has been designated as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains, is also something to take a note of. When it comes to wildlife, Yakushima National Park is home to the endangered Ryukyu flying fox and its own subspecies of Japanese macaque, while loggerhead sea turtles visit seasonally to lay their eggs on the beaches.The best way to explore Yakushima National Park is by foot with one of the local tour operators. Single-day and multi-day trips are available taking you to the highlights of the national park, without having to worry about public transport logistics. Yakushima National Park [Access] About 40 minutes by plane from Kagoshima Airport or about two hours by high-speed ship from Kagoshima Honko Port. There are direct flights to Kagoshima Airport from Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya and Tokyo. Read more: Japan’s Most Beautiful National Parks ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 6. April. 2020
Japan’s Most Beautiful National Parks
- For such a small archipelago, Japan has unparalleled natural beauty, ranging from ocean views to snowy mountain peaks. The national park service started in 1931 to preserve the country’s natural wonders for the public. Since then, 33 national parks have been established, protecting vast areas of land covering marshland, volcanoes, jungles, and more. Bandai Asahi National Park Bandai Asahi National Park Covering three prefectures, Fukushima, Yamagata, and Niigata, Bandai Asahi is the third largest national park in the country. There is plenty to do in the park, with over 1,800 square kilometers of land covering flower fields, mountain ranges, and freshwater lakes. The park is best known for its mountain ranges, including Mount O-Asahi, one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains. Mountain worship is common throughout the park and both pilgrims and climbers can be found sleeping on the trails weaving up the mountain ranges. There are also shorter trails surrounding the mountains, which are great for enjoying the many lakes and wildlife Bandai Asahi has to offer. The park is beautiful year round but is especially pristine in winter. The snow contrasts with the sapphire lakes and colossal mountain ranges, creating a winter wonderland straight out of a storybook. Just be sure to wear plenty of layers. Bandai Asahi National Park Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park The southernmost national park is Iriomote Ishigaki, located in Okinawa. The park covers five islands: Iriomote, Kohama, Kuro, Taketomi, and Ishigaki. Visitors can take part in marine activities and appreciate the protected wildlife found only in Okinawa, such as the iriomote wildcat and coral reefs. Taketomi island has a circumference of a little over 5 kilometers and is a great place to experience Okinawa’s island nature and to get a taste of small village life. Bicycle rentals are aplenty and a convenient way to travel from the village to the local beach. The island has a population of only a little over 300 and is a great place to experience a vacation off the grid. Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park Iriomote island is primarily covered in jungle greenery, mountains, and waterfalls and has plenty of local wildlife. Mangrove kayaking is a popular activity for navigating the jungles and safely journeying deep into the wilderness. San’in Kaigan Geopark San’in Kaigan Geopark More than just a national park, the San’in Kaigan is a geopark, a certified UNESCO site that preserves the diverse geology of the region. The park is huge, covering over 2,400 square kilometers, and encompasses three different prefectures, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Tottori. One part of the park can look drastically different from the other, as the topography ranges from onsen villages and rice paddies to cerulean beaches. The Tottori sand dunes are the most famous feature of the park. The dunes create an image of a desert but are in fact, right next to the ocean. San’in Kaigan Geopark Towada-Hachimantai National Park Towada-Hachimantai National Park Towada Hachimantai covers Aomori, Akita, and Iwate and is filled with some of Tohoku’s natural wonders. One of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains, Mount Hakkoda covers the Aomori side of the park. It is best known for its fall foliage, which arrives early in the season. The mountain is also picturesque in the winter with some of the highest levels of snowfall found in the region. Towada-Hachimantai National Park Mount Nyoto is home to a secluded onsen village. With over ten types of hot springs, these villages have lots of different accommodation options with a variety of baths to choose from. The onsens can be chosen by their nature spot, their health benefits, or just their convenient location. Most of the baths are open air, so bathers can experience the crisp mountain air while relaxing in the steaming water. Setonaikai National Park on Shodoshima Island Setonaikai on Shodoshima Island Setonaikai National Park is on Shodoshima, one of the many art islands in the Seto Inland Sea that participates in the modern art Setouchi Triennale. More off the beaten path and filled with nature than its more famous neighbors Naoshima and Teshima, Shodoshima is ideal for relaxing alongside nature and chancing upon the sculptures still standing from years past. Angel Road is the highlight of Setonaikai, a strip of sand accessible only when the tide is low. The sandbar is synonymous with romance, as the walk is said to give good luck to couples. Setonaikai on Shodoshima Island Read more: 7 of Japan's Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 29. March. 2020
- A small island with beautiful beaches, interesting rock formations and a couple of quiet hiking trails. Sensui-jima is a quiet island that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who enjoys nature and outdoor activities. The island of Sensui-jima has a lot to offer, and is located a mere five-minute ferry ride from Tomonoura. From seven in the morning until nine thirty in the evening, there’s a charming ferry, running back and forth between the island and the mainland every 20 minutes. Sensui-jima Despite the short distance however, the vibe on the island is very different compared to the mainland. One big difference, is the lack of residential buildings. All you’ll find on this island is a few small shops and cafés, a hotel and two open air baths. The rest of the islands mostly consist of beautiful nature, sandy beaches and breathtaking vistas of the coastline and the Seto inland sea. This island is a part of the larger Setonaikai National Park. When Sensui-jima is described by guidebooks and travel blogs, the word “Mediterranean” is often used, and it’s frankly easy to understand why, especially if you visit on a sunny day in the early summer. The vibe is laid back and relaxed, with the azure blue sea a constant backdrop, and the sun is warm but not annoyingly so. There aren’t many people at all on the island, but those who have managed to find their way here are most likely enjoying a lazy day on the beach or a slow hike around the island. Sensui-jima There are a few different hiking trails located on Sensui-jima. The longest takes around about three to four hours to traverse, but there are also two shorter ones, that can be completed in one and two hours. Sensui-jima ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 31. July. 2017
ทั้งหมด 59 รายการ
- หาดเล่นน้ำ คิทางิชิมะ ชิโมอุระ
- ชายทะเล / ชายหาด
- Mt. Washu
- Kurashiki-shi, Okayama-ken
- AosaHana Kaigan Beach
- Okayama Asakuchi-shi Yorishimacho Ao Sa
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- ฮอกไกโด / โทโฮคุ
- โคชินเอ็ทสุ / โฮคุริคุ
- คิวชู / โอกินาว่า