When it comes to deciding on where to go in Japan, consider one of these beautiful places. There are so many wonderful destinations in Japan to visit, each unique on its own. Whether you want to experience natural beauty like a gorge, historic villages, or designed floral gardens, there’s something for everyone.
Japan offers one of the most enriching travel experiences. With a deep passion for beauty, art, and culture, the three come together in a way unlike anywhere else I have been. As I plan our fourth trip back to Japan, I’m eyeing several of these places to add to my list.
Which of these beautiful places in Japan to visit will you go to first? Check out the list.
*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking these, I may make a small commission should you choose to click and book at no additional cost to you. Your support helps me to create content like this.
The Most Beautiful Places in Japan to Visit
Meguro River in Tokyo
When it comes to one of the best destinations to experience the cherry blossoms in Japan, nothing quite beats the Meguro River. Located in Tokyo in the Meguro Ward, there are over 800 cherry trees spanning along the 3.8-kilometer-long river. The sakura or cherry blossom trees are best seen in the Nakameguro neighborhood during peak season in early April. There is so much to see and enjoy in this neighborhood, so you can easily spend an afternoon here. Favorite spots include local Tokyo coffee shops like Onibus and Blue Bottle and local boutiques in Nakameguro.
The Nakasendo Trail in the Kiso Valley
For those looking for something off the beaten path and not too far from Tokyo, consider the Kiso Valley. Home to the historic Nakasaendo Trail that connects the ancient villages in the Nagano Prefecture along the Central Alps of Japan. There are a few post towns like Tsumago and Magome along the route. During the Edo period, there were over 67 tons that the Nakasendo route connected to help aid commerce. Now, you can walk the route yourself and experience the passageway through the sacred mountains. It’s one of the best historic areas to stay in all of Japan.
Be sure to book your Japan Rail Pass before you arrive
The famous Gassho-style houses speckle the ancient villages in the mountains of Chubu region in central Japan. Known for their very steep roofs that are thatched, there are actually three villages to visit. Ogimachi, Suganuma, and Ainokura all offer an opportunity to experience this incredible traditional way of living in Japan. Since it is a declared UNESCO World Heritage site, the farmhouses date back to almost 250 years old. It draws visitors to one of the most beautiful architectural sights in Japan.
Nara Park in Nara
Located in Nara, Japan, Nara Park is one of the most visited places in Japan. Famous for the “bowing” deer, you can experience this historic park that dates back to 1880. Set in the footsteps of Mount Wakasuka, there are over 1000 deer inside. The deer have learned to bow for food that is available for purchase. For those looking to go, this makes for a great day trip from Kyoto.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha in Kyoto
The iconic orange-red gates of Fushimi Inari Temple are one of the most beautiful sights in Kyoto. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting the historic city. The torii gates straddle over the trails that lead up the mountain, making it a wonderful location to go for a hike if you’re up for it. And this is just one of the thousands of temples and shrines in Kyoto. Mount Inari is at the top of the trails and the temple is Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Throughout you’ll find foxes which are believed to be the messengers of Inari.
Hitsujiyama Park in Chichibu
Hitsujiyama Park located in Chichibu draws in visitors every year for its mossy, pink fields. The fields come alive every year in the peak spring months of April to May. Travelers come from all over to soak in the beauty of these gardens. It is no accident that the colors and patterns are this way as it is part of the design. It is said to have over 400,000 flowers planted for this every year.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto
One of the most beautiful, natural sights in Kyoto is the bamboo grove of Arashiyama. To best enjoy it, head early at dawn to have the grove to yourself sans the crowd. The location is quite easy to find as it is near Arashiyama street and there is clear signage for it. When there, you can easily spend about an hour or so walking the trail with the towering bamboo stalks. It is one of the most photographed locations in Japan, and a must-see when in Kyoto. If you’re looking for more locations, these are the best photography spots in all of Kyoto.
Need A Japan Rail Pass? This Is Where I Book Mine
Oyama Rice Terrace in Kamogawa
The famous terraced rice patties located in Kamogawa are one of the most beautiful in all of Japan. It’s set in the mountains, surrounded by the forest created an incredible scene. Since it’s in the Chiba countryside, it’s not far to get to from Tokyo. For those looking to visit and learn more about Oyama Rice terrace, read here.
Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashigaka
Most famed for the 150-year-old wisteria tree, Ashikaga Flower Park drives in droves of people to soak in the beauty. Located in the Tochigi Prefecture, the tree itself has even been designated as a national monument. There are other things to see in the park like dozen of flowers, a long white wisteria tunnel, and azaleas. This park is a wonderful place to visit for those looking to experience something truly unique in Japan.
Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
What makes this historic Itsukushima Shrine that is centuries old is the famous floating torii gate. Located on Miyajima, the torii gate and shrine are known as it looks as though it is floating on water. It’s a popular sight to visit in Japan to soak in the beauty of these buildings. If you want to photograph or see it when it looks like it is floating, be sure to time it with the high tide as this gives this perspective.
Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi
Mt. Fuji is an image synonymous with the country of Japan. It’s a must-see, and there are so many ways to experience its beauty. You can easily visit it from Tokyo with a little bit of planning and utilizing the JR Railway. Some people choose to stay nearby and then hike in the morning to catch the sunrise from the top. Others gaze upon its beauty from Yamanashi.
Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto
Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion is a top-see place in Kyoto. The top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf, creating a beautiful scene that reflects off the pond below. It’s a popular attraction in all of Japan that draws thousands of visitors each year to gaze upon the sight. The grounds of the temple itself are wonderful for a stroll as well. The temple was originally built in 1398 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of the Muromachi shogunate. It has been rebuilt since, the latest being in 1955. It is recognized by UNESCO as a World (Cultural) Heritage site.
One of the most incredible locations to visit in every season is Mt. Yoshino in the Omine Renzan mountain range. People visit year-round to experience the snow in the winter to the fall colors. But quite possibly the most famous time to come in to see the cherry blossom trees that light up the mountain. There are over 1,000 cherry trees that light up with light pink blossoms each spring, creating a sight to see. To soak it all in, ride the Yoshino Ropeway to see the mountain range.
Miyako-jima in Okinawa
Who knew tropical-kind islands existed in Japan? If you’re looking for aqua blue, turquoise waters and beautiful beaches, visit the island of Miyako in Okinawa. The only way to get here is by plane so it will take some planning to visit but well worth it. There are several unique beaches located on the island, scenic capes, and lovely traditional cuisines to try here.
Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture
There is no shortage of thoughtfully planted gardens and parks throughout Japan. Mifuneyama Rakuen may be the most impressive, covering 500,000 square meters. Located near Mt. Mifune in Takeo City, you can come here and experience a wide range of flowers that have been planted. While visiting, there is a famous teahouse that definitely deserves a visit for a traditional Japanese experience.
Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki
Located near Mito in the Ibaraki Prefecture, Hitachi Seaside Park is famed for its large flower fields. Dozens of flowers bloom year but the most famous is the blue nemophila. They come into full bloom in late April and you can walk between them. You’ll find scenic views of the Pacific Ocean from here. Another time to visit is the kokia bushes that turn bright red in the fall as well. The park can be enjoyed year-round pending on what kind of florals you want to see.
Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki
One of the most beautiful natural sights in all of Japan is the river that cuts through the Takachiho Gorge. Every fall the autumn colors illuminate with hues of orange, yellow, and red. Visitors come here to experience the Gokase River that cuts through the rock and creates high cliffs with volcanic basalt columns. And when you get halfway through the gorge, you’ll find the Minainotaki waterfall that sits 17 meters high. It’s a stunning sight to see and one that can’t be missed when there. For those looking to soak in the beauty, you can either take a rental boat to row down through the gorge. It will give you a chance to see everything up close. The other option is to walk the path along the edge, which gives you beautiful perspectives the whole way.