August 29, 2015

10 Scenic Places in Japan

Endowed with many mountains, seas, lakes and forests, Japan has many places with spectacular views.

Among which, Miyajima's(宮島)floating shrine gate, Matsushima's (松島)pine clad islets and Amanohashidate's (天橋立)pine tree covered sandbar that looks like a stairway to heaven when seen upside down, are the most representative, known as Japan's 3 most scenic places(日本三景).

I had the chance to visit all 3 of them, and I like Miyajima best. The good thing about these places is that there are quite a few attractions for sightseeing and things to do, so it would not be just going all the way there to see the views.

Other than these 3 great views, there are several other impressive sights I came across during my stay in Japan which I would consider as beautiful as the 3 above, or even better!

In no particular order:

1. Shinjiko(宍道湖)in Matsue(松江), Shimane(島根)prefecture

This lake is famous for its spectacular sunset view all year round. This sight with Yomegashima Islet is best seen from Shinjiko Ohashi bridge. (Also the first photo in this post.) When I was there, it was March and temperature was only 7 degrees! Still, quite a few people endured the cold and sat by the lake admiring the view.

2. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama(富山)prefecture

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route has many great views along the whole route, with the snow corridor at Murodo(室堂)being the most famous. The view at Daikanbo(大観峰)is also very impressive. Panorama of the Japan Alps and the lake formed by Kurobe Dam that are so near yet so far~

3. Takeda Castle(竹田城)in Hyogo(兵庫)prefecture

Known as the Machu Picchu of Japan, this place is always crowded with tourists, especially in autumn when the possibility of catching the famous view of the castle in a sea of clouds is higher. The famous view can be seen from the adjacent hill called Ritsuunkyo(立雲峡), but it is difficult to see, with specific weather conditions to be met, such as huge temperature difference between day and night. From transportation there in the early morning to securing lodgings nearby, quite a lot of planning and researching is involved. Nevertheless, the view is truly rewarding!

4. Nemophila field at Hitachi Seaside Park(日立海浜公園), Ibaraki(茨城)prefecture

Having a love for blue and seasonal flowers, made up my mind to visit this place during my stay in Japan, the moment I got to know about it. It can be seen around the time of the Golden Week in Japan. The place can get really crowded, so it is advisable to visit when the park opens.

5. Mount Inasa's(稲佐山)night view in Nagasaki(長崎)prefecture

This night view is considered as 1 of the top 3 in Japan. At the World Night View Summit in 2012, it was also recognized as 1 of the top 3 night views in the world! Despite the location being not too high, the view is not blocked and the buildings in Nagasaki are not so tall, so it was truly panorama.

6. Yakushima(屋久島)in Kagoshima(鹿児島)prefecture

Although I am not into hiking and trees, hiking through the mystical moss-covered forest in Yakushima was enjoyable for me. Shiratani Unsuikyo(白谷雲水峡)that served as the inspiration for Ghibli's Mononoke Hime had trails for inexperienced hikers. There were deer roaming around freely, lush greenery and waterfalls, very relaxing indeed.

7. Okinawa's beaches

When I visited Okinawa, flight to neighbouring islands was cancelled due to typhoon, so I could only stay in the main island. Still, the beaches like Emerald Beach were already the best I have seen in Japan. I love seas that are emerald in colour, like in Maldives or Guam. With a book, a cocktail & some Bossanova music, everything would be perfect!

8. Shibazakura(芝桜)fields

Wide fields of flowers are all nice to me, but Shibazakura was something I only got to know its existence during my stay in Japan. The most famous place to see is the Fuji Shibazakura Festival from end of April to end of May. When I visited during Golden Week in 2014, the bloom was late so I could not see it unfortunately. Though I managed to see the Shibazakura fields at Swiss Mura in Northern Kyoto later in May. I doubt it's as spectacular as the Fuji one with a pond and Mount Fuji in the backdrop, but it wasn't so crowded.

9. Enoshima(江ノ島)in Kanagawa(神奈川)prefecture

The Mount Fuji sunset view from the beach that is a short walk from Katase Enoshima station was magnificent, just like that of Shinjiko. Highly recommended for visitors to Kamakura~

10. Nara Park(奈良公園)in winter

I had the chance to visit Nara Park the day after it snowed the whole night, and the view was unforgettable! It was like a completely different place from that in spring and summer. Spacious white field with deers still roaming around. Very magical...

These are my personal favorites so far. If there is any place with awesome views not mentioned above, please share with me!


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