Kerama Shotō National Park
Located in Okinawa Prefecture, the Kerama Shotō National Park includes the tropical Kerama Islands, from which the park takes its name. The region is filled with gorgeous turquoise waters and white-sand beaches. It’s no surprise water sports like swimming and snorkeling are the main attraction here.
Shiretoko National Park
Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Park is famous for its wildlife, and its large population of brown bears in particular. In summertime, wary travelers can view them from the safety of sightseeing boats. Shiretoko’s unspoiled beauty and value as a conservation area has earned it recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Akan National Park
Another of Hokkaido’s national parks is Akan. This park’s draw is the cluster of volcanoes surrounding three main lakes. One of these is Lake Mashū, famed for its beauty.
Nikko National Park
Nikko National Park is located in the Kanto region and is easily accessible from Tokyo. It’s home to the beautiful Toshogu Shrine, where the late Tokugawa Ieyasu rests, as well as the Kinugawa Onsen, a hot spring town along the banks of the Kinu River. Nikko National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yoshino-Kumano National Park
Yoshino-Kumano National Park includes Mount Yoshino, often called the best place for hanami (welcoming spring) in all of Japan due to the multitude of sakura (cherry blossom) growing there. It’s also home to the Kumano Sanzan, a group of sacred ancient shrines in the Kumano Region.
Yakushima National Park
Heavily wooded Yakushima National Park is home to some of the oldest trees in Japan. The most famous of these is Jomonsugi, an enormous cedar believed to be up to 7000 years old.
Fuji Hakone Izu National Park
Due to its close proximity to Tokyo, Fuji Hakone Izu is the most popular of Japan’s national parks. Beautiful Hakone is famous for its ancient history, its shrine and hot springs in addition to views of nearby Mount Fuji.
Towada Hachimantai National Park
In the northern Tohoku region, Towada Hachimantai National Park’s Lake Towada, Nyuto Onsen and the Hachimantai Mountains attract thousands of visitors each year. It’s particularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.
Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park
Live volcanoes can be found on Kirishima-Kinkowan’s Sakurajima, while the Kirishima Coast is a well-traveled hiking route.