The Most Beautiful National Parks in Japan

Head to Shiretoko National Park to see the resident population of brown bears
Head to Shiretoko National Park to see the resident population of brown bears | © Scott Sim / Alamy
Photo of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer2 September 2021

Japan is home to dozens of national parks and a wide range of habitats, from tropical beaches and active volcanoes to ancient forests and crater lakes. Ready to explore? Here are the most beautiful national parks in Japan.

Considering a trip to Japan? Go there with Culture Trip on our 12-day adventure from the neon lights of Tokyo to the tall bamboo forests of Kyoto – with an experienced local insider leading the way.

Shiretoko National Park

Map View
Parent and child of the bear in Shiretoko National Park
© westward / Alamy
Shiretoko Park in Hokkaido is famous for wildlife, and in particular the large resident population of brown bears. In summertime, wary travellers can view them from the safety of sightseeing boats. The unspoiled beauty here and value as a conservation area has earned it recognition as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Nikko National Park

Park, Shrine
Map View
Nikko, Japan - July 23 2017: Entrance of Toshogu temple in Nikko national park, Japan at afternoon winter.
© Jorge Rodriguez Veiga / Alamy
Nikko National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, 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.

Yoshino-Kumano National Park

Map View
Cherry blossoms Yoshino-Kumano-National-Park_E3XD39
© Kazumasa Koiwai / Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy
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.
These recommendations were updated on September 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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