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The 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in Japan

Lake Mashu | © Hajime NAKANO/Flickr
Lake Mashu | © Hajime NAKANO/Flickr
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. Explore the nation’s 10 most beautiful national parks.

Kerama Shotō National Park

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Beautiful blue waters beckon at Kerama Islands
Beautiful blue waters beckon at Kerama Islands | © SteFou!/Flickr
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.
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Shiretoko National Park

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Deer in Shiratoko National Park
Deer in Shiratoko National Park | © Mr Hicks46/Flickr
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.
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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.

Nikko National Park, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Toshogu Shrine | © DavideGorla/Flickr

Visit Toshogu Shrine at Nikko National Park | © DavideGorla/Flickr

Yakushima National Park

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The ancient Jomonsugi has been standing for thousands of years  
The ancient Jomonsugi has been standing for thousands of years   | © Σ64/WikiCommons
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.
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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.

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

© Richard, enjoy my life!/Flickr

Hakone is filled with history and beauty | © Richard, enjoy my life!/Flickr