30 Natural Wonders of Japan to Visit for Every Region

No one can deny that Japan is a beautiful country. It is jampacked with discoveries from culture to technology to nature!

After I learned that Japan has stunning mountains and lovely lakes, I knew that it has more spectacle to show us. So in this blog post, I share with you the natural wonders of Japan best to visit every part of Japan. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a tiny commission at no additional cost to you. They will help me maintain this blog and create posts to fulfill the mission of this blog.

I will tour you from north to south of Japan, region by region, showing you which natural attractions you can see. I added the google map location where they are located and some interesting facts to further introduce them to you.

If you wonder where I discovered these beautiful places, you can check @visitjapanjp‘s Instagram profile. I dug down almost four years of their feed to find all these beautiful places! Just to let you know, the first photo from this account was posted on OCTOBER 2, 2017.

May the lists below inspire you or help you plan your visit to Japan. 

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Natural Attractions and Wonders of Japan in Hokkaido

  1. Jewelry Ice
  2. Unkai Terrace
  3. Jigokudani 
  4. Coast of Shakotan Peninsula 
  5. Shirogane Blue Pond 

Let us start with Hokkaido, the northernmost region and the largest prefecture in Japan. Whenever I hear the name of this place, the first thing that comes to my mind is towns covered with snow and days with lots of freezing temperatures.

Though it is true, Hokkaido is most known for the fresh seafood available in shops in every corner of the city. Either way, Hokkaido boasts much beautiful scenery, including the 5 wonders listed below:

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Jewelry Ice in Otsu Beach

Location: Otsu Motomachi, Toyokoro, Nakagawa District, Hokkaido 089-5461, Japan

Jewelry ice is a phenomenon that happens during the cold winters in Hokkaido when the frozen Tokachi River breaks into chunks of crystallized ice because of temperature variations. These chunks of ice flow down into the Pacific Ocean, where tides break them and smoothen them.

Jewelry Ice, Hokkaido, Japan
Jewelry Ice, Hokkaido, Japan
Jewelry Ice, Hokkaido, Japan

These pieces of ice look like glittering gemstones when they are hit by the light. They are transparent and contain no impurities. I found in my research that the slow freezing of the Tockachi river was the main reason they were so clear.

How they freeze so slowly is beyond my knowledge and would require us to attend a physics class! Haha! But seriously, these ice crystals look like glass, so beautiful!

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Sea of Clouds at Unkai Terrace

Location: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido 079-2204, Japan

From the seas, we move up to the sky above the clouds. Unkai Terrace is the spot in Hokkaido to go into an alpine observation deck where we can see ice-capped mountains. Depending on the weather, a spectacular phenomenon called a sea of clouds appears.

READ MORE | 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

Cable Car Sea of Clouds at Unkai Terrace, Hokkaido, Japan
Sea of Clouds at Unkai Terrace, Hokkaido, Japan

A sea of clouds is an overcast cloud, when observed at a higher ground, resembles the sea with the peaks of the mountains as the islands.

If the weather permits, you can see the clouds flow against the mountains, showing the properties of a fluid. Be sure to bring two cameras here! One for timelapse and another for taking photos. It’s breathtaking scenery that you should see.

READ 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

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Jigokudani (Hell Valley)

Location: Hirao, Yamanochi, Shimotakai District, Nagano 381-0401, Japan

From the heavenly look of the sea of clouds from Unkai, we now go to a misty place called Hell Valley. We can see dramatic displays of sulfurous streams, hot steam vents, and other volcanic activity here.

Jigokudani, Hell valley, Hokkaido, Japan
Jigokudani, Hell valley
Jigokudani, Hell valley, Hokkaido, Japan
Jigokudani, Hell valley
Oyunuma Pond, Hell Valley, Hokkaido, Japan
Oyunuma Pond

In the valley, you will see discolored soil with flowing turquoise Gatorade water in a stream. There will be steam rising from the ground, a spectacle indicating that the earth is alive!

A 20-minute walk to the north of Jigokudani will bring you to Oyunuma Pond. It is a pond full of sulfur with a temperature rising up to 50 degrees Celsius. Its milky blue color is something you can ask yourself why it has that color.

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Coast of Shakotan Peninsula

Location: Candle Rock / Ebisu Rock & Daikoku Rock / Kamui Rock / Jorokko Rock / Shimamui Coast, Shakotan Peninsula, Hokkaido

To the west of Sapporo, we can find a scenic coast with weird-looking rock formations. It is an excellent destination if you are going for a road trip around Hokkaido. The cliffs and the clear blue sea are scenic views, especially at sunset.

Ebisu-iwa & Daikoku-iwa, Shakotan Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan
Ebisu-iwa & Daikoku-iwa, Shakotan Peninsula
Candle Rock, Shakotan Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan
Candle Rock, Shakotan Peninsula
Shimamui Coast, Shakotan Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan
Shimamui Coast, Shakotan Peninsula

I found four rock formations and one scenic point where you can visit and sightsee exploring the Shakotan Peninsula:

  1. Candle Rock
  2. Ebisu Rock and & Daikoku Rock
  3. Kamui Rock
  4. Jorokko Rock
  5. Shimamui Coast Viewing deck

Rock lovers will surely love seeing these rock formations. If you are one of these rock lovers, prepare your camera and zoom lens to document your discovery!

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Hokkaido’s Shirogane Blue Pond

Location: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235, Japan

I am not sure if Shirogane Blue Pond should be included in this list since it was an artificially made pond. But since it is also a part of nature and wondrous, I decided to add it to this list.

Shirogane Blue Pond during late summer, Hokkaido, Japan
Shirogane Blue Pond during Autumn, Hokkaido, Japan
Shirogane Blue Pond during winter, Hokkaido, Japan

As far as I know, Shirogane Blue Pond was not intended to be created. It is only an effect of the project made with the Biei River to protect the town from Mount Tokachi’s lava flow during its eruption.

Nevertheless, the pond gives a mystical view with its surreal and still blue waters, reflecting the woods in the middle of the pond. It is a beautiful wonder to behold in any season of the year.

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The Best Natural Wonders of Japan in the Tohoku Region

  1. Zao Snow Monsters
  2. Rock formations at Kitayamazaki
  3. Geibikei Gorge
  4. Mount Iwate

Moving south from Hokkaido, we now jump to Tohoku, the northernmost region of Japan in Honshu island, the largest island in Japan. If Hokkaido is known for fresh seafood, Tohoku boasts the high-quality rice they produce.

Tohoku is also known for its peaceful countryside with views of mountains and lakes. Though it also experiences cold weather and harsh winter, hot springs just balanced the equation! LOL. The warm, cozy, and relaxing bath just feels so good when it’s cold outside.

READ 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information), Most Beautiful Lakes In Japan w/ Views Of Mount Fuji & More

Above everything I said, Tohoku houses natural wonders that are undeniably awe-inspiring! Yet, they could be a bit scary sometimes. Without further ado, here are the wondrous natural attractions we can see in the Japanese region of Tohoku:

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Zao Snow Monsters

Location: Zaoonsen, Yamagata, 990-2301, Japan

These snow-covered trees that resemble the shape of human beings will both creep you and fascinate you! Either way, it is a “real” winter wonderland that’s really worth going to if you love both skiing or just sightseeing. 

Zao Snow Monsters, Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan
Zao Snow Monsters, Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan
Cable car, Zao Snow Monsters, Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan

These snow-covered trees that resemble the shape of human beings will both creep you and fascinate you! Either way, it is a “real” winter wonderland that’s really worth going to if you love both skiing or just sightseeing.

It gets much better if you come on a clear day with a beautiful sunset. The snow on the trees gets painted with the golden colors of the sun. The view will be so picture-worthy.

The area is also a skiing spot, with cable cars bringing visitors to a higher location to ski down the slope. It is the opportunity to see a more spectacular view of the snow monster from above.

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Rock formations at Kitayamazaki

Location: Kumanohana Observatory / Kitayama Cape Observation Deck / 129-10 Kitayama, Tanohata, Shimohei District, Iwate 028-8402, Japan

The cliffs of Kitayamazaki on the Rikuchu Coast are another eye-opening, jaw-dropping landscape in Japan that nature admirers and rock enthusiasts will love. The meeting of the sea and the land here on the coast of Rikuchu is a scenic view to awe-inspire you down to your bones!

Kitayamazaki Rock Formations, Sanriku Recovery National Park, Rikuchu Coast, Iwate, Tohoku, Japan
Kitayamazaki Rock Formations, Sanriku Recovery National Park, Rikuchu Coast, Iwate, Tohoku, Japan
Kitayamazaki Rock Formations

Just look at the opening in the middle of the “huge” rock. Isn’t it marvelous? These magnificent cliffs along the 8-kilometer coastline reach 200 meters in height. And they were given the highest rating in the “natural resource: coast” category of National Tourist Resource Evaluation by the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation.

I provided you the locations where you can spot the rock formations. Click the links above to see them on the map.

If you want to see them closer, you can proceed to the 718-step esplanade observation deck and use the telescopes there. If you are lucky, you can also spot falcons and ospreys flying around the shore hunting preys.

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Geibikei Gorge

Location: Japan, 〒029-0302 Iwate, Ichinoseki, Higashiyamacho Nagasaka, 町 467番地

Hold your neck because you might get a stiff neck when you go to Geibikei Gorge. The towering cliffs and rock formations will entice your sight to stick on the top, and the fascinating rock formations along with the river you’ll be cruising.

Geibikei Gorge, Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan
Geibikei Gorge
Geibikei Gorge, Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan
Geibikei Gorge
Dragon Eye Stone, Geibikei Gorge, Ichinoseki, Iwate, Japan
Dragon Eye Stone, Geibikei Gorge

This scenic ravine with a 2-kilometer river and 50-meter cliffs is designated as one of the National Places of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument, also one of the 100 Landscapes of Japan.

The boat trip along the river in Geibikei Gorge lasts for 90 minutes. It is a back-and-forth trip on the river guided by boatmen. You might think that the return leg may bore you because you’ve already seen everything in the gorge. It would not be!

The return trip to the dock will be “fancified” by the boatmen, who sing as they push the boat using poles upstream.

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Mount Iwate

Location: Japan, 〒020-0507 Iwate, Shizukuishi, Maruyachi, 36−1 小岩井農場内

Your trip to Iwate in Tohoku would not be complete if you did not see Mount Iwate, a very picturesque mountain similar to Mount Fuji. Mount Iwate has an interesting fact that you should know. Check it out in my post about the Most Beautiful Mountains in Japan

Solitary Cherry Tree, Koiwai Farm, Matsuoyoriki, Hachimantai, Iwate, Japan
Solitary Cherry Tree, Koiwai Farm
Mount Iwate, Iwate, Japan
Mount Iwate

Click the location link above to see Mount Iwate with the solitary cherry tree. That viewing spot is in Koiwai Farm. There, you can see the mountain with a beautifully minimal landscape – a perfect place to relax and enjoy the simplicity of life.

The perfect time to visit is during a fine weather day in spring. You might also want to visit during the afternoon at the golden hour. So you can see the snow at the summit of the mountain change color from white to reddish-orange. 

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Natural Wonders of Japan Awaiting us in Kanto Region

  1. Kegon Falls
  2. Shosenkyo Gorge

Kanto region is the area in Japan where we can find Tokyo. It is also the home of more than 42 million people – that’s already a third of the population in Japan!

Though Kanto is Japan’s most populated and developed region, it does not mean we can only see buildings, houses, and temples in this area. There are a lot of natural attractions too in Kanto.

Looking at the map, we can see that almost half of the region’s area is mountains with lakes scattered around. That means there are still lots of nature we can see in this region! But here are the best natural wonders we can check out when we visit Kanto.

READ MORE 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information) | Most Beautiful Lakes In Japan w/ Views Of Mount Fuji & More | Most Beautiful Parks In Tokyo (w/ Google Maps & Directions)

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Kegon Falls

Location: Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi 321-1661, Japan

What a glorious sight. Kegon Falls is indeed Japan’s one of the best waterfalls. Look closer; you can see that it is not only a single waterfall but many! It’s an avatar scene – irresistible to visit.

Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, Tochigi, Japan
Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, Tochigi, Japan
Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji

Kegon falls are approximately 97 meters or 318 feet. The whole waterfall has one large waterfall with 12 smaller ones that leak from the center of the rocky wall.

You should visit this place because it is recognized as one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls. Kegon Falls is also one of the “Eight Views” of Japan. It is a list of places that shows the best of Japan and its culture. Getting even a glimpse of it is definitely worth it!

The best time to visit Kegon falls is during Autumn. But the roads to the falls will be packed with tourists wanting to see the falls surrounded by autumn colors.

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Shosenkyo Gorge

Location: Takanaricho, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-1214, Japan

Shosenkyo Gorge is another pleasant place in Kanto to have a nature walk with views of different rock formations. It has riverside walking trails between cliffs with few waterfalls and fantastic fall foliage.

Kakuenbo Rock, Shosenkyo Gorge, Yamanashi, Japan
Kakuenbo Rock, Shosenkyo Gorge
Senga waterfall, Shosenkyo Gorge, Yamanashi, Japan
Senga waterfall, Shosenkyo Gorge

The most famous rock in Shosenkyo Gorge is called Kakuenbo. Many people say this jutting rock resembles China’s Mount Taishan, so keep your heads up so you may not miss it, but always watch your steps!

There is also a 30-meter-tall waterfall within the gorge called Senga Waterfall. You will hear it roar even if you’re still far from it! It is also one of Japan’s 100 best waterfalls, so better not to leave it unchecked.

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Spectacular Natural Wonders of Japan in the Chubu Region

  1. Kiyotsu Gorge
  2. Tojinbo
  3. Shiraito Falls
  4. Japanese Alps
  5. Mount Fuji

Going further south (or west) from the Kanto region, we will arrive at the most “captivating” portion of Japan in terms of natural scenery – just in my opinion.

Chubu is the region in the middle of Japan with coasts facing the Pacific Ocean east and the Sea of Japan west, bisecting Honshu Island. This is the region where we can find Mount Fuji and the rest of the towering mountains in Japan.

READ MORE | 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

Believe it or not, even though Chubu is located way more south than Hokkaido, Chubu is still one of the places in Japan with the heaviest snowfall.

That’s why the houses in Shirakawa Village (located in Chubu) are awesomely designed to withstand heavy snowfall. Read more about Shirakawa in my list of beautiful towns in Japan

Anyhow, the mountainous terrain of the Chubu region offers us many spectacles to see. They are endless and surprising. Here is the taste of the natural wonders of Japan from the Chubu region:

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Kiyotsu Gorge

Location: Koide, Tokamachi, Niigata 949-8433, Japan

Behold the evident power of nature from the panoramic view of the massive lava rock formations in Kiyotsu Gorge! It will be a truly magical experience, at least for geologists and rock enthusiasts.

Kiyoysu Gorge, Niigata, Chubu, Japan
Details of Kiyoysu Gorge, Niigata, Chubu, Japan

The rock formation visible in the walls and slopes of the mountains in Kiyotsu Gorge is called “columnar jointing.” They are just rocks, but isn’t it a manifestation of nature’s creativity?

You don’t have to worry about falling rocks if you want to see the gorge because you won’t be hiking in it. Instead, you will walk inside a 750-meter tunnel with 4 Instagrammable viewpoints located at the most scenic parts of the gorge.

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Location: 64-1 Mikunicho Anto, Sakai, Fukui 913-0064, Japan

Tojinbo – is perhaps one of the most head-scratching and one of the most scenic landscapes in Japan. It actually reminds me of Iceland. These pillar-shaped rocks always make an impression that there were people who made them. But they are all natural!

Afternoon at the cliffs of Tojinbo, Fukui, Japan
Sunset at the cliffs of Tojinbo, Fukui, Japan

In some photos, they only look small, like a meter tall or lesser. That’s why I included a picture of tourists wandering at the cliff. You see, they are gigantic! It is said that these cliffs tower up to 30 meters.

Even if you are not a rock lover, you must visit this place because there are only three places in the world where you can find these rocks! Besides, the whole area is literally scenic.

This is located on the west coast of Japan, so I think it would be better if you visited Tojinbo during the afternoon, just before sunset. It’s when their crispest details appear, highlighted by the sun’s thinning angle with the horizon.

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Shiraito Falls

Location: 273-1 Kamiide, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka 418-0103, Japan

If you haven’t seen a waterfall curtain in your life, Shiraito Falls is an excellent waterfall to have for your first time seeing one. This 150-meter (492 ft) wide and 20-meter (65.62 ft) tall waterfall is included in Japan’s list of best waterfalls. Thus, seeing it will not disappoint you, especially if the weather cooperates.

Shiraito Falls, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, Japan
Shiraito Falls
Shiraito Falls, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, Japan
Shiraito Falls

Shiraito Falls’ waters come from Mount Fuji. That’s why the water cascading from the falls to the plunge pool is so clean and blue in color. Its name was based on its appearance, resembling silk thread hanging from the trees.

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Japanese Alps

Location: Kamikochi Hakuba

Who would think you could be in Japan’s Himalayas, European Alps, or the Canadian Rockies? Before, I did not know that Japan had alpine mountains. When I discovered it, it blew my mind!

Kamikochi, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
Kamikochi, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

If you want the same view in Japan, you must go to Kamikochi or Hakuba. These two places are also where you can start hiking the Japanese Alps, the Hida Mountains, to be particular.

READ MORE |10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

On the Hida Mountains or the Northern Japanese Alps, we find the second tallest mountain in Japan, Mount Kita. Climbing the second tallest mountain will let you see Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, above the clouds. It is a scenery that can be matched by any view in Japan.

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Mount Fuji

Location: Kitayama, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka 418-0112, Japan

There is no doubt why Mount Fuji is included on this list. It is just the ultimate wonder of Japan, and nothing could beat that! You can hike Mount Fuji or just stare at it from nearby towns.

Mount Fuji, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, Japan
Mount Fuji
View of Mount Fuji from Mount Takayama, Japan
View of Mount Fuji from Mount Takayama

But if there is a perfect place for sightseeing Mount Fuji, it would be the Five Lakes of Fuji.

READ MORE | Most Beautiful Lakes In Japan w/ Views Of Mount Fuji & More

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Natural attractions in Japan located in Kansai Region

  • Nachi Falls
  • Mount Yoshino
  • Arashimaya Bamboo Groove
  • Engetsu Island

Going south furthermore, we will arrive in Kansai. It is the cultural center and the historical heart of Japan. In Kyoto alone, there are more than 1600 temples to see! That alone is enough to say Kansai is the heart of Japanese culture.

READ MORE | 15 Best Things to do in Kyoto Aside From Temples & Shrines | 10 Reasons Why Visit Kyoto + Most Inspiring Photos of Kyoto | The Forest in Kyoto And Other Natural Attractions To Visit

But, the story does not only end that way. Kansai still got a lot of natural wonders to see. Whether it is inland, in the sea, or water falling down a cliff – Kansai got it all for you!

It excites me because even in the city, we can find a forest that’s a part of the Japanese Ministry of Environment’s Soundscape of Japan. So, without further explanation, here are the best natural wonders of Japan that we can see in the Kansai Region:

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Nachi Falls

Location: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama 649-5301, Japan

Nachi Falls is the most famous and tallest waterfall in Japan, with a single uninterrupted drop. That single uninterrupted rush of water down to the earth is just full of grace, a real eye-catcher that never fails.

Nachi Falls, Nakayama, Japan
Nachi Falls, Nakayama, Japan

I can’t recall if I saw this in person back in 2008. But for as much as I can remember, I’ve visited a beautiful waterfall before. Either way, Nachi Falls became one of my biggest travel inspirations to Japan since I found this Japanese promotional video way back years ago:

This 133-meter (436 ft) tall and 13-meter (43 ft) wide waterfall in Japan will always inspire me to visit Japan repeatedly.

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Mount Yoshino

Location: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan

If you are going to Japan during the spring season, Mount Yoshino must be the place you must not miss visiting! There’s literally a forest of cherries in Mount Yoshino. If there is a winter wonderland in Hokkaido or Tohoku Region, then this is what people should call a spring wonderland!

Mount Yoshino, Nara, Japan
Mount Yoshino

Years ago, they counted the cherry trees here, and the total count was 3000. I bet it is more than that now! Before climbing Mount Yoshino, you have to drop by Yoshino Town first, which I have included in my list of beautiful countryside towns in Japan

I also explained what things you can do while visiting Mount Yoshino on the list. So, don’t forget to check out that list! 🙂

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Bamboo Groove

Location: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0000, Japan

The Bamboo Forest, also called Bamboo Groove, is perhaps the most famous place in Japan that belongs to the 100 Soundscapes of Japan. These are the selected places by the Japanese Ministry of environment where people can escape the noise pollution in the city.

Arashimaya Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan
Arashimaya Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan

Many suggest that if you’re visiting Bamboo Groove, you must do it as early as possible or during the late afternoon to really feel the tranquility of the forest. Bamboo Forest is open 24 hours a day, so be free to visit it whenever you want.

READ MORE | 15 Best Things to do in Kyoto Aside From Temples & Shrines | 10 Reasons Why Visit Kyoto + Most Inspiring Photos of Kyoto | The Forest in Kyoto And Other Natural Attractions To Visit

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Engetsu Island

Location: Wakayama 649-2211, Japan 

Engetsu Island is an islet seen from the Shirahama coast with a full moon-shaped hole in its center. Its hole results from thousands of years of erosion by ocean waves that splashed into the islands millions of times.

Engetsu island, Wakamaya, Japan
Engetsu island
Perfect Sunset in Engetsu Island, Wakamaya, Japan

The island might be small and looks just ordinary with a hole in the middle, but never underestimate the spectacle it can give you. Because during the sunset, it can bestow you unmatched sights of the sea, sky, and the sun.

If you want to photograph the sun in the hole of Engetsu Island, come to Shirahama coast in the afternoon:

  • 6:30 pm for summer
  • 4:30 pm for winter

Source: planetyze.com

It will be one of the most beautiful sunsets that you could ever have in your entire life! This can also be the best moment to do something really thoughtful, like a proposal or anything romantic.

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Japan’s Natural Attractions in Chugoku Region

  1. Akiyoshi Limestone Cave
  2. Tottori Sand dunes
  3. Oki Islands
  4. Susa Hornfels

After Kanto, moving further south, we’ll arrive at Chugoku – the southernmost and westernmost part of Honshu. When we look at Chugoku from Google Earth, you’ll see that most of its area, especially in the middle, is filled with mountains running from east to west. Dividing the region into two. 

Figuratively speaking, mountains usually hide “gems” that are often wondrous when discovered. Commonly they are waterfalls, gorges, or jutting limestones. In the case of Chugoku, we can visit a spectacular limestone cave.

READ MORE | 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

Again, about Chugoku, I was surprised because its natural wonders lie outside the mountainous areas. In fact, they are in the coastal portion of the region. And believe me, they are one of a kind… and these are the most unusual of all!

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Akiyoshi Limestone Cave

Location: 3506-2 Shuhocho Akiyoshi, Mine, Yamaguchi 754-0511, Japan

We always forget that natural wonders come from every corner of the earth, including what’s underneath… The caves! In the westernmost portion of Chugoku Island, we can find the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave. It is the place that will drop your jaw to the ground even though you’re already underneath it.

Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, Yamaguchi, Japan
Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, Yamaguchi, Japan

That’s because Akoyoshi Limestone caves are full of out-of-this-world rock formation wonders that will make you ask yourself, “who did this?” Yet no one made it – just nature.

Akiyoshi Limestone Cave belongs to Akiyoshidai Plateau Quasi-National Park, situated at the karst plateau representative of Japan. The cave is 10 kilometers long and full of limestones already 300 million years old.

If you are tall, you don’t have to worry if you can stand straight inside the cave. The ceilings of the cave reach up to 80m in height.

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Tottori Sand dunes

Location: 2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105, Japan

When we look at the map, it is unlikely to think of a desert-like place in Japan. It is surrounded by an ocean, a wet and temperate climate – it really seems impossible, right?

Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan
Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan

But yes, there is, and it is called Tottori Sand dunes, and we can find it here in Chugoku. It is the only sand dune system in Japan, with a size that’s over 30 square kilometers.

Scientists said that the dunes have existed for more than 100 thousand years now. The sand came from the Chugoku mountains and was washed up by the Sendai River. The Sea of Japan pushed them back to the shore creating Tottori Sand dunes.

Anyway, if you’re traveling in Japan and you want to get an extraordinary experience apart from mountains, waterfalls, caves, and cliffs, go to Tottori! There you can play with the sands and even ride with a camel.

READ MORE | 10 Beautiful Mountains In Japan (with Hiking Information)

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Oki Islands

Location: Oki Islands

80 kilometers (49.7 miles) from the north coast of Shimane Prefecture, we can find a tiny group of islands called the Oki Islands packed with the most unusual sights in Japan.

Oki Islands, Japan
Oki Islands, Japan
Oki Islands, Japan
Elk-looking tree in Oki Islands

This group of islands is commonly known as Okishima, an archipelago endowed with mystic forests populated by Japanese cedars and eye-opening natural scenery covered in grass with cattle all over.

Oki Islands is also known for the scenic views of ocean cliffs and rock formations. Because of its overall beauty, it was recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark. It is an excellent destination in Japan to experience nature and the Japanese countryside with the sea.

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Susa Hornfels

Location: Japan, 〒759-3411 Yamaguchi, Hagi, Susa, Koyama, 北海岸

There are just places on earth full of unbelievable spectacles, like the Susa Hornfels in Yamaguchi. It is a rock formation that will make you think it was created by humans instead. It’s just hard to imagine that with nature’s unpredictability and chaos, it still has designed such beautiful patterns now we admire.

Susa Hornfels, Yamaguchi, Japan
Susa Hornfels, Yamaguchi, Japan
Susa Hornfels

Susa Hornfels is a beautiful cliff with alternating layers of rocks in black and gray colors. It is one of the 100 Places of Scenic Heritage in Japan in the 21st century and also one of the 100 Geological Features of Japan.

Scientists said that Susa Hornfels was created 140,000,000 years ago by geologic forces, heat, and pressure under the earth’s crust. Looking into these rocks is like going back in time when the world is totally different from what we have now.

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Natural Wonders of Japan to see in the Shikoku Region

  1. Omogo Gorge
  2. Chichibugahama Beach
  3. Tatsukushi Coast

One of my dreams for my country, the Philippines, is for it to prosper. Have its islands be connected by bridges and trains. Like Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku.

Shikoku is one of the 5 major islands in Japan and is also considered another region in Japan. It is located east of Chugoku, connected by roads and trains.

This island of Shikoku is the second smallest among the five major islands in Japan. Yet, it is not to be underestimated or skipped as it also has “gems” that are really Instagram-worthy.

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Omogo Gorge

Location: Wakayama, Kumakogen, Kamiukena District, Ehime 791-1710, Japan

At the foot of the highest mountain in Western Japan, we can find a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) V-shaped gorge famous for its seasonal beauty. It is a national scenic sight with crystal clear blue waters and burning colors of autumn foliage in early November.

Omogo Gorge, Ehime Prefecture, Japan
Omogo Gorge
Omogo Gorge, Ehime Prefecture, Japan
Omogo Gorge

It is a good spot in Shikoku Region for relaxing and creating moments with nature. There are two trails in Omogo Gorge, the Hongyu Route and the other is Teppo Route.

Following the Honryu Route will lead us to scenic spots like Toraga-Taki, Mmmiji-Kogen, and Goshiki-Kawara. Meanwhile, the Teppo Route follows a trail along the Teppo River – a tranquil place to visit.

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Chichibugahama Beach

Location: Otsu Niocho Nio, Mitoyo, Kagawa 769-1404, Japan

One of the places in the world I really want to visit is the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the “largest” natural mirror in the world. Japan, however, has its own version of the Salar de Uyuni. It is called Chichibugahama Beach.

Chichibugahama Beach, Kagawa, Japan
Chichibugahama Beach, Kagawa, Japan
Chichibugahama Beach, Kagawa, Japan

It is one of the most beautiful places in Japan for sunset watching with the sun, and the colors of the sky are perfectly reflected on the water. Hence Chichibugahama Beach was included in the Top 100 Sunset Spots in Japan.

Just note that this scene does not happen every hour of the day. The mirror appears during low tide when the seawater subsides, revealing a sandy portion of the beach and turning the parts of the beach into pools.

The sand stops the waves from the sea, eventually calming the saltwater within the sands and turning it into a giant natural mirror. Also, the mirror only activates when no strong wind that is disturbing the stillness of the trapped seawater in the sands.

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Tatsukushi Coast

Location: 21 Tatsukushi, Tosashimizu, Kochi 787-0452, Japan

Another famous location where Japan has its miniature version is Taiwan’s Yehliu Geopark. It is a place where we can find strange rock formations caused by sea erosion. Japan’s version of the Geopark is called Tatsukushi Coast.

Weathered rocks in Tatsukushi Coast, Kochi, Japan
Rock with a face of a dog in Tatsukushi Coast, Kochi, Japan

Here we can find the strangely shaped rocks that began their formation 20 million to 15 million years ago. Some of the rock formations from this coast might scare people with trypophobia. Notice the weathering that occurred on the rocks.

Are they fascinating or scary? Either way, they are safe to visit, and nothing will come out of the holes when you touch them. Bring some of your friends and find out about different rock formations that match real-world objects.

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Japanese Natural Wonder in Kyushu Region

  1. Takachiho Gorge
  2. Gyukusendo Cave

We’ve come to the last portion of this article, and the last part of Japan, the southernmost region of Kyushu. This may be the last, but it is not the least. There is no “least;” everything is either stunning or awe-inspiring!

The island of Kyushu is like Shikoku, an “island region” in Japan too. Or maybe, an “archipelagic region” is more proper. Whatever! But, there are two things for sure. The region is volcanically active, and it has a lot of islands perfect for a getaway adventure!

Here are the natural attractions that await us in the Kyushu region:

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Takachiho Gorge

Location: Mukoyama, Takachiho, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki 882-1103, Japan

Takochiho Gorge is one of the most Instagrammable gorges we can find in Japan. The structure of the rocks in Takachico Gorge that walls the Gokase river is insane!

Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan
Dragon Scale in Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan
Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan

The gorge looks like a canal made by men. But then again, nature handcrafted it alone. The beguiling canyon cliffs were made of slow-forming volcanic basalt that solidified countless years ago during the formation of the earth’s crust. Some say they resemble the scales of a dragon, which I totally agree with.

What’s more fascinating about the gorge is that we’ll find a 17-meter tall waterfall in the middle of the canyon called Minainotaki waterfall. The whole scenery of the waterfall is even more beautified by the lush vegetation in the surrounding cliffs.

You can explore the canyon by boat or by hiking along the paved path everywhere in the canyon. But if you want to see the fascinating canyon walls’ close-up detail, you have to take the boat.

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Gyukusendo Cave

Location: Maekawa-1336 Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-0616, Japan

At the southernmost Okinawa prefecture lies another fantastic cave that will drop your jaw to the ground even if you’re already underground! LOL. Just kidding! It’s just the caves are otherworldly, and they always have unrealistic beauty that surprises.

Squeezing Curtain, Gyukusendo Cave, Okinawa, Japan
Squeezing Curtain, Gyukusendo Cave
Blue Fountain, Gyukusendo Cave, Okinawa, Japan
Blue Fountain, Gyukusendo Cave
Ceiling of Spears, Gyukusendo Cave, Okinawa, Japan
The ceiling of Spears, Gyukusendo Cave

Despite being on a small island, the Gyukusendo Cave in Okinawa is the second-longest cave in Japan. It has a total length of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), but only 850 meters (2788 ft) is open to the public.

The cave has been creating stunning stalactites and stalagmites for over 300,000 years now. What makes them even more fascinating is it is actually limestone cave grown on a coral reef!

You don’t have to worry about tripping over a rock or bringing a flashlight inside. Exploring the cave is not hard as it is already well maintained with paved paths and has lights all over. Three of the most famous parts of the cave that you should not miss here are:

  1. Blue fountain
  2. Ceiling of Spears
  3. Squeezing Curtain

Final Thoughts

Alright! Thanks for sticking with me on this post until the southernmost portion of Japan. I hope that this post gave you an idea of where to go to Japan… or at least inspired you to visit Japan.

If you ask me, “what natural attraction in Japan is my favorite?” I’d pick Kamikochi. Because mountains are so special to me. But I’m blown away by some of Japan’s waterfalls and rock formations. They are truly wondrous, and seeing such a spectacle is a life fulfillment!

Mount Goryu, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan
Mount Goryu

So, how about you, what natural attraction in Japan do you want to visit next? Write it down in the comment section below! I will be waiting for your answer 😀

Thanks for reading, have safe travels!

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Natural Wonders of Japan

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