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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

HOKURIKU SHINETSU Toyama Rural bliss from coast to peak

Famed for its Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and towering snow walls, Toyama radiates color with its seasonal flowers, autumn foliage and picture-perfect landscape

Toyama is part of Japan's snow country, and perhaps at its most beautiful in winter when the thatch-roofed houses of Gokayama conjure images of Lapland. When the snow begins to melt, the Tateyama Mountains and various gorges draw nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts for scenic hikes, mountain exploration and casual hot spring getaways. While in the area, keep your eye out for bronzeware, wood carvings and other traditional crafts with centuries-long histories.

How to Get There

Toyama is easily accessible by bullet train from Kanazawa, Nagano, Tokyo and other stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line. Express buses also connect Toyama with Matsumoto and other transport hubs near and far.

From Tokyo, the bullet train takes two and a half hours. From Osaka and Kyoto, you can take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express to Kanazawa after which it is a 20-minute ride on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Toyama Station. Highway buses run from Nagoya (three hours) and Nohi express buses connect Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture with Toyama City.

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Don't Miss

    Trekking the Tateyama Mountains and visiting a volcanic crater lake
    The enormous towering snow walls of the alpine route's snow corridor, open in spring
    Kurobe Dam, an impressive feat of engineering and the tallest in Japan
    The World Heritage villages of Suganuma and Ainokura, collectively known as Gokayama
    Cherry blossom viewing by boat along the Matsukawa river

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    While most of Japan goes crazy with cherry blossom fever in April, visitors flock to Toyama to see the 20-meter tall snow walls in the Tateyama Mountains—a lingering testament to the severity of winter in the Japan Alps.

  • Summer

    Cool down with refreshing breezes—or lingering snow—in the Tateyama Mountains. Visit Kurobe Dam or hang out on the coast at Kaiwomaru Park, home to an impressive 29-sail galley from a bygone era.

  • Autumn

    Temperatures cool off quickly in Toyama, which gives the October fall foliage an especially pronounced hue. The thatched-roofed houses in Gokayama are just waiting to be photographed. For invigorating fall hikes, head to Kurobe Gorge.

  • Winter

    Winter is severe in Toyama with Siberian winds and blankets of snow. Copy the locals and ski, snowboard or enjoy scenic snowscapes—particularly pleasurable from a steaming outdoor hot spring.