close

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
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 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
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. 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
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. 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
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
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 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

NAGASAKI Nagasaki Islands

Marine playground and former haven of Secret Christianity

Situated in the East China Sea, the Nagasaki Islands are famed for their clear waters, stunning vistas, relaxed vibe and mouth-watering cuisine. Most famous are the Goto Islands, technically a chain of over 100 islands and part of Saikai National Park, but usually referring to the five most famous in the group.

Don't Miss

  • Kibinago, a silver-striped rounded herring, and Goto delicacy
  • Diving in the coral reefs of Rojojima
  • Osazeki Lighthouse, a favorite among tourists
  • Touring many of the islands' Catholic churches

How to Get There

Access the islands by air, ferry or jetfoil.

The island of Fukue has its own airport, with daily flights scheduled from Nagasaki and Fukuoka.

Ferries and jetfoils run to the islands from Nagasaki Ferry Terminal, with journeys ranging from 90 minutes to 3-4 hours. Note that the jetfoils tend to be canceled in inclement weather.

Ferries also run between the islands themselves. For travel on the islands, rental car is the most convenient due to infrequent public transport.

Go fish

The Goto Islands are famed for their azure waters and deliciously fresh seafood. A mecca for marine sports, indulge in whatever takes your fancy. With bathing, canoeing, and coral reef diving all popular pastimes, the islands are also host to many excellent fishing spots.

For the more sedate traveler, step onto the pristine sands of Takahama Beach on Fukue Island and you may not want to leave.

Spectacular sunsets await

If undulating waters don't tempt you, picture-perfect sunsets might.

Facing the East China Sea, and also on Fukue, Osezaki Lighthouse sits atop precipitous cliffs. Whichever way you look stunning scenery greets you: rolling hills, turquoise seas and outstanding views that extend into the distance.

Island faith

A safe haven for persecuted Christians in the 17th century, the islands are dotted with over 50 churches of all shapes and sizes boasting historical and architectural appeal. Some are awaiting UNESCO heritage status.

Constructed after Japan's ban on Christianity was lifted, the churches are testament to the dedication of their followers.

While the history of Japan's hidden Christianity is fascinating in itself, be sure to note the subtle nuances in church design and architecture.

Real-life inspired art

In 2013 the Goto Islands served as the backdrop for a comedic manga and anime, Barakamon. Following the story of a young man banished to the islands, the artwork is populated with local attractions and scenes from daily island life.

Further afield

If you really want to get away from it all, consider a journey to Iki and Tsushima, the most distant of Nagasaki's islands.

While Iki is known for its beaches and breathtaking coastlines, the mountainous Tsushima is a favorite with bird watchers, fishermen and hikers alike.

Because of its proximity to Korea, it's also possible to make a day trip from Tsushima to the Korean mainland and vice versa. On clear days, look out for the South Korean shoreline and try to see the buildings on its shores.

Keywords