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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

GUIDE July

The rain subsides and the heat picks up

By early July, the rainy season has either ended or is winding down. Temperatures and humidity rise steadily and summer gets into full swing. Popular pastimes include mountain hikes, beach trips, baseball and beer gardens. Be sure to include a selection of light clothing when you pack and don't spare the sun block.

Tips

  • The beginning of July is the tail end of the rainy season in central and northern Japan
  • There will be good hiking options nearby wherever you are based
  • Swimming at beaches and waterparks is a good way to stay cool

Japan's best beaches are without doubt in Okinawa

Beaches and bathing

While Okinawa has the most beautiful beaches in Japan, the heat and humidity in July can be a deal breaker for some. You'll find popular beaches in Chiba, Wakayama, and Fukuoka, however, and other coastal areas like Kamakura naturally have them as well. Nearly all beaches open for swimming season by early July.

Fukuoka has its fair share of sandy beaches

Though unknown to most international visitors, Japan's thriving water and spa theme park industry is worth checking out. Nagashima Spaland in Mie combines swimming pool, onsen, and amusement park areas into one massive complex for a full day of aquatic amusement. Other parks like Spa World in Osaka and Hakone Kowakien Yunessun in Hakone feature swimming pools and quirky, themed bathing facilities.

Bathing options at Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

Island hopping

An island nation, Japan has endless island-hopping opportunities. Visit art islands in the Seto Inland Sea, healthy coral reefs and uninhabited islands in Okinawa, and Jurassic Park-esque volcanic islands south of Tokyo. Ferry services to, from and between islands operate at their peak in July and August.

Explore the rugged volcanic islands south of Tokyo as far as Hahajima and Chichijima

Higher ground

Another great way to beat the heat is to head to one of Japan's many mountain ranges. High altitude locations are much cooler than cities and offer popular forms of recreation like hiking, rock climbing, and canyoning. If you consider the mountains a priority, consider a trip to the Northern Japan Alps.

Escape to the Northern Japan Alps for breezy mountain hikes

The Chubu Sangaku National Park spans several prefectures and includes popular destinations like Kamikochi, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Hakuba Village. With activities ranging from multi-day hikes, technical climbing and even parasailing available, the sky's the limit for what you can experience. Just remember to check the weather and prepare appropriate gear.

Lakes and rivers

Adventurous travelers in search of refreshing summer activities will be pleased with the variety of kayaking, canyoning and rafting options around Japan. In the Minakami region of Gunma and the Iya Valley area in Tokushima, tour operators offer rafting excursions on the local rivers. In Wakayama, you can ride traditional log rafts down the Kitayama River or even complete part of a spiritual pilgrimage by small flat bottom boat on the UNESCO-listed Kumano River.

Rafting from mild to wild in Tokushima

Elsewhere, the famous ski resort areas of Niseko in Hokkaido and Hakuba in Nagano swap winter recreation for green season activities that include water sports. As in Gunma, melting snow from the mountains causes rivers to surge for vigorous rafting and kayaking in spring and calmer fare in summer.

Enjoy the green season in Hakuba

Suds in the sun

As the rainy season subsides, beer gardens open to thirsty patrons across the country. Rooftop locations offer gentle breezes and cityscape views. A quick search online and you should be able to find something in the city of your choice. Note that many beer gardens in Japan operate free-flow systems and assign customers a table for a fixed period.

For a slightly more educational beer experience, visit one of the breweries or beer museums around the country to learn more about the brewing process. The Sapporo Beer Museum in Hokkaido is particularly worth a visit if you find yourself in Sapporo.

The Sapporo Beer Museum is one of the highlights of a trip to Sapporo

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