Japan’s 34 national parks are truly some of the most beloved national treasures in the country and it may be surprising to know that you can find everything from sub arctic drift ice to subtropical beaches all in one destination. Don’t let Japan’s size fool you, this island nation offers a diverse range of climate options with even more diverse activities to choose from. Whether you’re summiting peaks, hiking through ancient forests, observing precious wildlife, or appreciating breathtaking coastlines, Japan’s national parks are a great place to take in the country’s natural beauty. Here are just a few guided experiences that you can look forward to when visiting Japan’s national parks. For more comprehensive information on planning your national park visit in Japan, visit: https://www.japan.travel/national-parks/
Nature Walking in Shiretoko
The UNESCO World Heritage Shiretoko Peninsula is a wild and rugged environment that has been largely left untouched and is home to many plants and animals, many of which are endemic to this region. Here you can enjoy a guided nature trek through the forest where you will have the opportunity to see deer, different birds of prey, Hokkaido squirrels and other animals. The tour is gentle enough for seniors and children to participate as well and the trekking season generally runs April – November.
Cycling the Shimanami Kaido
Setonaikai National Park is known not only for its sweeping views of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea and its many islands but also for the Shimanami Kaido, an impressive bridge that spans from Hiroshima on mainland Honshu to the smallest of Japan’s 4 main islands, Shikoku. The bridge features a 70-kilometer cycling route popular with tourist and locals alike that also offers amenities such as bicycle rental shops and even cycling hotels along the way. Rented cycles can be picked up or returned at any of the 13 terminals along the route and the stunning seaside views are not to be missed.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Uradome Coast
Fewer tourists reach the Sea of Japan side of the country and in many ways, they are missing out on spectacular seaside destinations such as Tottori’s Uradome Coast. The crystal clear waters make for the perfect stand up paddle boarding and kayaking and it is easy to master even for beginners and first-timers. The 2-hour tour allows you to paddle around the hidden inlets and rugged coastline with its surprisingly calm waters. It’s a great way to soak up the sun away from the usual tourist traffic.
Trekking and Packrafting on Lake Chuzenji
Japan’s highest altitude lake, Chuzenji is located in Nikko National Park and is an excellent place to escape the humid weather of summer or enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage in the fall. Here you can embark on a 3.5-hour trek with a knowledgeable guide through Nikko’s stunning beech forests to Lake Chuzenji where you will assemble your pack raft and enjoy the lake’s tranquil waters as you take in the beautiful mountain backdrop.