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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
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

GUIDE September

Summer eases into autumn

Though nominally one of Japan's three autumn months, September can still be quite hot in much of Japan. Hokkaido is the exception where temperatures cool and the leaves begin to change color. Beach resorts tend to empty out as beach season is declared officially over, but beach trips are still a viable option with the added bonus of fewer crowds.

With summer holidays over and people returning to work and school, its not just the beaches that see fewer crowds, but much of Japan in general. Note that the weather is largely very good, but can be unpredictable with typhoons at their most frequent from late August and through much of September. Try to leave some flexibility in your itinerary in case a typhoon does happen to pass through while you are visiting.

Know Before You Go

  • Beaches and tourist attractions enjoy far fewer crowds than in August
  • The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival in Osaka is a must see for anyone in the area
  • Sports fans can choose between baseball games, a major sumo tournament in Tokyo and motor sports events at multiple circuits
  • Fall colors can be seen as early as the beginning of September in certain Hokkaido locations

Tokachidake Onsen and Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido welcome autumn before much of the rest of Japan

National sports—traditional and contemporary

Since its introduction to the country in 1872, baseball has been a staple of Japanese sport. Every year, 12 teams compete for league pennants and places in playoffs that conclude the season. With colorfully offbeat names like the Carps and Swallows, Japanese clubs also boast some of the most passionate (yet polite) sports fans in the world. If anything, the support culture is just as interesting as the games themselves.

Tokyo Dome is one of the country's largest stadiums and even has an amusement park on-site

Tickets for baseball games can often be bought ahead of time at convenience stores, and it's worth checking for availability even at short notice. If you're not a fan of baseball, consider a visit to Suzuka Circuit in Mie or Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi . Both offer a selection of motor sports events in September.

For a more traditionally Japanese sport, aim to be in Tokyo between September 9 and 23. The September sumo tournament takes place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium. Tickets may be purchased up to a month in advance. Find more about how to reserve your tickets here .

The Ryogoku Kokugikan is the venue for the September sumo tournament in Tokyo

Festival highlights around Japan

Though not on par with August, September has a fine matsuri season of its own. The Kazenobon Festival takes place in the Toyama City suburb of Yatsuo Machi on the first three days of September. With hundreds dancing in procession through streets lined with old wooden buildings, it's Toyama Prefecture's big annual festival.

Beauty in motion at the Kazenobon Festival in Toyama

One of urban Japan's most dramatic displays, The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival in Osaka thrills spectators with its display of portable shrines wheeled at breakneck pace through packed streets. Also in mid-September, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai combines live performances of yabusame (traditional horse archery) with solemn rites at an ancient shrine. Later in the month, Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima holds its Byakko Matsuri in which colorful processions bring different periods of local history to life.

Japan's festivals don't get much more energetic than the Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Late beach vacations and early fall colors

The tail end of summer and the very beginning of autumn, you can spend a few days hiking autumnal trails in Hokkaido followed by some downtime sunning yourself on a beach in western Japan or an island in the Pacific. Daisetsuzan National Park is one of the best places for early autumnal hikes in Hokkaido , with leaves turning at the beginning of the month and peaking around mid-September.

September scenery in Daisetsuzan National Park

Apart from the obvious contenders such as Okinawa and the islands off Kyushu , beach resorts on the Izu Peninsula and along the coast of Wakayama are good options. Not only do they boast nice beaches, but they also double as hot spring resorts with plenty of additional attractions nearby if the weather is not good for visiting the beach.

The town of Shirahama in Wakayama has beaches, hot spring baths and a zoo-safari-amusement park

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