Some planning in advance will help you maximize your time so that you don't miss out.
Browse through the many activities, guided experiences and itineraries below for ideas and inspiration.
Once you've arrived at a national park, we suggest making a visit to one of the many visitor information centers and ecomuseums within the parks one of your first stops. Pick up maps, get detailed information about events and activities in the local area, and check the current weather conditions.
The parks are a natural playground for adventure seekers. Soak in the spectacular beauty of Japan's mountains, rivers, lakes, coastlines and volcanoes on treks, kayaking and canoeing trips, sightseeing cruises and scenic drives.
Experience the highlights of each park with these selected itineraries. Get tips on what not to miss, where to stay and what to eat, and fully immerse yourself in the parks.
Experts and locals take you on walks and tours through the parks' forests, wetlands, fisheries and mountain ranges. These experts guide and impart knowledge about Japan's ecology, geology and wildlife that will make your trip memorable and meaningful.
The weather and conditions during each of the four seasons differ greatly depending on the location of the park. Although what to expect in each season varies, we've provided a general overview of the seasons throughout the parks in Japan. Just make sure to do your research and plan accordingly.
Snow covers the parks in Hokkaido, Tohoku and the northern Japan mainland. This is best time to set out on an adventure into Japan's winter wonderland. See breathtaking snowscapes—trees covered in frost, and snow blanketing mountains. In the southern areas and Okinawa, enjoy clear skies, great weather and wildlife.
Spring differs from place to place in the parks, but it's the best time for day hikes and spring skiing in the mountains, particularly in late March and early April. Backcountry skiing in the higher altitudes is also a possibility. May is a lovely time to travel the parks on mainland Japan—a time when you can the experience vibrant greens of the forests and the huge variety of rare species of flowers.
The characteristics of this season also differ depending on the location of the park. The northern parks and on mainland Japan offer camping, trekking, stargazing, and opportunities to spot wildlife. And in the subtropical climate of the south and Okinawan islands, there are endless opportunities for swimming, diving and marine adventures.
A great time to get oudoors in Japan's parks, but get ready for the temperatures to drop in alpine areas, especially in Hokkaido and the Alps. Don't underestimate the chance of snow in the mountains. In lower altitudes, it's a spectacular time to immerse yourself in fall foliage. You can still enjoy marine sports along the coast and southern islands but make sure to be aware of what water temperatures you are comfortable with and check the weather beforehand.
As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to the national parks of Japan are asked follow certain rules and guidelines to protect their safety, the safety of others, and the parks' natural biodiversity. The following guidelines will help keep you safe and preserve the natural environment of the parks for future generations.