47 Tourist Attractions in Japan's 47 Prefectures

Japan consist of islands stretched across north and south. And thanks to such geographical trait and difference in climate, each prefecture has its own unique features. We have selected one must-see tourist attraction for each and every prefecture.

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1.【Hokkaido】 Mount Hakodate 函館山

Mount Hakodate (Hakodate Yama) is a very popular tourist spot with one of the most beautiful night views in the world. Check the weather forecast before you go so that you can enjoy the clear and stunning view on a fine evening. The view is also amazing from the ropeway.

Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido

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2.【Aomori】Hirosaki Castle 弘前城

Hirosaki-jyo is renowned for cherry blossoms in springtime and its beautiful castle tower. There are approximately 2600 cherry trees surrounding the castle. Many tourists come and visit when Hirosaki Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival takes place. Cherry blossoms and sakura is a classic combination yet one of the picturesque cultural settings of Japan.

1-1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori

3.【Iwate】Chūson-ji Konjiki-dō 中尊寺金色堂

The so-called Golden Hall of Chuson-ji is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built in 1124, depicting the Land of Happiness in Buddhism. It is so meticulous you wouldn't think it was built almost 1000 years ago. Definitely worth paying a visit.

202 Hiraizumi-Koromonoseki, Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate

4.【Miyagi】Matsushima 松島

If you like typical Japanese scenic islands, Matsushima is the place to be. It is counted as one of the 3 most picturesque sites in Japan. There are around 260 islands on Matsushima Bay. The view of both sunrise and sunset are simply breathtaking and will remain in your memory for a very long time. The National Treasure Zen temple Zuigan-ji is in the area.

Matsushima-cho, Miyagi-gun, Miyagi

5.【Akita】Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum (Namahage Museum) 男鹿真山伝承館

You can watch Namahage in action at this museum. They are local ritual creatures in Akita and are said to punish the evil whilst bringing luck to the household. They look rather scary but why not ask them to bring you good fortune?

97 Aza-Mizukuisawa, Shinzan, Kitaura, Oga-shi, Akita

6.【Yamagata】Risshaku-ji 立石寺

 

Risshaku-ji is an Important Cultural Property standing on the peak of the mountain. It was founded approximately 1100 years ago. You need to climb 1015 to get there but you won't regret it.

4456 Yamadera, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

7.【Fukushima】Goshiki-numa 五色沼

 

かがみ~/Flickr

Goshiki-numa are ponds that change colors from time to time. They can be various shades of blue, red, green, depending on the size of water particles. It is relaxing to stroll around such colorful ponds. They are particularly colorful and beautiful in fall with reflection of colored leaves.

Kitashiobara-mura, Maya-gun, Fukushima

8.【Ibaraki】Hitachi Seaside Park 国営ひたち海浜公園

There are various flowers blooming throughout the season at this national park. The flowerbeds are as vast as 200 hectares. The best time to visit is fall when the crimson color of burning bush plants are spectacular. In early summer approximately 4.5 million nemophila plants are in full bloom with pretty blue flowers, which is also very stunning.

605−4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaraki

9. 【Tochigi】Nikko Toshogu 日光東照宮 

Nikko Toshogu is the burial place of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (the Edo Era). Lately the site is becoming popular as a "power spot", a trending term in today's Japan as a site for gaining positive vibes. Here you can spectate traditional Yabusame, a traditional form of archery with an archer on the back of a running horse shoots three arrows to three respective targets.

2301 Sannai, Nikko-shi, Tochigi

10.【Gunma】Kusatsu Onsen 草津温泉

Kusatsu Onsen is the area of natural hot spring located at the highest altitude in Japan. There are more than 100 sources of hot spring water attracting many visitors all year round. There is Kusatsu Kokusai Ski Resort in the area so you can relax in a hot spring bath after skiing.

28 Kusatsu-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma

11.【Saitama】Railway Museum 鉄道博物館

Japanese railway system is known worldwide for its punctuality and preciseness. You can see how Japanese rail transport system evolved at this museum. Here you can even have a train driver experience or ride on a historic carriage so it will be a fun day out even if you are not a railway fanatic.

3-47 Onari-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama

12. 【Chiba】Narita-san Shinsho-ji 成田山新勝寺

This is a temple with a history of more than a millennium. Many worshippers visit from around the nation. Its premises is as vast as 2 million square meters. The adjacent Narita-san Park is beautiful in fall with colored leaves.

1 Narita, Narita-shi, Chiba

13.【Tokyo】Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー

This is THE place to visit when you're in Tokyo. It is 634 meters in height, making it the world's highest broadcasting tower. The view of the capital from the panorama deck will take your breath away. There are also shopping mall and planetarium so you can enjoy anyway you want.

1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

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14.【Kanagawa】Minato Mirai 21 みなとみらい21

Being one of the popular cities among overseas tourists, Yokohama has many places of interest and MM21 is certainly the spot not to be missed. Strolling around various commercial buildings and amusement facilities is the modern style of enjoying Yokohama. Riding the ferris wheel is also fun particularly in the evening.

Minatomirai, Nishi-ward, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

15.【Niigata】Takada Park 高田公園

If you are in Japan during spring or summer, visit Takada Park- you won't regret it. With approximately 4000 cherry trees on site, it is counted as one of the three spectacular night views with cherry blossoms in Japan. It also featured as one of the 5 places in the world to visit during flower festivals on CNN. In summer water lilies bloom around the outer moat of the castle which is reputed as one of the most beautiful sceneries in Asia.

Motoshiro-cho, Joetsu-shi, Niigata

16.【Toyama】Kurobe Dam 黒部ダム

The height of Kurobe Dam holds the national record of 186 meters. Despite the hardship during the construction between 50s and the early 60s, the dam has contributed to the stable supply of electricity in Kansai area. Try and visit between June and October when the floodgates are released to discharge gallons of water. The view is awe-inspiring.

Ashikuraji, Tateyama-machi, Nakaniikawa-gun, Toyama

17. 【Ishikawa】Kenroku-en 兼六園

Kenroku-en is one of the popular Japanese style gardens among overseas visitors. One of the attractive aspects is that the scene of the garden changes throughout the year hence each time you visit it will never be the same. You will feel refreshed both physically and mentally as you walk through this wide, beautiful garden.

1 Kenroku-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

18.【Fukui】Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum 福井県立恐竜博物館

This museum is one of the largest dinosaur museums in Japan with over 40 thousand items on exhibition. There are 42 recreation of dinasours' bone structures and you can learn features and characteristics of each dinosaur. Enjoy the world of "Jurassic Park" at this museum!

51-11 Terao, Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui

19.【Yamanashi】Fuji-Q Highland 富士急ハイランド

If you want to visit an amusement park in Japan, try Fuji-Q Highland. Thrill rides here are not for the faint-hearted! Roller coasters like FUJIYAMA and Takabisha are some of the popular attractions. You won't get bored even if you spend all day.

5-6-1 Shin-Nishihara. Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi

20.【Nagano】Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort 野沢温泉スキー場

This is one of the major ski resorts in Japan and popular among skiers from abroad too. The snow here is 100 per cent genuine with no artificial snow. You can also enjoy the off-season by going on a gondola ride.

7653 Toyosato, Nozawa Onsen, Shimotakai -gun, Nagano

 

21.【Gifu】Shirakawa-go 白川郷合掌造り集落

Shirakawa-go is a collective site of historic villages. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The area consists of traditional Gassho-style houses with thatched roofs, making you feel nostalgic of good old days in a Japanese countryside. The view in winter will be as if a picture from an old Japanese folklore book is in front of your very eyes.

Shirakawa-mura, Oono-gun, Gifu

22.【Shizuoka】Koibito Misaki 恋人岬

The place literally translates as Two Lovers' Point, visited by countless number of couples. You can enjoy a panoramic view of Mount Fuji from the cape. There is a bell which commemorates the sister cape of Two Lovers Point in Guam. Many couples have wedded here so love is definitely in the air.

3135-7 Koshimoda, Izu-shi, Shizuoka

23.【Aichi】Inuyama Castle 犬山城

Inuyama-jyo has the oldest surviving castle tower in Japan which is designated as the national treasure. Historically the castle had gone through a number of wars but it has somehow managed to escape from destruction. There are many visitors coming to the castle tower to enjoy the panoramic views of the castle ground and the surrounding area at all times.

65-2 Inuyama Kitakoken, Inuyama-shi, Aichi

24.【Mie】Ise Jingu 伊勢神宮

Ise Jingu is said to be as powerful 'power spot' as Izumo Taisha. The tranquil air surrounding the shrine will cut you off from the humdrum of everyday life. It is a perfect location to regain your energy and to reset yourself. This is the sacred place any Japanese would have wanted to visit 'once in a lifetime' since the ancient times. Why not join the pilgrimage when you are visiting Japan? 

1 Ujitachi-cho, Ise-shi, Mie

25.【Shiga】Koka no Sato Ninja Village 甲賀の里 忍術村

Ninja is world-famous and so are the Koka-clan ninjas. This is a theme park where you can enjoy an interactive Ninja experience. You can even have a go at throwing a ninja star (shuriken). There is also a museum on site displaying historic documents and data of ninja.

394 Oki, Koka-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga

26.【Kyoto】Kinkaku-ji

This may not be news to many of you who know Japan inside out, but in Kyoto there is a temple made of gold. The name of this golden temple is Kinkaku-ji. It is best to see with your own eyes- it is far more grander than you see in pictures and captures your heart for sure. Kinkaku-ji is listed as the World Heritage Site.

1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

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27.【Osaka】Dotonbori 道頓堀

Osaka is the town of Kuidaore, a term for over indulgence in food and there are many eateries in Dotonbori. You can feel the spirit and culture of Osaka as you stroll down this lively district. The area is also very popular among overseas visitors.

Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

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28.【Hyogo】Himeji Castle 姫路城

This World Heritage Site- listed castle is said to be the most beautiful castle in Japan. It looks as if a white egret is about to fly by spreading its wings hence so-called 'The White Egret Castle'. Lights are lit at sunset so you can also enjoy the magnificent view at night.

68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo

29.【Nara】Todai-ji 東大寺

Todai-ji was built in the early 8th Century. The highlight of this temple is definitely Daibutsu, the Great Buddha which is a national treasure. It is 14.7 meters in height and 70 meters wide. The temple is listed as the World Heritage Site.

406-1 Zoshi-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

30.【Wakayama】Nachi Falls 那智の大滝

Being the largest in scale of all the waterfalls in the area surrounding Mount Nachi, the height of Nachi Falls is 133 meters. It is not just the height of the waterfall that is stunning, but also its beautiful scenery together with the three-storied pagoda. You can walk from a historic pilgrimage road of Kumano Kodo.

Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama

31.【Tottori】Tottori Sand Dunes 鳥取砂丘

Tottori Sand Dunes is the largest of its kind in Japan. The patterns on sand formed by the winds are visually stunning. There are basins called 'Suribachi' which are also formed by nature and equally extraordinary. Here you can enjoy a unique experience on a desert by riding on the back of a camel.

Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori

32.【Shimane】Izumo Taisha 出雲大社

This is yet another famous shrine as a 'power spot'. A gigantic Shimenawa , a ritual rope in Shinto religion, is of a scale you won't see elsewhere. The shrine has been believed to bring relationships- not just romantic relationships but of all kinds.

195 Kizukihigashi, Taisha-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane

33.【Okayama】Okayama Korakuen 岡山後楽園

This is one of the famous Japanese style gardens in the entire nation. Korakuen is huge- about 13.3 thousand square meters. That's three times the size of Tokyo Dome. It is also very beautiful and counted as one of the 3 picturesque gardens in Japan. The light-ups on summer nights create a wondrous world.

1-5 Korakuen, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama

34. 【Hiroshima】Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社

This beautiful shrine is floating on the sea with special atmospherics which makes it stand out from other Japanese shrines. Itsukushima Jinja was listed as the World Heritage Site in 1996. It stands on Miyajima Island. Here you can have a fun day out mingling with deer. 

1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima

35.【Yamaguchi】Tsunoshima Bridge 角島大橋

You will be amazed by the view from this large bridge between the main island and Tsunoshima. Driving through the bridge surrounded by sea is simply phenomenal so why not take a break from the busy everyday life and go for a liberating spin?

Hohoku-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi

36.【Tokushima】Kazura Bridge, Iya 祖谷のかずら橋

It's a 45-meter long suspension bridge made of vine. The vine bridge makes creaky noises as you walk across it. How scary is that! But don't worry, it's safe and you'll be glad with the experience.

162-2 Yamamurazentoku Nishiiya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima

37. 【Kagawa】Angel Road エンジェルロード(天使の散歩道)

Angel Road is a very romantic, sandy footpath that appears at low tide. Legend has it that if you walk across hand in hand with your loved one, an angel will appear. It's definitely a place to visit as a couple.

Tonosho, Shozu-gun, Kagawa

38. 【Ehime】Matsuyama Castle 松山城

Matsuyama castle stands on a vast site. It is one of the 3 major flatland-mountain castles in Japan. The castle tower is accessible via a ropeway. The view from the top is magnificent. You can also walk through the Japanese garden on site.

Marunouchi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime

39.【Kochi】Ryukado Cave 龍河洞(りゅうかどう)

Ryukado is definitely worth a visit when you are in Kochi. It is a grotto with a history of over 175 million years and designated as a special natural treasure. Come and feel the Mother Earth in this quiet grotto.

1424 Sakakawa, Tosa-Yamada-cho, Kami-shi, Kochi

40.【Fukuoka】Food Stalls 屋台行列

One of the attractions of Fukuoka is this open air food stalls. Stalls are portable and can be set up anywhere. If you are into ramen, there are many good ramen stalls in Fukuoka so why not give them a try?

Kokutai-doro area, Tenjin, Fukuoka

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41. 【Saga】Matsubara 虹の松原

The crescent-shaped area stretches 5 kilometers long along the coastline and is so-called Niji-no-Matsubara, the Rainbow Matsubara. The history of Matsubara goes back as far as the 17th century. You will feel the beauty of nature in the black pine forest.

Kagami, Karatsu-shi, Saga

42. 【Nagasaki】Gunkan-jima 軍艦島

With full of ruins, Gunkan-jima is a deserted island. Today's Gunkan-jima holds reminiscences of its glorious days prospering from the coal mining industry. There is a lot to see and to contemplate about this place. The island is also famous as a filming location.

Hashima, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki

43. 【Oita】Oita Marine Palace Aquarium Umitamago 大分マリーンパレス水族館 うみたまご

Around 15oo types of fish are on display. The theme of this aquarium is to "befriend animals". You can actually touch and interact with them. There is a zoo next door so you can spend time with wild creatures all day long.

Takasakiyama-shita Kaigan, Oita-shi, Oita

44. 【Kumamoto】Kumamoto Castle 熊本城

Japan is famous for its castles. Along with Himeji Castle (as stated in above 28.), Kumamoto Castle is one of the 3 prominent castles of Japan. Try and visit here in springtime as the site looks splendid with surrounding cherry trees in full bloom. It is even selected as one of the top 100 locations for viewing cherry blossoms.

1-1 Honmaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto

45. 【Miyazaki】Takachiho Gorge 高千穂峡

According to an ancient myth, Takachiho is the place the God had descended. This is why the location is popular as a 'power spot'. The clear, mystic air could be sensed even through its photographs. The view of a national treasure-designated waterfall will purify your heart.

Mitai, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazak

46. 【Kagoshima】Sakurajima 桜島

Sakurajima is one of the 16 Decade Volcanoes in the world. Formerly a distinct island, it has been connected to the peninsula of Kyushu Island after the eruption in 1914. However, it looks as though the island is still floating on the sea. Sakurajima is accessible by sea and the view from the ferry is stunning.

Sakurajima, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima

47. 【Okinawa】Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 沖縄美ら海水族館

This is one of the large-scaled aquariums in the world. Churaumi means "Beautiful Sea" in Okinawan dialect. Watching whale sharks swimming across you is quite astounding. Dolphin shows are also one of the main events at this aquarium.

424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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