Clear blue sky, festive mood for holidays and beaches ― summer is a perfect season to travel around Japan. Here we introduce beautiful nature spots, beaches, and historical sites all around Japan. Let’s decide where to go this summer from our list of the best summer destinations in Japan!
- 1. Miyako Island / Okinawa
- 2. Karuizawa / Nagano
- 3. Ise / Mie
- 4. Kurashiki / Okayama
- 5. Shodo Island / Seto Inland Sea
- 6. Lavender Field / Hokkaido
- 7. Tsunoshima Bridge / Yamaguchi
- 8. Niyodo River / Kochi
- 9. Sukkan Sawa / Tochigi
- 10. Hirugano Kogen / Gifu
- 11. Utsukushigahara/ Nagano
- 12. Kamikochi/ Nagano
- 13. Towada & Oirase/ Aomori
- 14. Kiyosato/ Yamanashi
- 15. Beauty Forest/ Niigata
- 16. Biei/ Hokkaido
- 17. Ryugashido Cave/ Shizuoka
- 18. Shikoku Karst/ Ehime
- 19. Iwami Ginzan Ryugenji Mabu / Shimane
- 20. Takachiho / Miyazaki
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1. Miyako Island / Okinawa
Miyako Island is a beautiful island that belongs to Miyako city in Okinawa prefecture. It boasts plenty of nature and indigenous species. There are numerous sightseeing spots which include white sandy beaches and scenic coasts. Irabu-Ohashi Bridge is a huge bridge that was completed in 2015. It is the longest bridge in Japan with a length of 3,540 meters, which connects the island with two other islands. You can cross it by car for free, and enjoy a stunning view of the ocean! During the summer season, many people visit there to enjoy swimming in the sea and exciting marine sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving!
2. Karuizawa / Nagano
Karuizawa is a mountainous resort area located in Nagano prefecture. It is known as a perfect place to spend the summer season because of the comfortable climate which is relatively cool and refreshing. Some people own vacation houses there and enjoy a relaxing time with their families during the summer holidays. There are also a number of tourist attractions that offer a variety of experiences in nature all year round, such as hiking, horse riding, flying squirrel watching tour, and kayaking in the lake.
In recent years, new shopping spots and restaurants are opened to welcome more tourists. Besides that, just strolling around the peaceful forest will give you a pleasant time away from busy life!
3. Ise / Mie
Ise refers to a coastal city located in Mie prefecture. It is widely recognized as a home to Ise Grand Shrine, one of the most important shrines in Japan. It is dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess and comprised of a number of historic structures. Once you cross the entrance bridge and take a first step into the shrine complexes, you can feel the sacred atmosphere. If you are interested in the Japanese Shinto religion and history, you should definitely visit here at least once in a lifetime.
Outside the shrine, there is a vibrant street called “Okage Yokocho” which is packed with gift shops and small stalls selling local specialties. It features reproductions of traditional houses and buildings back in the Edo period and the Meiji period, which creates an impressive townscape! It is enjoyable to walk around in the historical district while enjoying some street foods!
4. Kurashiki / Okayama
Located in the southern part of Okayama prefecture, Kurashiki is known for its beautiful historical townscape. Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter refers to a specific district full of traditional buildings such as old residences and storehouses back in the Edo period. This area once flourished as a center of distribution and trade of dairy commodities such as rice and cotton. It is officially designated as Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Visiting there allows you to spend a peaceful time and learn about the historical aspects of Japan.
5. Shodo Island / Seto Inland Sea
Shodo Island is a beautiful island located in the Seto Inland Sea. It boasts a large output of olives, which accounts for over 90% of the whole production in Japan. Because of the mild climate and the pleasant environment, it is visited by a number of tourists all year round!
There are also unique tourist attractions which include artworks that can be found everywhere on the island. As one of the main venues of the Setouchi International Art Festival (also known as “Setouchi Triennale”) which is held every three years, it fascinates tourists with a variety of exhibits some of which are displayed outside. They create an impressive view in harmony with scenic spots in nature. Another must-visit spot is Angel Road, it is a sand road that appears from the sea only at low tide twice a day. It is said that if you cross the road with your significant other with holding hands, the angel will make your dreams come true.
6. Lavender Field / Hokkaido
If you plan on visiting Japan in the summer, Hokkaido might be a perfect destination to escape from the heat. It boasts amazing seafood and plenty of nature and welcomes tourists with unique experiences that can be found only at this place. The Lavender field in Furano City is one of them, which offers a stunning view entirely colored in beautiful purple. Lavenders start to bloom in late June and fascinate tourists until the beginning of August.
Farm Tomita, a popular tourist attraction full of a large variety of seasonal flowers, is visited by a number of tourists all year round! Enjoy your peaceful time surrounded by lovely flowers waving in a pleasant summer wind.
7. Tsunoshima Bridge / Yamaguchi
Tsunoshima is a small island located in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi prefecture. In 2000, Tsunoshima Bridge was completed to connect the island with the main island of Japan, which made it much easier for tourists to visit there by car. During summer season, the 1,780 meters bridge is packed with a number of cars heading for the beautiful island with white sandy beaches and scenic spots in nature.
If you want to enjoy the entire view of the bridge, you can park your car at Amakaze Park in Shimonoseki City. It offers a panoramic view of the huge bridge and the emerald-green ocean. The symbolic bridge leading straight to the island adds an artificial beauty that perfectly suits the surroundings!
8. Niyodo River / Kochi
Niyodo River is located in Kochi prefecture. It is claimed as one of the three biggest rivers in the Shikoku region along with Shimanto river and Yoshino river. It runs through Kochi and Ehime prefecture, and the quality of water is highly appreciated because of its cleanness, which was officially chosen as the best river in 2010! Depending on the weather and season, the color of the river changes continuously, reflecting the light of the sun. Dip your toe in the water and feel your body cool down after taking a relaxing stroll around!
9. Sukkan Sawa / Tochigi
Sukkan Sawa is an unexplored scenic spot in Tochigi prefecture. It is a beautiful photogenic gorge hidden in the deep forest which boasts a number of waterfalls and streams. As the water contains volcanic minerals and compositions, it is not suitable for fish to live in. However, the unique features create the blue water which occasionally looks white! Tourists can take a relaxing stroll along a pathway that leads to several waterfalls to see. This is exactly where nature remains as it is for centuries.
10. Hirugano Kogen / Gifu
Hirugano Kogen is a plateau located in Gujo city in Gifu prefecture. It is widely recognized as a famous ski resort during the winter season and is visited by many people to enjoy winter sports with the fine and soft snow. There are also other facilities that offer enjoyable outdoor activities such as golf, horse riding, tennis, BBQ, and more! As it rarely gets over 30℃ in summer, it becomes a popular destination for families to spend a memorable time in a comfortable environment during the summer season.
11. Utsukushigahara/ Nagano
Utsukushigahara is located in Nagano prefecture. There are cattle and horses grazing on the 2,000 meters high plateau and you can enjoy the gorgeous panoramic view over Japanese Alps. Take a nice and relaxing walk in Utsukushigahara and there are some spots to visit such as the Tower of Utsukushi and Ougato which is the highest peak where some radio towers stand in line. In the east of Utsukushigahara, you can go to The Utsukushigahara Open-Air Museum which has over 350 sculptures on the site. There are restaurants next to the museum to take a break and also you can see many different kinds of alpine flowers and plants on the museum site.
12. Kamikochi/ Nagano
Kamikochi is a popular destination to beat the summer heat. Taisho Pond is surrounded by mountains and woods. The breathtaking view of the reflection on the clear water is outstanding! This pond was made one night after the eruption of Mt.Yake over a hundred years ago. The recommended hiking trails are starting from Kappa Bridge and walk to Taisho Pond. It will take about 80 minutes and the length is about 4km in one way.
13. Towada & Oirase/ Aomori
One of the most beautiful lakes in Japan, Lake Towada is located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefecture. Oirase Stream runs from Lake Towa to Yakeyama and it is about 14km long. During the summer, you can enjoy the beautiful greenery with cool air. Walking around Oirase Stream is not hard, the trail is basically very smooth, so it is a great hiking course for everyone! You can see a beautiful stream flowing between rocks covered with moss and a dynamic splash at the waterfalls.
14. Kiyosato/ Yamanashi
Kiyosato highland is located in the southeast of Yatsugatake mountains in Yamanashi prefecture. It is 1,200m high and you can look over Mt.Fuji and the Japanese Alps. It takes only 2 or 2 and a half hours from the Tokyo area so if you live/stay around Tokyo, it is a good destination for a day trip. Our recommendation in Kiyosato is Kiyosato Terrace located at the highest point of the Kiyosato area with an altitude of 1,900m. Spend some time at a cafe having a good coffee where it feels like you are above the cloud!
15. Beauty Forest/ Niigata
Beauty Forest, Bijinbayashi in Japanse, is a forest of beech trees that can be seen in Niigata prefecture. People call it Beauty Forest because these 100 years old beech trees stand beautifully on the hill. It is said that the temperature in the forest is 2℃ lower than the surrounding area. You can feel the refreshing breeze through the trees. And don’t forget to bring your camera!
16. Biei/ Hokkaido
Hokkaido is the northernmost prefecture in Japan so you can easily imagine that it has a cooler climate than the other areas. The average temperature in Biei is around 25℃ and it is the best place to escape from the heat. Biei is known for the beautiful pond called Shirogane Blue Pond. It’s a 30-minute drive from the lavender field in Furano, so we recommend going there together.
17. Ryugashido Cave/ Shizuoka
This limestone cave in Shizuoka prefecture is believed to be 250 million years old and is one of the biggest limestone caves in central Japan with a length of 1,000 meters long. A part of it is open to the public and inside the cave, the temperature is only 18℃ throughout the year, so it is like a natural air conditioner in summer! Walk through the narrow way and explore the cave, the biggest attraction in the cave is the waterfall with colorful lights. Also, go to Yokitado (Welcome Cave), which is known as a “cool spot” where you can enjoy dipping your feet in the cold water and wind coming from the limestone cave!
18. Shikoku Karst/ Ehime
Shikoku Karst is located between Ehime and Kochi prefecture. People call it Japanese Switzerland from the beautiful panoramic view at the altitude of 1,000-1,500m. Limestone rocks are dotted on the plain and you can see cattle grazing around. It makes you feel like time stops for a moment and you can forget your hectic life in the city.
19. Iwami Ginzan Ryugenji Mabu / Shimane
Iwami Ginzan is a historic silver mine in the mountain located in Shimane prefecture. There are over 900 mine tunnels discovered in Iwami Ginzan and Ryugenji Mabu is the only tunnel you can visit throughout a year. This mine tunnel opened in the 18th century and until the mine closed in 1943, it had been developed for 230 years. The length is about 600m long and many silver ores could be dug out. You can still see the marks of chisels on the wall ―people used only chisels and hammers to make a tunnel.
Iwami Ginzan is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
20. Takachiho / Miyazaki
Takachiho Gorge is the most popular attraction in the Takachiho area in Miyazaki prefecture.
You can rent a rowboat to get to the waterfall. Takachiho is famous for Japanese mythologies and spiritual spots. You can fully recharge in this beautiful nature!
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Other summer articles to read
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