When it comes to tourist destinations, Japan’s cities clearly make the most of their global media attention. In fact, Tokyo and Kyoto were even voted as the best cities outside of the US by the readers of Conde Nast Traveller. Tokyo is particularly known for its ultramodern, neon-lit skyscrapers, while Kyoto is home to many well-preserved cultural attractions.
The results of polls like this reflect how Japan is perceived in popular culture worldwide. With Tokyo and Kyoto among the most well-known, Japanese references often appear in the Western world via iconic imagery associated with their ancient ancestors.
For instance, Hollywood films like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Memoirs of a Geisha show this striking duality on how global audiences and travellers imagine Japanese society. Additionally, renowned European online gaming platform Slingo has titles like Samurai Ken and Hanzo’s Dojo that pay tribute to the country’s ancient traditions, while Rampage Riches is inspired by Japan’s urban aesthetic. While these are still accurate depictions, they only represent a facet of Japan. For the most authentic experience, it goes without saying that seeing the two aforementioned cities first-hand takes the experience to another level.
So, what exactly does Japan have in store for outdoor enthusiasts?
Camping in Takihata
If you love being mesmerised by the tranquility of waterfalls, you might want to visit Takihata village in Kawachinagano. There are 48 waterfalls in the area, including the Kotaki, Otaki, Gokotaki. These waterfalls are 15 to 40 minutes away from designated campsites, which means you can spend the night in this scenic area before going on a hike to each of the breathtaking waterfalls the next day.
Strolling in Hitachinaka
Autumn is the best time to visit Hitachinaka because the season brings about sees vast fields of kochia fill the Hitachi Seaside Park. These are cute pom pom-like plants that turn crimson in October. However, Atlas Obscura notes that the park’s hills are full of flowering plants all year round, so even if you can’t visit during Autumn, you can still enjoy the unique scenery. For the best views of the whole area, don’t pass up the chance to hop on the park’s Ferris wheel.
Sandboarding in Tottori
You might not expect to see sand dunes in Japan, but they can actually be found in the Tottori prefecture. According to Japan Guide’s overview of the Tottori Sand Dunes, tide movements and the wind cause the sand dunes to change shape constantly. Visitors can enjoy the area’s desert-like atmosphere by going on camel rides or even sandboarding. Another attraction to check out is the Sand Museum, which showcases massive sand sculptures by artists from around the globe.
Trekking in Shikoku
If you ever have the privilege of visiting Shikoku, there is a pilgrimage you can take that lets you circle the entire island. This 800-mile long trek will take you to 88 temples. The catch, however, is that it will take about six weeks to finish. Of course, there are shorter treks available, including day hikes. But if you are feeling adventurous or you’re interested in Japan’s temples, this tour is definitely for you.
Skiing in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is known for its powder by skiers and snowboarders worldwide. To experience this quality snow yourself, you can head over to Niseko or Rusutsu, which are the more renowned ski resorts in the area. These resorts have facilities like hot springs and restaurants that will make your stay very much worthwhile. Since they are popular with foreign visitors, they also employ English-speaking staff.