Where to go in Japan other than Tokyo and Kyoto?

Where to go in Japan other than Tokyo and Kyoto?

Japan is a geographically and culturally diverse nation. There are numerous natural wonders in the nation that are worth visiting. Japan's rich culture, history, and traditional arts make it a popular tourist destination. Tokyo and Kyoto are two of the top tourist destinations in Japan. No one can dispute the beauty of these places, but popularity has brought an excess of visitors, which can occasionally be a problem if you value some solitude. Therefore, in addition to well-known sites like Tokyo and Kyoto, we have compiled a list of other fantastic locations in Japan that you may visit.

1. Senmaida Rice Terraces

The terraced hillside rice fields of Ishikawa-ken Prefecture, overlook the Sea of Japan and are situated on the Noto peninsula. This place is known for its zigzagging hillside rice paddies that contrast with the azure sea in a scene that attracts photographers from all over the world and was even designated as a "Special Place of Scenic Beauty."

Shiroyone Senmaida's beauty fluctuates significantly with the seasons. The hillsides are frequently covered in white snow in January and February. From the end of April to the beginning of July, the sea is the backdrop to an infinity pool effect created by the sunset reflecting on the water of the flooded rice paddies. The fields turn a brilliant green in the summer and then turn gold in August and September. Traditional wedding ceremonies are occasionally held on rice terraces during the warmer months. The Shinto deity of the rice fields bestows blessings on newlyweds there. After the rice has been harvested, from mid-October to mid-March, 25,000 solar-powered, color-changing LED lights are used to brighten the terraces at night. A sizable parking lot and a guest house for tourists are located close to the field. 

How to get there: The most practical means of transportation are a private vehicle or a rented car. To get here, take an express bus from Kanazawa City's JR Kanazawa Station. This bus, however, runs infrequently and requires numerous transfers.

2. Hell Peek Point

Visit Nokogiri Peak in Chiba Prefecture, where the renowned Hell Peek Point is located, if you want thrills. This place allows tourists to simultaneously enjoy two thrilling experiences: gazing out at the horizon and gazing down into hell.

Even though Mt. Nokogiri is a relatively low peak and the trek up it is not particularly challenging, what you see at the summit will leave you speechless. Its highest observation point is known as Jigoku Nozoki, which translates to "A glance into hell" in Japanese. The point's descriptive name presumably derives from the shivers and unsteadiness you get as you gaze out over a landscape that stretches to the horizon and realizes that the only thing standing between you and the canyon bottom below is a thin metal fence. However, once you get past the initial shakiness, you'll discover that it's one of the most beautiful sights you've ever seen. You can see as far as the Tokyo Skytree on clear days. It's a fantastic location for photographers to get beautiful images.

On the way down, look out for Nihonji Temple, a 1,300-year-old temple complex with a giant statue of Buddha carved out of the granite side of the mountain. Also, for a more comprehensive experience, don't forget to visit Chiba's Boso peninsula and the other vibrant flower beds scattered along the coast.

How to get there: By train or bus, it takes 90 minutes to get here from Tokyo. Several express train lines connect Tokyo Station and Hama-Kanaya. A different option is for travelers to take a bus from Shinjuku and Tokyo stations to the nearby city of Kisarazu, where they can start their journey to Mount Nokogiri.

3. Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Park

Every year, the Aomori Prefecture turns pink with cherry tree blossoms at the end of April and as a result, Hirosaki Park becomes the most well-liked tourist destination in the country around this time.

The cherry blossoms at Hirosaki Park are renowned as one of the top cherry blossom sights in Japan and are listed among the Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites in Japan. Hirosaki Park is home to 2600 trees with over 50 different types of cherry blossoms. During the annual Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place between April 23 and May 5th, the park receives around 2,000,000 visitors. Visitors can rent a small boat to paddle around the moat and watch the blossoms reflect in the water, visit at night to see the trees lit up, or see the grounds covered with blossoms.

How to get there: The park sits in the heart of Hirosaki city and is reachable by bus or train. From Hirosaki Station, take a bus for 15 minutes, then get off at the Shiyakusho-mae stop.

4. Kawachi Wisteria Garden

Located in the hills southwest of Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture lies the Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Garden. The garden is open to the public on a seasonal basis, once during the wisteria season, which normally peaks around late April to early May, and the other during the maple leaf season in the autumn.

The two tunnels formed of wisteria trees that are around 100 meters long and range in color from white to dark purple are the garden's most notable features. In addition, a group of sizable wisteria plants has grown together to create a huge dome of drooping flowers. A vantage point at the top of the hillside garden offers lovely views of the surrounding valley, which is also known for its bamboo groves, as well as the sea of wisteria flowers.

How to get there: The road leading to the park is regarded as being somewhat challenging. Visitors can arrive by train and then travel there by vehicle or bus from Yahata station. If taking a bus, it will take another 55 minutes of walking to get to the garden from the final stop (go at normal speed). Alternatively, a cab will cost you 3,500 JPY.

5. Tottori Sand Dunes

The most well-known tourist destination in Tottori is the Tottori Sand Dunes, with vast sand dunes located just outside the city center. They are up to two kilometers broad and 50 meters high, and they stretch along the Sea of Japan's shoreline for around 16 kilometers. They are part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park.

Between the visitor center and the ocean, there is a half-kilometer stretch of beach where the primary sightseeing area is located. This area is home to several of the biggest dunes, and from their summits, travelers may enjoy stunning views of the shore. You can also travel for several kilometers in practically every direction from here to explore the massive dunes.

There are a variety of additional things to explore. For those who are feeling more daring, local businesses offer sandboarding, a form of snowboarding, and camel and horse-drawn cart trips across the dunes. The Sakyu Center's observation platform, which is connected to the sand dunes via a chair lift, offers stunning views of the dunes.

How to get there: It takes a bus roughly 10 minutes to get there from Tottori Station.

6. “Snow Monster” on Mount Zao

Thousands of people come to ski on Mount Zao in Yamagata Prefecture and ride the cable car to witness the "snow monsters" or “Juhyo” forest each January through March. “Juhyo” or “ice tree” is formed from snow and ice deposited on the branches and trunks of trees. When storms and Siberian winds sweep through the Zao mountains in Yamagata during the winter, coating the trees in wet snow and ice, they become visible. This location appears to be a "snow monsters" woodland that draw visitors from all over the world to explore until the trees freeze and the snow turns white.

How to get there: From Tokyo, take the JR Yamagata Shinkansen to Yamagata, where you can change to a bus to get to Zao Onsen station. The journey takes 3.5 hours. The bus terminal is a 15-minute walk from Zao Onsen Ski Resort. To get to the snow monsters forest, take the cable car to Jizo Summit station.

7. Tateyama “Snow Wall”

The Tateyama Mountain Range in the Northern Japan Alps, which lies just to the north of the heart of Japan and rises to a height of 3,000 meters, has been worshipped for its unique terrain, which is claimed to represent both paradise and hell, since ancient times. To experience Tateyama nowadays is to be calmed by its magnificent natural surroundings. Following the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a gorgeous 90km route that may be traveled by train, bus, cable cars, and trolley buses, is a wonderful opportunity to take in the breathtaking natural splendor.

The Tateyama Murodo Plain, where the crystal-clear Mikurigaike Pond and lovely alpine flowers bloom in the summer, is located about halfway along the journey. The plain, which is 2,450 meters above sea level, is renowned for its frequent winter snowfall, which builds up in drifts to form a 500-meter-long corridor of snow. Between the middle of April and the middle of June, you may get a close-up view of the "Snow Walls," which can reach heights of 20 meters.

How to get there: From Dentetsu Toyam station, take the train to Murodo via the Alpine route, then the cable car, and lastly the bus to reach this renowned wall. It takes roughly 2.5 hours to get there.

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