National Parks/国立公園

Japanese National Parks

National Parks are areas designated by the government for protection and management in order to preserve the unique and beautiful nature of Japan for future generations. They include forests, farmlands, villages, and other diverse environments. Because Japan's National Parks encompass not only national and public lands but also private lands, many people live in them, and agricultural and forestry industries also thrive there. In 1931, the National Parks Act was passed, and in 1957 the Natural Park Act was extensively revised. As of 2022, 34 sites have been designated, ranging from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa and the Ogasawara Islands in the south.

Guidelines on How to Enjoy National Parks

A National Park is a unique and important place to be preserved for the future. Finding out why a park might be registered as a National Park can only deepen your understanding of Japan. In National Parks, there are rules that must be followed in accordance with the Natural Park Act.

Main rules in National Parks:
- Never remove plants or animals.
- Do not take home any rocks.
- No camping or bonfires except in designated areas.
- Use the facilities with care, and especially refrain from leaving graffiti.
- Do not feed wild animals.

Other guidelines include not entering areas where trespassing is prohibited, bringing a portable toilet since there are no restrooms in some places, walking on wooden paths and set trails without deviating from them, always taking your garbage with you, and being extremely careful not to cause accidents. Be sure to follow specific rules set in each place.

Major National Park Highlights in the Chubu Region

Shizuoka

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (Shizuoka, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi)
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park consists of Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and its surrounding lakes and plateaus; Hakone, which has long been considered a strategic location for lodging; the Izu Peninsula, known for its beautiful coastline and hot springs; and the Izu Islands, which still have volcanic activity. The area around Mt. Fuji, Hakone, and Izu Peninsula all belong to Shizuoka Prefecture.

Minami Alps National Park (Shizuoka, Yamanashi, Nagano)
Minami Alps National Park is a mountain park centered on the Akaishi Mountains that run north to south through central Honshu. It has 3,000-meter mountains and features the headwaters of the Oi, Tenryu, and Fuji Rivers, and is characterized by many V-shaped valleys created by river erosion. The park also has the distinction of forests covering the area up to the ridge line due to low snow accumulation. Mount Akaishi, which rises 3,121 meters above sea level, and other mountains over 3,000 meters high, such as Mount Hijiri and the three Warusawa peaks, are located on the border with Nagano Prefecture.

Nagano

Joshinetsu Kogen National Park (Nagano, Gunma, Niigata)
The Joshinetsu Kogen National Park is a vast expanse consisting of 2,000-meter-high mountains and plateaus, including the 2,568-meter-high Mount Asama, Tanigawa Mountain Range, Mt. Naeba, Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane, and others. Located on the border with Niigata Prefecture, the 2,145-meter-high summit of Mount Naeba is home to an extensive high-altitude marshland where numerous highland plants grow. Mt. Asama is one of the world's most active volcanoes, located on the border of Gunma Prefecture. It is a stratovolcano consisting of Mt. Kurofu, Mt. Maekake, Mt. Kama, Hotokeiwa Lava Bulge, Mt. Sekison, and Mt. Koasama. It is also a treasure trove of alpine flora, wildlife, and other precious creatures.

Myoko Togakushi Renzan National Park (Nagano and Niigata)
Myoko Togakushi Renzan National Park is small in size, but it features a combination of volcanoes, non-volcanic mountains, plateaus, and small swamps that create a unique natural landscape. Iizuna Plateau, an expanse 900 to 1,100 meters above sea level dotted with marshlands and ponds, and Togakushi Shrine, devoted to mountain worship, are among the many attractions in Nagano City.

Chubu-Sangaku National Park (Nagano, Gifu, Toyama and Niigata)
Chubu-Sangaku National Park occupies the entire Northern Alps and consists of many famous mountains in the 3,000-meter-high range. There are many sights to be seen, like Mt. Norikura, whose main peak is the 3,026-meter-high Kengamine; Mt. Hotaka, with its 3,190-meter-high Okuhotaka; and the 2,932-meter-high Mt. Shirouma, the highest peak in the Ushiro-Tateyama Mountain Range; not to mention the beautiful valley of Kamikochi.

Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (Nagano, Saitama, Tokyo, Yamanashi)
Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is characterized by the Okuchichibu collection of 2,000-meter-high mountains, including the 2,601-meter-high Kita Okusenjo, and lovely mountain streams. Located on the border with Yamanashi Prefecture, the area is home to the 2599-meter-high Mt. Kinpu, the highlight of the Okuchichibu region and an object of worship since ancient times, as well as the Jumonji Pass, where famed rhododendrons grow in clusters, located on the border with Saitama Prefecture.

Minami Alps National Park (Nagano, Shizuoka, Yamanashi)
Minami Alps National Park is a mountain park centered on the Akaishi Mountains that run north to south through central Honshu, the main island of Japan. It has 3,000-meter mountains and contains the headwaters of the Oi, Tenryu, and Fuji Rivers, and is characterized by many V-shaped valleys created by river erosion, and forests covering the area up to the ridge line due to low snow accumulation. Mt. Senjogatake, known as the "Queen of the Southern Alps" for her graceful 3,033-meter-high silhouette, and the sharply pointed 2,967-meter-high Mt. Kaikomagatake are located on the border with Yamanashi Prefecture, while the 3,121-meter-high Mt. Akaishi, Mt. Hijiri, the three Warusawa mountains, and other mountains over 3,000 meters high, adorn the border with Shizuoka Prefecture.

Gifu

Chubu-Sangaku National Park (Gifu, Nagano, Toyama, Niigata)
Chubu-Sangaku National Park occupies the entire Northern Alps and consists of famous mountains in the 3,000-meter-high range. Attractions include Mt. Yarigatake, the fifth highest mountain in Japan with a 3,180-meter-high, spear-like peak; Mt. Norikura, with 23 peaks including the 3,026-meter-high main peak Kengamine, seven crater lakes, and eight plains; and the Shin Hotaka Ropeway, which climbs to 2,156 meters above sea level and offers a spectacular view from its observation deck, awarded two Michelin stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.

Hakusan National Park (Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui)
Hakusan National Park is a highly natural National Park known as a habitat for alpine flora and precious wild birds and animals, with mountains including the three highest peaks Gozengamine (2,702 m above sea level), Onanjimine (2,684 m above sea level) and Kengamine (2,677 m above sea level), with natural forests spreading at the foot of the mountains. There are many attractions such as the Hakusan-Shirakawa-go White Road scenic driving course in the park, Shiramizuno Falls where milky white water cascades down from a cliff surrounded by virgin forest, and the beautiful emerald green Hakusui Lake.

Mie

Ise-Shima National Park Ise-Shima National Park covers a vast area on and around the Shima Peninsula, containing an inland expanse including Ise Jingu Shrine and extending along the Ria Coast. There are many attractions such as Ise Jingu Shrine, which many visitors report as having on their bucket list; the "Married Couple Rocks," famous as a symbol of togetherness because of the intimate appearance of two rocks, large and small, peeking out of the sea in Futamigaura; and Yokoyama Observatory, which offers a magnificent view of Ago Bay and its intricately carved coastline.

Yoshino Kumano National Park (Mie, Nara, Wakayama)
Yoshino-Kumano National Park encompasses a mountainous area in the north, the Kitayama and Kumano Rivers in the south, and the Kumano-nada Sea in the east. There are many attractions such as the World Heritage-registered Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range; Dorokyo Gorge, a 31-kilometer-long canyon of the Kitayama River featuring powerful giant and strange rocks, "Shichiri-Mihama," a 22-km stretch of beautifully curved sandy beach, and "Osugidani," one of the three largest canyons in Japan boasting seven waterfalls and 11 suspension bridges.

Fukui

Hakusan National Park (Fukui, Gifu, Toyama, Ishikawa)
Hakusan National Park is a highly natural National Park known as a habitat for alpine flora and precious wild birds and animals, with mountains including the three highest peaks Gozengamine (2,702 m above sea level), Onanjimine (2,684 m above sea level) and Kengamine (2,677 m above sea level), and natural forests spreading out from the foot of the mountains. There are many highlights, including the rounded, rabbit-like shape of Mt. Akausagi, Mt. Kyogatake with its acclaimed Osawa Pond, a marshland of former crater ruins, and Hakusan Heisenji Temple, which is said to have been opened in 717 as a center of Hakusan worship.

Ishikawa

Hakusan National Park (Ishikawa, Gifu, Toyama, Fukui)
Hakusan National Park is a highly natural National Park known as a habitat for alpine flora and precious wild birds and animals, with mountains including the three highest peaks Gozengamine (2,702 m above sea level), Onanjimine (2,684 m above sea level) and Kengamine (2,677 m above sea level), and natural forests spreading at the foot of the mountains. Hakusan Okumiya Shrine, built in 718, is located on the summit of Gozengamine Peak, where mountain ascetic practices have been conducted since ancient times. There are seven lakes of various sizes at the top of the mountain, and there is a two-hour walking course that takes visitors around them all.

Toyama

Chubu-Sangaku National Park (Toyama, Nagano, Gifu, Niigata)
Chubu-Sangaku National Park occupies the entire Northern Alps and consists of famous mountains in the 3,000-meter-high range. Attractions focus on the Tateyama Mountain Range, which includes the 3,015-meter-high highest peak Onanji, the main peak Oyama, and Fujino Oritate; Mt. Shirouma, the highest peak in the Ushiro Tateyama Mountain Range, 2,932 meters high and home to Japan's largest snow-capped mountain range and mining plants; and Midagahara, a world-class marshland of rare beauty.

Hakusan National Park (Toyama, Gifu, Ishikawa, Fukui)
Hakusan National Park is a highly natural National Park known as a habitat for alpine flora and precious wild birds and animals, with mountains including the three highest peaks Gozengamine (2,702 m above sea level), Onanjimine (2,684 m above sea level) and Kengamine (2,677 m above sea level), and natural forests spreading at the foot of the mountains. Kei Lake, on the border with Gifu Prefecture, has a beautifully pristine emerald sheen, and Mt. Daimon, named “Kaga Fuji,” located on the border with Ishikawa Prefecture, are among its many attractions.

Destinations

Mt. Fuji /富士山(Shizuoka)

Mt. Fuji, the emblem of Japan, is also its tallest mountain. The majestic 3,776-meter-high mountain with its past of frequent and violent eruptions has long been an object of reverence and faith for m....

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Togakushi/戸隠(Nagano)

Togakushi is located in the northwestern part of Nagano City and was once visited by many ascetic practitioners as a sacred site. The area is designated as Myoko-Togakushi renzan National Park, where ....

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Kamikochi/上高地(Nagano)

Kamikochi is located in the west of Nagano Prefecture, on the border with Gifu Prefecture, at an altitude of about 1,500 meters. Although 1.2 million people visit every year, Kamikochi retains much of....

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Kumano Kodo/熊野古道(Mie)

The Kii Mountain Range is home to the three sacred sites of Kumano Sanzan (Three Kumano Shrines), Koyasan (Mt. Koya), and Yoshino-and-Omine, which have nurtured various forms of faith, including Shint....

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Nagoya Travel Guide