These National Parks in Eastern Japan Will Be Waiting for You on Your Next Trip

Magnificent views, relaxing onsens, and challenging trails await.

As of January 2020, there are 34 national parks all over Japan. These parks preserve pristine nature and rich ecosystems by following the Natural Parks Act of the Ministry of Environment. Japan takes pride in how they keep the beauty of nature that they also offer activities for people to enjoy and appreciate the place. From protecting nature from the waves of development to passing it to the next generation, these are places where everyone is welcome to interact with nature. There are walking trails and visitor centers to welcome more than 300 million visitors every year. 

Each visitor center provides information about the highlights of the place, the attractions available, hiking trails, and some rules and manners to be followed. Some visitor centers already have multilingual signages installed for foreign visitors.

In this article, we introduce you to the national parks in eastern Japan that you can visit the next time we can all travel again.

Akan-Mashu National Park

Akan-Mashu features a beautiful lake view.

Akan-Mashu National Park
is a historic national park in Hokkaido. The park is divided into two areas: Akan and Mashu (Kawayu). Akan area is where the volcanic mountains Oakan and Meakan emerge, surrounded by beautiful lakes such as the Akan Lake and Onneto Lake. The Mashu area boasts of having the Mashu Lake, which has the most crystal clear lake in the world, the Kussharo Lake that can be viewed from the surrounding mountain pass, and the view of the forest that changes every season. 

Kushiro River, the holy land of canoeists.

Join the Fat Bike Tour in Mashu Forest, an adventure to enjoy the four seasons.

Akan-Mashu National Park Visitor Centers:

Wakoto Field House is located at Kussharo, Teshikaga-cho, Kawakami District, Hokkaido. You may contact them at +81-154-84-2835.

Akan Lake Eco Museum Center is located at 1-1-1 Akanko Onsen, Akancho, Kushiro City, Hokkaido. You may contact them at +81-154-67-4100.

Shikotsu Toya National Park

With easy access from central Sapporo or New Chitose Airport

Shikotsu Toya National Park
is located in the southwest part of Hokkaido. Here, you can enjoy the ethereal beauties of the two large crater lakes, Shikotsu Lake and Toya Lake, volcanic mountains, Mt. Yotei,  Mt. Usu, Mt. Tarumae, among other volcanic landforms. Other than the hot springs, sulfur-spewing volcanoes and other volcanic activities can be seen that made people have started to call it the Museum of Active Volcanoes. The place offers a lot to experience and enjoy not only by exploring nature or getting refreshed by bathing in the onsen, but also hiking and admiring alpine plants.


The canoe tour in Shikotsu Lake offers a different experience per season
© Canoa

The Shikotsu Lake Ice Walk lets you experience a dive on the crystal clear waters.

Shikotsu Toya National Park Visitor Centers:

Shikotsuko Lake Visitor Center is located at Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose City, Hokkaido. You may contact them at +81-123-25-2404.

Toya Lake Visitor Center is located at 142-5 Toyako Onsen, Toyakocho, Abuta District, Hokkaido. You may contact them at +81-142-75-2555.

Towada-Hachimantai National Park 

Onsen resorts surround the place

Towada-Hachimantai National Park is composed of the Towada-Hakkoda area with its popular landscapes Mt. Hakkoda, Towada Lake, Oirase Mountain Stream, and the Hachimantai area with its popular landscapes Hachimantai, Akita-Komagatake, and Mt. Iwate. Apart from its abundant nature and living things, each change of season offers a different mesmerizing view. The Hachimantai area highlights its diverse ecosystem of lakes and swamps which were made by volcanic eruptions and heavy snowfalls. Another reason why people come here is because it is surrounded by hot spring resorts.

The lighted Makadoiwa is one of the sights offered by the Oirase Mountain Stream Night Tour.
© Towada City

This is called the Kagaminuma or Hachimantai Dragon Eye as it is mysteriously shaped like an eye of a dragon.

Towada-Hachimantai Visitor Centers:

Towada Visitor Center is located at 486 Okuse Towada Kohanyasumiya, Towada City, Aomori Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-176-75-1015.

Hachimantai Visitor Center is located at 2 Aza Onuma, Hachimantai, Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-186-31-2714.

Amihari Visitor Center is located at 1-2 Nagayama Komatsukura, Shizukuishi-cho, Iwate District, Iwate Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-196-93-3777. 

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

A national park that mainly represents Japan being a volcanic country.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, there are various volcanic landforms and onsen resorts around the Fuji volcanic belt, as well as varied coastlines and several islands. As the name suggests, the park is composed of four areas: Fuji, Hakone, Izu Peninsula, and Izu Island. At the Fuji area, there is Mt. Fuji, which is surrounded by lakes and plateau. The Hakone area, being the post-town of Tokaido, has been long known to be a place to go to for onsen. The Izu Peninsula, with Mt. Amagi and varied coastlines, also boasts on their onsen resorts. While Izu Island has its offshore islands that have high volcanic activities.

Join the Jukai Nature Tour to explore Mt. Fuji
© GORIKI Co., Ltd.


Mt. Hakone and Ashino Lake

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (Hakone Visitor Center) is located at 164 Motohakone, Hakonemachi, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-460-84-9981.

Nikko National Park

There are plenty of sights to see from nature landscapes to temples and shrines.

Nikko National Park is a historic national park that was born in 1934. It is a mountain district consisting of Mt. Nikko-Shirane, which has the highest mountain peak in the north Kanto region, Mt. Nantai as the mountain for worship, the active volcano Mt. Nasu, among others. It offers a perfect combination of vast natural landscape with its surrounding lakes, magnificent waterfalls, and valleys with beautiful autumn foliage, and temples and shrines that are certified World Heritage Sites. Being close to the city, it is a popular spot for experiencing nature and history.

A view from the British Embassy Villa Memorial Park.

Kids who joined the Mt. Takahara Family Canyoning.

Nikko National Park Visitor Centers:

Nikko Yumoto Visitor Center is located at Yumoto, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-288-62-2321.

Nasu Kogen Visitor Center is located at 207-2 Yumoto, Nasumachi, Nasu District, Tochigi Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-287-74-2301.

Chubu-Sangaku National Park 

Its various mountain scenery is what attracts the visitors.

Designated as one of Japan’s national parks in 1934,
Chubu-Sangaku National Park is one that represents Japan that occupies the northern Alps. It consists of about 3,000 meters altitude of mountain ranges like the Hotaka with chains of mountains including Mt. Yarigatake, the Ushirotateyama rises Mt. Norikura and Mt. Shirouma at the southernmost part, and the Tateyama with Mt. Tsurugi and the Tateyama district. What really attracts its visitors are the sheer rocky cliff, deep gorge, cirque made by glaciers, and other myriad mountain landscapes. It has so many mountain trails that are accessible for public transportation such as in the mountainous highland valley of Kamikochi, Mt. Norikura, and Murodo.

The Haruyama Bus passing through Mt. Norikura

The Shinhotaka Ropeway operates all year round.

Chubu-Sangaku National Park (Kamikochi Visitor Center) is located at 4468 Azumi Kamikochi, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-263-95-2606 (during winter season: +81-263-94-2537).

Ise-Shima National Park

A combination of inland and coast.

Ise-Shima National Park consists of the Shima Peninsula and its surroundings. It is divided into two areas: the inland area with the Ise Shrine and behind it, the inland area with the abundant forest environment, and the ria coast with intricate and countless inlets and capes scattered. More than 96% are private-owned lands with a large population of residents making it a place rich in history, culture, and traditions.


Visitors can experience activities of an Ama or a woman diver.

Accessories made with Ise Shima cultivated Akoya pearls.

Ise-Shima National Park (Yokoyama Visitor Center) is located at 875-24 Ugata, Agocho, Shima City, Mie Prefecture. You may contact them at +81-599-44-0567.

The next time you can visit Japan, try going to the national parks with its breathtaking beauty, appreciating nature by trekking or canoeing.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (23 March 2020) 

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