Most people may think about skyscrapers and crowded trains when they think about Japan, but the fact is that the country also has a lot of beautiful sceneries overflowing with nature to offer. In this article you will find a selection of 5 superb views that you can find in the Japanese countryside which will overturn your previous image of Japan.
The Oirase Mountain Stream is a part of the Oirase River that runs across mountains for about 14km, from Towada Kohan Nenokuchi to Yakeyama, and it is registered as a national special place of scenic beauty and natural monument. The Oirase Mountain Stream is surrounded by rich nature, and visitors can stroll along it through the forest while enjoying the view of the 14 waterfalls of all sizes and various strangely shaped rocks scattered about. Among them all, the Choshi Otaki Cataracts are especially noteworthy! 20 meters wide and 7 meters high, these cataracts are as impressive as their name suggests, and they offer amazing views all throughout the year. You should not miss the powerful river as it sinuously winds its way between the beautiful trees in the forest. The scenery that results from the combination of the dynamically flowing water and the greenery of the forests, which is always different depending on the season, is nothing less than a work of art! Listen to the sound of the streaming water and take a deep breath of the fresh air to refresh both your body and mind.
1. Oirase Mountain Stream (Aomori)
The Fukuroda Falls, being 120 meters high and 73 meters wide, boast a large size, and are located upstream of the Taki River, a tributary of Kuji River. These falls, combined with the Kegon Falls in Nikko and the Nachi Falls in Kumano, make Japan's the three most beautiful waterfalls. They are also called "Yodo no Taki", which means "Four Step Falls" because the falls are separated in four distinct tiers with large base rocks. Visitors can enjoy a frontal view of the falls from the three observatory decks located at the exit of the Fukuroda no Taki Kanbaku Tunnel (276 meters long, 3 meters high, 4 meters wide). The 2nd observatory deck, which is located right in front of the basin of the waterfall, offers an impressively close view of the water as it dynamically falls on the bedrock. The 3rd observatory deck is located 51 meters above the 2nd and offers a general overview of the falls as a whole. The water, which produces a roaring sound as it dynamically falls and sprays about, feels as if it were almost alive. The combination of the water and the surrounding nature looks like a work of art. The area offers a different view depending on the season, so we recommend this as a place that you will want to visit more than once.
2. Fukuroda Falls (Ibaraki)
Nageiredo, the inner shrine of Sanbutsu-ji, a mountain temple with its grounds on Mt. Mitoku, sits almost exactly in the center of Tottori. It is a unique building constructed in a hollow spot on a perpendicular precipice, and it is registered as a national treasure. Even today, it is unclear how the building was constructed. However, according to the legend, it was thrown in the cave by En no Ozunu, the founder of the Sanbutsu-ji Temple, using the power of Buddhism, hence its name "Nageiredo" ("thrown-in hall"). Since visitors have to climb for about 1 hour on a rocky and steep mountain path in order to reach the Nageiredo, it is considered the most difficult temple to visit in Japan. In order to reach the temple, visitors must climb on tree roots and rocks, including areas that are so steep that they need to use chains for help, which makes this a harder and more thrilling experience than you can imagine. It is precisely because of this that you will be all the more moved when you finally make it to your destination - the view looks even greater when you have actually worked hard to reach it! Here you can surely refresh both your body and mind.
*Visitors wishing to climb the mountain to visit the hall have their clothes and shoes checked when entering the mountain. Please also note that climbing may not be allowed on days of bad weather and during the winter when the mountain is closed, so make sure to check in advance.
3. Nageiredo (Tottori)
Moto no Sumi Inari Jinja, which features an impressive path of stairs with red torii gates one after the other with a spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, is a shrine in Yuya that separated from the Taikodani Inari Jinja in Tsuwano-cho, Shimane, in 1955 after a revelation from a white fox. This shrine offers many benefits, including business prosperity, safety for sea travel, good matching, good luck, wealth and happiness, and making wishes come true, among others. The "Ryugu no Shiofuki," near the back path where you can find the torii gates, is connected to an underwater cave where waves reverberate and blow seawater for 30 meters, and it is designated as a national place of special scenic beauty and a natural monument. When looking at it from far away, the water reflects the light of the sun, resulting in a beautiful view that looks as if silver sand has been sprinkled all over the place. The combination between the pure blue water, the waves rushing against the rocks and spraying about, and the red torii gates results in a breathtakingly beautiful sight. This is the kind of view that you would like to keep in your memory forever.
4. Moto no Sumi Inari Jinja (Yamaguchi)
Mt. Takao, located in Hachioji, is famous for having been selected as a 3 star mountain, the highest rank in the Michelin travel guide, along with Mt. Fuji in 2007. The mountain can be easily accessed from Tokyo in less than 1 hour by using a train departing from Shinjuku Station, and it is especially popular for being easy to climb as it is not very high at 599 meters above sea level. Halfway up the mountain, you will find the Takaosan Yakuo-in Temple which features many buildings and cultural assets, and which receives many visitors. Mt. Takao offers a total of 7 different hiking trails: Trails 1 through 6 and the Inariyama Trail, but we especially recommend Trail 1, which is also called the Omotesando Trail. Halfway through this trail, there is an observatory deck called "Konpiradai" from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of Hachioji. The view from the summit of the mountain is also spectacular, and you may even be able to see Mt. Fuji on days of fine weather and fresh air! While Mt. Takao is quite close to Tokyo, it is still blessed with nature and wildlife. A visit here will definitely be an enlightening experience.
5. Mt. Takao (Tokyo)
Japan is surrounded by the ocean on all four directions, and mountains occupy about 70% of the country's land, which means it still has plenty of areas full of beautiful and green nature to offer. Wouldn't you just love to get away from the metropolis on a hunt for beautiful scenery in the countryside once in a while?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.