Natural Scenic Spots to Visit in Japan on Hot Summer Days – Part 2
Summer in Japan has this strong image of being extremely hot and humid. The truth, however, is that mountains cover 70% of Japan’s topography, so there are many highlands and plateaus found in the country where people can enjoy a cool and refreshing weather even during the summer. Here are some popular summer resorts with scenic beauty.
1. Shirakami-Sanchi (Aomori)
Shirakami-Sanchi is the general term used for the vast 130,000-hectare mountainous zone that spans from the southwest portion of Aomori up to the northwest portion of Akita. This area was registered in 1993 as the first World Natural Heritage Site of Japan. When you see the various plants and animals that inhabit and grow in the area, you would think you’re in a full-fledged natural museum. The World Heritage Site area is divided into two zones: the Core Area and the Buffer Area. The Core Area is where people can climb the mountain through a designated route. Beware, though, if you go mountain climbing here since the route is unpaved in a bid to protect the natural environment. Those who want to pass through the designated trail are required to go through the proper procedures, so please remember to file the necessary application and paperwork prior to your intended climb.
2. Kamikochi (Nagano)
Visited by 2 million guests annually, Kamikochi is a scenic mountainous area that best represents Japan. Here, you can enjoy the great outdoors that are surrounded by about 3,000-meter-high mountains such as Yarigatake (Mt. Yari) and Hotaka-renpo (Hotakadake mountain range). The most common hiking route in the area is the course that would take you from Taisho Pond to Kappa Bridge. Enjoy looking at the picturesque view of the grand mountains and lush greens for about an hour while walking along the paved trail.
3. Midagahara (Toyama)
Midagahara is a plateau with an elevation of about 2,000m that spans 2km north to south and 4km east to west. In 2012, it was registered in the Ramsar Convention that aims to preserve precious wetlands in the world. The scenic vista of alpine plants, which peak in July-August, blooming around approximately 3,000 small ponds called “Gakita” continues to captivate many tourists. The trail at this plateau is laid with wooden boards to make them easier to walk on, and visitors can finish the outer course that requires careful walking in about 2 hours, and the easier inner course in just about an hour.
4. Sengokuhara Highlands (Kanagawa)
Hakone is one of the leading hot spring areas in the Kanto region that is located close to Tokyo, and surrounded by the Hakone outer rim is the Sengokuhara Highlands, a plateau that spreads over an area with an elevation of 650m. While this area is famous for the enormous Susuki Plain, the only wetland in Kanagawa that can be seen during fall, visitors can also see rare swamp vegetation. This place also draws a lot of visitors thanks to the rows of hot spring hotels and restaurants that line its roads, and the scattered art spots such as the Pola Museum of Art and the Museum of the Little Prince.
5. Kiyosato Highland (Yamanashi)
Kiyosato Highland is a plateau with an elevation of 1,200m that sits on top of the southern foot of the Yatsugatake mountain range, right in the middle of the Honshu region. It is a nature-rich spot that is surrounded by 3,000-meter-high mountains such as Mt. Fuji and the Southern Alps. There are ranches, art museums and trekking courses in one zone of this highland, so visitors get to enjoy in many different ways. Hokuto in Yamanashi is one of the few places in Japan where five types of alcohols are manufactured, comprising whisky, wine, beer, Japanese sake and shochu (white distilled liquor). It is also home to Suntory’s whisky distillery Suntory Hakushu Distillery. This distillery offers plant tours, too, so those who love alcohol should check it out.
Aside from the above, there are many other refreshing and picturesque highlands in Japan. Please use this article as reference if you’re looking for a place to create an unforgettable summer memory.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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