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WOW! JAPAN

Japan is notorious for its hot and humid summers, but there are many places you can go to enjoy cool and comfortable climates. So this time, we introduce five select spots to go to in the summer to get away from the heat as well as to enjoy beautiful scenery.

1. Karuizawa (Nagano)

This is one of Japan's most famous summer resorts. It is on a plateau at an altitude of 1,000m, 80 minutes from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train. It is an area of beautiful, serene nature with healing spots such as Shiraito Falls and Kumoba Pond and is perfect for nature walks in the refreshing, clean air. The area also has numerous historic buildings, such as the former Mikasa Hotel, which is an elegant, western-style building, as well as a wide selection of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the rich local food of the area. There is also a variety of sports and leisure facilities so you can relax and rejuvenate away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

1. Karuizawa (Nagano)

739-2 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano

2. Kamikochi (Nagano)

This is a mountainous area with fantastic views at an altitude of 1,500m in Matsumoto City. It is a natural treasure trove where the Japanese serow, which can only be found in Japan, and almost 60 different types of butterflies thrive. It is designated as a place of special scenic beauty and a special natural monument by the government. It is popular for hiking and attracts approximately 1.5 million tourists every year. The up-close view of the majestic Hotaka mountain range is breathtaking. There are also beautiful ponds to see, such as Taisho Pond, with its placid, glass-like surface, and Myojin Pond. This is an area with pure, mystic beauty created by the mountains, greenery and water. Because Kamikochi is at a high altitude, its daytime temperatures can be below 10˚C in the summer, so be sure to take warm clothes.

2. Kamikochi (Nagano)

Azumi Kamikochi, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano

3. Nasu Highlands (Tochigi)

The Nasu Highlands are at the foot of Mt. Chausu (altitude: 1,915m), which is the main peak of the majestic Nasu mountain range. It is very popular as a tourist destination where you can enjoy the vast nature with its clear air. The 65m long Benten Suspension Bridge that is at an altitude of 1,200m, is a particularly good spot to see fantastic seasonal views. In addition to nature, there are historic spots such as the 1,400-year-old Nasu Yuzen Shrine and the famous Sessho-seki ruins. Nasu Onsen-kyo is in the area so you can relax and rejuvenate in the hot springs.

3. Nasu Highlands (Tochigi)

Oaza Yumoto, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi

4. Kiyosato Highlands (Yamanashi)

These highlands are at an altitude of 900m to 1,500m at the southeastern foot of the Yatsugatake mountain range in the center of Honshu. It is a resort popular among visitors coming to get away from the heat. There are peaceful ranches as well as areas for a variety of activities including sports, hiking and trekking, and camping. There are many day-use onsen hot springs with high quality water in the area that are perfect to relax in after an active day outside. If you are in the area, don't forget to try the soft-serve ice cream (400 JPY) at Seisen-ryo, a Kiyosato specialty that is so popular, there are long queues for it during the summer season.

4. Kiyosato Highlands (Yamanashi)

Kiyosato, Takane-cho, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi

5. Lake Toya (Hokkaido)

Lake Toya is a particular recommendation in Hokkaido, which is known for its cool summers. It is a caldera lake with a diameter of 10km, an area of 71 sq.km., and a circumference of 50km. The water is so clear you can clearly see the bottom of the lake, which gives it a mystic feel. The temperature is about 20˚C even at the height of summer, so you can rejuvenate out in the great nature. There are many opportunities to experience activities popular in Hokkaido, such as horse trekking, canoeing, and motor boating. It is also known as one of Hokkaido's foremost onsen hot spring areas. It is about 2 hours by car from New Chitose Airport.

5. Lake Toya (Hokkaido)

142 Toyako Onsen, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido

If this article has piqued your interest in any of these locations, get further details by visiting their websites.

*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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