Lake Tazawa (田沢湖), with a depth of 422.4 meters, is the deepest lake in Japan. The 6 kilometers wide caldera lake was formed due to a volcano eruption. Because of its depth, the lake can absorb a lot of heat in summer that even in the snowy winter, the surface of the lake will never be frozen!
Similar to Lake Towada, there are campsites and water-related leisure facilities that will definitely attract a lot of outdoor sports lovers. The Tatsuko statue at the lakeshore is the symbol of Lake Tazawa. The view of its golden colour contrasting the surrounding clear blue water is another reason for tourists to list Lake Tazawa in their itineraries!
The Noto Peninsula (能登半島) in Ishikawa Prefecture is rich with nature. The entire peninsula is designated as a national park. The diverse landscape created a unique rural culture that differs from the close-by popular destination – Kanazawa. The best way to explore the peninsula is to do a loop course and discover what each town or city has to offer.
Maniwa City (真庭市), located in the northern part of Okayama Prefecture, is the place to be for all dairy lovers. The soft-serve ice cream and the cheese made from hundreds of Jersey cows’ milk, are the must-try especially if you plan to go to the Hiruzen Highlands!
The city is also known as one of the best places to be during the cherry blossom season. Spots such as the cherry blossom tunnel and a gigantic thousand year-old cherry blossom tree atop a hill are the places you won’t want to miss when you visit Japan in spring. There are even a few places where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms and autumn foliage at the same time (*’▽’).
And if you happen to come to Japan in summer, let the fireflies in the limestone cave or along the river astonish you at night before you rest up in your hotel room (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Since its listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995, Shirakawago (白川郷) in Gifu Prefecture has been considered as one of the most popular getaway spots in Japan. Located in a remote mountainous region in central Japan, the villages and its people were known to be isolated and hidden from the rest of the world. However, due to the tourism industry boom, it has become a lot easier for people to get to this charming part of Japan!
No matter what season you visit Shirakawago, the villages in the river valley surrounded by rugged high-mountain will definitely be the ultimate escape from the chaotic urban lifestyle (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ
Mt. Shirakami, or Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) is a vast mountain area of 130 hectares that spans from the north of Akita Prefecture to the south of Aomori Prefecture. Mt Shirakami has been listed as a world heritage site as of 1993. It is also a Pilgrimage site for Studio Ghibli fans as the forest in the movie “Princess Mononoke”, is inspired by Mt. Shirakami!
This 8,000 years old mountain area is the home of the world’s largest virgin beech forest. Because this area is almost untouched by human activities, you will find a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna here (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Hiraizumi town (平泉町), once Kyoto’s rival for its refined culture and elegant surroundings in the 12th century, still retains its charm and traces of former greatness. If you are after a cultural and scenery feast, it is the destination that you don’t want to miss!
Apart from the famous Chūsonji Temple (中尊寺) and the Motsuji Temple (毛越寺), also discover the Takkoku Saikoji Temple – Bishamondō (達谷窟毘沙門堂) that has a huge Buddha image carved on the cliff wall in its grounds.
Want to appreciate the picturesque 2km gorge with cliff walls of more than 100 meters high on both riverbanks and all you need to do is relaxing on a boat? Geibikei Gorge (猊鼻渓) in Iwate Prefecture is the perfect place for you! Adding to this unforgettable experience is the traditional Japanese ballad that your boatman will be singing during the 90 minutes boat ride (≧▽≦).
Genbikei Gorge (厳美渓) is one of the two most stunning nature spots in Iwate Prefecture. Like most of the nature spots of the mountains in Japan, it comes with an awesome autumn foliage view in autumn. In winter, it is a snowy wonderland.
But for Genbikei Gorge, it is also a great spot to appreciate cherry blossoms as well! And to add to the awesomeness, the trees that you will be seeing were believed to be planted by the regional ruler of the area (also a famous Samurai) – Date Masamune, dated back in the early-1600s (゜o゜).
The view of Genbikei Gorge is so beautiful that Date Masamune (ruler of the region between the late 1500s and early-1600s) praised its beauty the same as one of the Three Views of Japan – Matsushima (which is under his reign at the time). It has been said that he loved the Gorge so much that he visited Genbikei Gorge many times during his life.
Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of Japan knows the mighty Mt. Fuji. But do you know which landscape closely follows?
The scenery at Shōsenkyō Gorge (昇仙峡) in Yamanashi prefecture will blow your mind off just as much as Mt. Fuji. It is a lot less packed, and you can get some of the best grape wines in Japan from one of the shops (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
If you love fruits, you won’t regret visiting the area. Because you will easily find the best grapes, peaches, and Asian pears from the supermarket in Kōfu City (甲府市), where the Gorge is located!
Yufuin (由布院 or 湯布院) is an onsen resort town in northern Kyushu. Unlike most onsen towns in Japan, this resort, backed by the scenic twin-peaked Mt. Yufu, has a wealth of boutiques, trendy cafes, and small museums. The small town, therefore, cleverly appeals to all types of travellers. Whether you are a nature lover, a foodie, or enjoy browsing cute boutiques, Yufuin will be a satisfying treat (^^)/.
Mt. Yufu, a volcano of approximately 1,560 meters tall, is also known as the “Mt. Fuji of Oita”. You can hike the double peak in around 90 mins. Especially in November, when the mountain and valley are covered by vibrant autumn colours, it is really worth the effort of making it to the top!