10 Beautiful Japanese Forests To Visit

10 Beautiful Japanese Forests To Visit

Did you know that two thirds of Japan is covered in forest? Japan’s forest-land ratio comes only second after Finland.

This makes Japan one of the most beautiful spots for everyone who enjoys a forest walk with a variety of trees and woodland wildlife.

10 Beautiful Japanese Forests To Visit

In this article, we explore 10 of Japan’s most beautiful forests that are always worth a visit.

1. The Koajiro-No-Mori Forest

This beautiful nature reserve with extensive lands, including marsh and forest, are located on the Miura peninsula in Kanagawa prefecture.

This area is used as a water catchment zone for the nearby Ura-no-kawa river. The winds its way beautifully through the center of the valley.

The Koajiro-no-Mori forest creates a range of small ecosystems which are home to many rare species, such as the red-clawed crab.

These bright red crabs are known as forest crab because they can live in both the forest as well as the river and nearby coastal areas.

One of the highlights is the seasonal firefly observation from May to June every year. 

The untouched nature of this incredible forest is home to two types of Japanese fireflies that you can see regularly throughout late spring.

2. Yakushima Kagoshima Forest

As a UNESCO world heritage site, Yakushima is one of Japan’s most ancient forests. You can visit trees that are up to 7,000 years old.

Plus, Yakushima forest is also the sight that is said to have inspired the famous Japanese film Princess Mononoke.

Unfortunately, the forest saw a lot of logging activity throughout the Edo period and Japan has gone to great length to restore this site to its former glory.

As Yakushima is a subtropical island, so you will find that this woodland resembles a rainforest with a lot of fog and low clouds.

3. The Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara forest is known as Japan’s “suicide forest” and it’s said to be the most haunted forest in the country.

This is mainly due to its elevated position in the East of Lake Saiko. 

Scientists believe that Aokigahara forest was formed after an eruption of Mount Fuji 1,200 years ago.

This extensive forest area is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. 

It’s home to a wide variety of plants, from Fuji cherry and maple trees to Japanese cypress and Mongolian oak.

This wonderful range of plant life also provides a natural habitat for many insects, birds and even bats that dwell in the forest’s lava caves.

4. Jidayubori Park

This small forest in Jidayubori Park in Tokyo is worth a visit when you are in Japan’s capital city.

It has a large bamboo grove, together with an ancient village from the Edo period. 

The restored homes with thatched roofs give you a little glimpse into how the Japanese lived in the 18th century.

5. Owakudani 

Owakudani is a very special place. It was formed when Mount Kamiyama erupted over 3,000 years ago. 

The volcano still spits out toxic and hot gases today. You will be able to smell the sulfurous odor before you see the white smoke.

These volcanic gases combined with the geothermal heat creates a local delicacy: Owakudani eggs.

As you are over 1,000 meters above the sea level, you can see Japans’ North Alps, Mount Fuji as well as Yokohama’s Rainbow Bridge and Landmark Tower on a clear day.

10 Beautiful Japanese Forests To Visit

6. The Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Forest

Bamboo is one of the best known plant around the world. It grows extremely fast and it has become a very popular building material.

The Arashiyama Sagano bamboo forest has a huge variety of tall bamboo trees. 

The beauty of this breathtaking sight is also the reason why this forest is Japan’s most photographed destination.

But there is a lot more to see than the bamboo. Arashiyama Sagano is also home to the Tenryuji Temple and the Nonomiya Shrine.

While the walk to the shrine and temple are relatively short, this beautiful part of Japan invites you to slow down and relax.

7. The Iroha-zaka Slopes

The Irohazaka Slopes is one of the most popular tourist attractions around Japan. 

Located near the Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji, these steep and windy slopes have 48 tight turns.

With such a great angle of inclination, you can enjoy the view across the vast countryside around the nearest town, Nikko.

The best time to visit the Iroha-zaka Slopes is in fall when all the leaf trees change color. This makes for a fantastic, scenic photograph.

8. Suzume-no Oyado Ryokuchi Park

The city of Meguro near Tokyo has so much to offer. With its many shops and cafés, there is also a small park that provides a little bit of peace and quiet.

Suzume-no Oyado Ryokuchi Park is a small bamboo grove which is home to bamboo over 200 years old.

In fact, it’s so popular that many people think this pretty park to be one of Tokyo’s best preserved bamboo forests.

The park also has a refurbished Japanese home from the feudal area that you can visit.

9. Iriomote Mangroves

The mangroves around the subtropical island of Iriomote are so different to the rest of Japan’s famous forests.

Mostly untouched and undeveloped, these mangroves provide a lot of resources for all island people and animals.

You can explore the mangroves hiking, swimming or in a kayak. This makes Iriomote’s mangroves perfect for adventure fans.

If you don’t want to explore the island on your own, then you can also book an island excursion that shows you all the beautiful spots of the island.

10. Rikugien Gardens

Rikugien means “Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry”. The translation describes these stunning gardens wonderfully.

Rikugien Gardens has a classic Japanese garden (see also ‘13 Best Kyoto Japanese Gardens To Enjoy‘) with bamboo grove, plenty of trees, a hill and a pond.

If you are looking for a quiet forest in Tokyo, then this is the place to pay a visit.

Final Thoughts

Japan has some of the most beautiful forests in the world. They offer not just beautiful views but also a glimpse into the history of Japanese life.

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