hill-of-the-narcissist-718022_640Kawachi Fuji Garden (Fukuoka): Displaying over 150 wisteria plants of 20 different species, this Japanese garden is famous for its outstanding floral beauty and zen-like atmosphere. It also hosts the annual Wisteria Festival in April when the flowers are in full bloom.

 

 bamboo-forest-547293_640Sagano (Kyoto): It is considered one of the most beautiful forests in the world and is famously known for its rows upon rows of Bamboo groves. With the wind blowing through the bamboo stalks resulting in rustling of their leaves, it’s become recognised as a famous soundscape destination by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

 

 SHIRAKAWA_GOUGokayama (Toyama): Gokayama is one of the greatest towns in the world and is famous for its historical architecture. The architectural design of the village spans back hundreds of years and has the oldest gassho style houses in Ainokura. Some of the structures are over 400 years old.

 

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Fuji Shibazakura Festival (Yamanashi): Located right at the bottom of Mount Fuji, 800,000 stalks of shibazakura (otherwise known as ‘moss phlox’) are laid across the land in a sea of pink, purple and white. Thousands travel to see this festival and to celebrate the flowers first bloom. The festival runs from 18th April – 31st May (2017).

 

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Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano): 200+ wild Japanese macaque monkeys live in Jigokudani which translates as ‘Hell Valley’, due to its harsh terrain of rough cliffs and snowy peaks. Steaming springs are also here located here within the snowy mountain and this is where the monkeys spend most of their time. They are completely unbothered by observers.

 

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Motonosumi-inari Shrine (Yamaguchi): Motonosumi-Inari is one of the most popular shrines in Japan where locals and travellers come to wish for success. The shrine is linked to the ocean by 123 iconic red Torri gates, which also makes the destination a hot spot for photographers. Along the path are numerous donation boxes and the final Torii’s donation box is placed out of reach and it’s said that if you are successfully able to put your money in, all your wishes will come true.

 

oita-436078_640Kintetsu Beppu Ropeway (Oita): A different way to see one of Japan’s most beautiful landscapes – by cable car. 101 passengers can travel at one time to the top of the 1,375 meter high Mt. Tsurumi in an impressive 10 minutes. During the spring over 2,000 cherry blossom trees come out in full bloom and is a magnificent sight to be seen.

 

586508810_1280x720Nachi Falls (Wakayama): Nachi falls is the tallest waterfall in Japan, running down a colossal 133 meters. The waterfall is accompanied by the iconic Nachi Taisha Shinto Shrine which is estimated to be over 1,400 years old. The shrine was built in honour of a spirit god – the waterfall’s kami. The shrine is Buddhist.

 

Itsukushima_GateMiyajima Island: Miyajima is an island off the coat of Hiroshima and is considered one of the most scenic spots in Japan. Known for its 1643ft mountain views (the island was once a volcano) and stunning scenery, it receives millions of visitors per year. It’s also known for its famous ‘floating’ shrine located far out a sea which is also acknowledged as a World Heritage Site.

 

By Saffron Bowdler

Twitter: @saffronb94