Recommended Spots to Enjoy Early Summer in Japan!
Get a convenient and economical “JR EAST PASS,” and visit the Tohoku, Nagano, and Niigata areas covered with fresh green leaves of early summer. Here are several places where you can recharge in fresh air while seeing splendid views.
Lake Juniko / Aomori Prefecture
A huge forest along the foot of the world heritage site Shirakami mountain ranges is dotted with 33 large and small lakes. They are collectively called Juniko (twelve lakes). Among of them, Aoike (literally, “blue pond”) is especially popular with its mystical color just like a drop of bright blue ink.
15 min by bus from JR Jūniko Station
Ryusendo Cave / Iwate Prefecture
Ryusendo is one of the three major limestone caves of Japan. Its underground lakes with gushing clear water that is among the most transparent water in the world and countless limestones in the cave will invite you into a fantastical world.
2 hrs and 15 min by bus from JR Morioka Station
Dakigaeri Valley / Akita Prefecture
Views of virgin forests on the sides of the blue ravine and of waterfalls are superb. Fresh green leaves in spring and red and yellow leaves in autumn are well worth seeing. You can see bizarre-shaped rocks, rapid streams, and waterfalls in various sizes from an easy-to-walk, well-maintained walking trail. Don’t miss the view from “Kami no Iwahashi” suspension bridge!
15 min by car from JR Kakunodate Station
Oku-Nikkawa Gorge / Miyagi Prefecture
The gorge has two walking trails from JR Oku-Nikkawa Station; the 5.4-km “Nikkawa Line” and the 3.6-km “Oku-Nikkawa Line.” Going along a railroad bridge and passing a suspension bridge, the trails can be exciting for you to walk. You can enjoy both hiking and seeing the various views of the gorge on both trails.
*Some places along the trails are closed or prohibited to enter.
Immediate from JR Oku-Nikkawa Station
Sasagawa Nagare Coast / Niigata Prefecture
This is a beautiful coast with an eye-catching contrast of blue water of the sea and white sand of the beach. Its rock reef with bizarre-shaped rocks and caves was created through erosion by rough waves of the Sea of Japan. Enjoy unique scenery!
5-min walk from JR Kuwagawa Station, Imagawa Station, or Echigo-Kangawa Station
Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau / Nagano Prefecture
Along with pastured cattle eating grass peacefully and pretty flowers swaying in the wind, this plateau offers visitors in summer great views of the Hida mountain ranges (Northern Alps), Mt. Asama, the Akaishi mountain ranges (Southern Alps), as well as even Mt. Fuji on clear days. There are several routes: walking trails for those who want to walk in a relaxed manner to authentic trekking routes for hikers.
1 hr and 20 min by car or bus from JR Matsumoto Station
Kirifuri Kogen Plateau / Tochigi Prefecture
From late June to mid-July, as many as 260,000 Nikko-kisuge (daylilies) are at their best and the ground is carpeted by yellow flowers. You can enjoy walking along a well-maintained hiking trail in a casual manner.
30 min by Tobu bus from JR Nikko Station
Lake Nozori / Gunma Prefecture
Lake Nozori, located in Joshin-etsu Kogen National Park, which strides across Nagano, Niigata and Gunma prefectures, has picturesque scenery. It is chosen one of the “100 notable dam lakes” of Japan, and also a nearby walking trail is chosen one of the “100 notable walking paths” of Japan.
1 hr and 16 min by bus from JR Naganoharakusatsuguchi Station
※A part of the trail is narrow and slippery. Please make sure to wear clothing and shoes appropriate for hiking.