Japan is a classic travel destination, mixing ancient cultural customs with a love of high-tech technologies. You’d be forgiven for believing that the country is just one enormous landmass, but it is really a volcanic archipelago composed of 6,852 Japanese islands. Of these, just 420 are occupied.
But there are lots of small outlying islands that are equally worthy of a visit. A number of them provide natural wonders like active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, tropical shores, and virgin forests which are occupied by deer, cranes, monkeys, bears, and other wildlife.
To inspire you to find this gorgeous nation’s lesser-known treasures, we have compiled a listing of our choices for the greatest Japanese islands to explore.
One of the four main Japanese islands, Hokkaido is the 2nd biggest, but just 5 percent of the nation’s entire population resides there. It is the furthest north and south developed of the principal islands, loved for its unspoiled all-natural beauty and wide open spaces.
Hokkaido is a location of untouched wilderness, together with ancient woods, areas of alpine wildflowers, blue caldera lakes, and natural hot springs. Summer brings nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, that make the most of this island’s hiking, biking, and outdoor adventure activities. The weather is unpleasant, as cold fronts from Siberia bring enormous snowfall, sub-zero temperatures, and even arctic seas.
There is also a superb fish scene , and the majority of the nation’s remaining native people, the Ainu people, telephone Hokkaido home.
As a result of its isolation, it had been a destination for political exile. The most obvious figures banished here would be the prior Emperor Juntoku, the Buddhist monk Nichiren, along with the creator of Noh, Zeami Motokiyo. Sado isn’t any longer a location for exile, but these compelled residents made an aristocratic society, and traces of the distinctive culture and spiritual life remains now.
Among Sado’s largest cultural attractions is the yearly Earth Celebration, which will be a music festival held every August from the world renowned taiko group, the Kodo Drummers. While drums are the principal tool, these performances consist of other traditional Japanese tools, including fue and shamisen, in addition to conventional dancing and vocals.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Sado was fundamental to Japan’s market, and brought samurai and tradesmen from throughout the nation. This left a distinctive cultural imprint on the island, such as traditional artforms such as Mumyoi-yaki (clay pottery), the Sado Okesa dancing, Sado Noh (classic Japanese musical play ), and puppet plays.
Kyushu is the third and second largest of the primary Japanese islands, using a comprehensive history, contemporary cities, and abundant all-natural resources. Due to the volcanic landscape, you will find excellent onsens (Japanese hot springs) almost anywhere.
The Western mainland was populated since ancient times, therefore there is a whole lot of rich history . Historical ruins, ancient tombs, and reproductions can be located on Kyushu. Among the principal attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Yakushima, an early woods with Western Cedar trees around 2,100 years of age.
Now Kyushu also supplies cosmopolitan cities, beaches, and farmland (plants include rice, tea, tobacco, and citrus fruits), and a tiny, isolated archipelago from the shore.
It is most famous for its abundance of alpine flowers, which can not be seen anywhere else on the planet. The island’s trademark blossom is your usuyukiso (or even Rebun edelweiss), however you will find up to 300 distinct blooms here. You’re able to observe these flowers throughout the island, such as at sea level. Everywhere else on earth, alpine blossoms are only discovered at altitudes of approximately 5,000 feet.
Cycling and hiking are all popular activities on Rebun, also there is an 8-hour hiking trek that leads from 1 end of the island to another. This may be divided into two segments for a briefer 4-hour increase, but all paths include exquisite scenery and magnificent flowers. Rebun can also be home to some Chasi–a hilltop fortification of the native Ainu men and women.
Rishiri is your neighboring island of Rebun, also belongs to the exact same National Park. Additionally, it supplies an alpine flower display in the summertime. However, Rishiri, that means “island using a tall summit” in the Ainu language, is popular during winter because of its skiing and ski terrains.
The scale requires a complete day and introduces some tough terrain, but overall, this is a scenic highlight of the Western islands, along with the scenic views from the very best stretch over to Rebun and Hokkaido.
During summer you could also spend the cycling street to circumnavigate the shore (which takes approximately 5 to 7 hours). There are a range of bicycle rental places throughout the island.
Teuri is a small island off the western shore of Hokkaido, and a part of those Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi National Park. This is a refuge for nesting seabirds, and also the breeding ground for more than a million birds of eight distinct species. Most noteworthy among these are the most frequent murre, which is presently facing extinction in Japan, and also the black-tailed gull.
March is the best time for birdwatching, and you will find just four monitoring platforms installed throughout the island. The island provides a chance to find the spectacled guillemot, among the planet’s rarest birds, along with the rhinoceros auklet. If you go into the viewing platform at Akaishi around sunset, you are able to observe the birds capture fish.
The whole colony has been designated as a National Natural Treasure at 1938. Watching the enormous flocks of seabirds is an amazing sight, particularly around the towering sea cliffs of the island’s west shore.
Tashirojima is informally called “Cat Island” because it is a little fishing village in which cats outnumber humans four to one! There are a few hundred felines on the island, in which they are worshipped and cared for with its 100 individual inhabitants.
The cats have been initially brought more than pest management to keep mice away in the island’s silkworm farms. However, if the silk business left the island much of its population followed and the cats continued to replicate.
Now cat fans from all over the globe traveling to Tashirojima to socialize with all the strays, which freely roam the roads and pose for photographs for tourists. Be aware that the island isn’t so nicely set up for tourism: There are not many stores or public restrooms accessible, and no restaurants at all. Visitors are requested to take their trash home with them, and dogs aren’t welcome.
Miyajima / Itsukushima
A little island situated less than one hour out Hiroshima, Miyajima is a favorite day excursion; over 4 million tourists visit this UNESCO World Heritage Website each year! The postcard-worthy shot this is of those floating torii gate, that has been rated among the finest views in all Japan. Constructed on the water, at high tide the gate seems to float.
This nickname has stuck, in spite of the fact that the island is really known as Itsukushima. It had been considered a sacred place, together with several Buddhist temples, historical monuments, and shrines. Among the chief sights in the island would be that the centuries-old Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, that can be constructed over the water. Visitors can also increase through the virgin woods of sacred Mt. Misen.
The Japanese island keeps a conventional Edo-era appearance; crazy deer roam freely, joyful to mingle with tourists and chew on whatever may be lying about.
If this list of interesting islands of Japan isn`t really your thing, you can always visit Tokyo, the city of technology. There you can enjoy the real feeling of the metropolis, but due to covid you may not be able to do much restaurants and cafes visiting, however there are many online options you can try, such as food delivery, online shopping and online casino.
Never the less, we really hope you will throughly enjoy your stay in Japan.