Explore the incredible beauty of Japan – a country of towering volcanos, clear blue lakes and jaw-dropping ancient temples.
The tallest and most iconic mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji is a symbol of the country. On clear days, the towering mountain can be seen all the way from Tokyo (about 60 miles away).
It’s easy to see where this Zen Buddhist temple, built in 1397 in Kyoto, gets its name -- the top 2 floors are completely covered in gold leaf.
The focal point of Aso-Kuju National Park, Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan with one of the largest calderas (cauldron-like volcanic craters) in the world.
Matsushima, a grouping of 260 small islands covered in pine trees, is one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Points,” along with Miyajima, an island in Hiroshima, and Amanohashidate, a long sandbar in Kyoto.
The series of spectacular rugged cliffs called Tojinbo are almost 100 feet tall and have been designated one of Japan’s natural monuments. The tall rock pillars were first formed by “columnar jointing” as a result of volcanic activity, and have been shaped by the tumultuous waves of the Sea of Japan.
Often called the “mysterious lake,” Lake Mashu is one of the clearest lakes in the world, but its surface is often obscured by a heavy mist. Be careful if you’re planning on visiting – legend has it that if you see the lake on a sunny day you’ll be doomed with misfortune. The lake has no incoming or outgoing currents, and the water level stays eerily constant, adding to its mystery.
The “ice monsters” of Mount Zao emerge in the winter when Siberian winds pick up moisture from the Sea of Japan and freeze the Aomori Fir trees that line the mountain’s slopes. Eventually, the trees become completely enveloped in snow and ice, creating a truly astounding sight. Winter visitors to Mount Zao can ski through the towering monsters--the best time to visit is late January to early March.