Nikko National Park: This 80,000-hectare (200,000-acre) national park centers on the sumptuous Toshogu Shrine with its mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, majestic cedars, and lakeside resorts.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park: Boasting magnificent Mount Fuji at its core, this popular weekend getaway beckons vacationing Tokyoites with its many hot-spring spas, stunning close-up views of Mount Fuji, sparkling lakes, historic attractions relating to the famous Feudal-Era Tokaido Highway, and coastal areas of Izu Peninsula. One of the best ways to see Hakone is via a circular route that involves travel on a two-car mountain streetcar, a cable car, a ropeway, and a boat; the delightful journey offers wonderful scenery and interesting sights along the way.
Japan Alps (Chubu Sangaku) National Park: Encompassing Honshu's most impressive mountain ranges and the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, this national park offers skiing and hiking as well as unique villages worth a visit in their own right.
Ise-Shima National Park: Boasting a rugged seascape of capes, inlets, and islets, this park is the birthplace of cultivated pearls. It's famous for its bays dotted with pearl-cultivating oyster rafts, its female divers, a pearl museum, plus a top-notch aquarium and the Ise Grand Shrines, Japan's most venerable shrines. Two theme parks are also located here.
Seto-Naikai (Inland Sea) National Park: Covering 650 sq. km (251 sq. miles) of water, islands, islets, and coastline, this sea park stretches from Kobe in the east to Beppu in the west. It's studded with numerous islands of all sizes, the most famous of which is Miyajima, home of the Itsukushima Shrine. Cruises ply the waters of the Seto Inland Sea, as do regular ferries sailing between Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The adventuresome can even cycle across the Seto Inland Sea via the Shimanami Kaido route linking Honshu with Shikoku
Unzen-Amakusa National Park: At western Kyushu's high-altitude national park, you can climb Mount Fugen (1,360m/4,462 ft. above sea level), relax in a hot-spring bath, and take a walk through the Hells, the park's extra-steamy sulfur springs.
Iriomote National Park: Japan's southernmost national park includes Iriomote Island, 80% of which is blanketed with subtropical forest and mangroves, as well as coral reefs and coastline. Part of the Okinawan island chain, it's a mecca for nature enthusiasts and scuba divers alike.
Towada-Hachimantai National Park: Tohoku's most popular park beckons with scenic lakes, rustic hot-spring spas, hiking, and skiing.
Shikotsu-Toya National Park: This 987-sq.-km (381-sq.-mile) park in eastern Hokkaido encompasses lakes, volcanoes, and famous hot-spring resorts such as Noboribetsu.
Daisetsuzan National Park: The largest of Japan's 28 national parks -- and some say Hokkaido's most beautiful -- Daisetsuzan boasts three volcanic chains, fir- and birch-covered hillsides, impressive Sounkyo Gorge, and plenty of skiing and hiking opportunities.
Akan National Park: Popular for hiking, skiing, canoeing, and fishing, Akan National Park in Hokkaido is characterized by dense forests of subarctic primeval trees and caldera lakes, the most famous of which are Kussharo, one of Japan's largest mountain lakes, and Mashu, considered one of Japan's least-spoiled lakes and one of the world's clearest.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.