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Natural Sights in Japan Near Kyoto or Tokyo?

Natural Sights in Japan Near Kyoto or Tokyo?

Old Jul 27th, 2017, 11:55 AM
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Natural Sights in Japan Near Kyoto or Tokyo?

Hi all,

My husband and I are working on our itinerary for a trip to Japan in October. We have just 9 nights, so we're planning on splitting them between Kyoto and Tokyo (probably 6 nights Kyoto/3 nights Tokyo). However, I would really love to take at least one day to get out of the cities and into nature. I would love to go somewhere truly unique and beautiful that also happens to be day-trip distance from Kyoto or Tokyo, or maybe between the two cities so we can stop there on the way.

I've read that national parks in Japan often have a lot of commercial/developed areas, I would like to avoid that if possible and go somewhere tranquil and relatively unspoiled. We were thinking about visiting an onsen, but again, only if it's located in a beautiful natural area. I read that Mt. Fuji is often not visible due to weather, so I probably wouldn't want to take a risk on that.

Any suggestions for potential places for me to look into? Thanks!
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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You could make a stop at Hakone, which is between Tokyo and Kyoto, but I think you really have to spend the night to make it worthwhile. You may/may not get a view of Fuji, but you will be able to see areas of thermal activity and sail across a lake. Hankone is known for having lovely onsen.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 03:53 PM
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Nara Park has old growth forest and that's the closest I've gotten to wilderness. I think Hakone is more developed.

I think it depends on what you mean by undeveloped. I mean, if you can reach it easily by transit, there's usually a reason for that.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 05:14 PM
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One option you might want to consider is Nikko, which you can visit as a day trip from Tokyo, or given your interests, perhaps consider a night there. With one night, you could not only roam the main temples of Nikko, which are rather unusual for Japan and which are situated in an lovely ancient forest, but you could also visit the stunning waterfall, Kegon-no-Taki; walk a bit around Lake Chuzenji; and/or hike a bit of the Kanmangafuchi Abyss.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 12:43 AM
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Japan is overflowing with natural beauty - about 70% of the country is mountainous with green forests as far as the eye can see. There is no trouble at finding some good places, and you don't have to go far.
Around Tokyo, Nikko was mentioned and a good idea. You can also try Karuizawa, and closer to Tokyo there is Takao and Mt. Mitake.
In nearby Yamanashi, there is also the Shosenkyo Gorge, one of Japan's best.

Near Kyoto there is Kibune, Kurama, and Takao (not the same as above). Or try some of the hiking in the Kumano region in Wakayama.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 07:19 AM
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If around Kyoto-Osaka, I always recommend Koya-San. Is a hold complex of buddhist monasteries on top of a mountain. It is stunning and not far from hiroshima.
Nara is a beautiful place too
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 11:33 AM
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You're asking a lot.

You want unique and beautiful and tranquil, non-commercialzed, relatively undeveloped. That within a day-trip from the #1 largest metro area in the world (Greater Tokyo) or the 15th largest metro area (Kyoto- Osaka- Kobe).

And you don't want to risk the possibility that Fujisan won't be visible.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 09:44 PM
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Yes. What mrwunrfl said. For instance, Koyasan is beautiful, and wakayama in general looks like it's full of natural beauty. But Koyasan is still not unspoiled beauty- it's a pilgrimage sight.

And Koyasan is not really what I consider a day trip from where you want to go, anyway, and every other less commercialized place I have looked into going to is time consuming to get to. Or requires a car. Trains connect places people live and work, so trains mean development.
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Old Jul 28th, 2017, 10:27 PM
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Interesting. I think I remember mrwunrfl saying that he hadn't been to Nikko or Lake Chuzenji, but if so, maybe that has changed? And if marvelousmouse visited them, she doesn't seem to have mentioned doing so....

Whether train stops signal "development" depends, I think, on just how one defines that term. For example, there are trains all over the world that go THROUGH relatively undeveloped areas, with a stop or two en route.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 01:38 AM
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I didn't veto Nikko because I haven't been there. But temples mean commerce and pilgrimage to me- so development. If I'm sharing a trail with dozens of other tourists- development. If there are convenience stores, vending machines, hotels- development.

I agree that it depends on how one defines unspoiled, though. If the OP is looking for tranquility, and greenery, one can find that even in the middle of Tokyo or Kyoto probably. Actual wilderness, though, that I don't think is likely by convenient day trip. Domestic tourism is such a big thing here- I think any "nature" places convenient to those cities actively court weekend tourists.
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:53 PM
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Mt. Fuji is more likely to be visible in autumn and winter.
With two days in Nikko you could walk from Ryuzu Waterfalls to Yunoko Lake along with Lake Chuzenji.
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Old Aug 1st, 2017, 01:18 AM
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We went to Fuji Kawakuchiko, yes it's developed but not too much. We hired electric bikes and cycled around the lakes area, much of it was undeveloped and we only saw a couple of other people doing similar. We were lucky to have the most stunning views of Fuji. There are a number of bike hire places, one right opposite the train station, we hired from a place by the lake.
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Old Aug 1st, 2017, 10:18 PM
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I don't know how well it would fit but Miyama is a rural mountainous area not far north of Kyoto, particularly great to visit if you have a car, but doable without.
We booked the entirety of a traditional wooden bamboo-thatched house, about 100 years old and stunning inside and out. The owners / managing company organise to pick non-drivers up from the local station, and will take you to a local food shop to buy groceries for your evening meal - breakfast is provided by them.
They also organise activities as you like, we did a bamboo craft workshop, they also offer cooking classes, bike tours and walk in the local forests.
It's an agricultural area and very pretty.
Here's my post on it: https://www.kaveyeats.com/2016/08/mi...ral-japan.html
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