Most Beautiful Places in Honshu

Koyasan

Temple in Koyasan ©Crystalline Radical/Flickr

Honshu is Japan’s largest island: it is 60% of the country’s total area. The population of the island surpasses 100 million. It is so populous because of the large metropolitan areas: the Great Tokyo Area, including Tokyo, Yokohama, Saitama and Kawasaki. Other large cities, such as Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima and Nagoya are also located on Honshu island.

As the largest island of Japan, Honshu has hundreds of sights. Amazing historic sights as well as religious spots can be found all over the island. This article sets out some must-see beautiful places of Honshu island.

 

Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan

Haguro-san Shrine, Dewa Sanzan ©douglaspperkins/Flickr

Dewa Sanzan is the collective name of three sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. Each mountain features a shrine. The mountains are called Haguro-san, Gas-san and Yudono-san and they represent the three stages of life: birth, death and rebirth.

This place is the center of a folk religion which worships mountains. This religion is called Shugendo and its practitioners are the Yamabushi. The best time to visit this sacred place are the months of summer. During winter, only Haguro-san is open, the other two shrines are closed because of the snow. Dewa Sanzan can be accessed by JR Joetsu Shinkansen railway or by bus, in both cases from Tokyo.

 

Oze National Park

Oze

Oze National Park ©tata_aka_T/Flickr

Oze National Park is located in the area of Tokyo. It is a great place for hiking: the mountains in the area are very nice in every season; although very few people visit the park during winter because of the snow.

The hiking trails pass over the two important sights of the park: Ozegahara Marshland and Ozenuma Pond. Here, hiking tours may take up to 8 hours. Oze National Park can be visited from Tokyo as a day trip, but lodging opportunities are also available. Otherwise, the park can be approached from both Gunma and Fukushima Prefectures by train, bus or car.

 

Koyasan

Koyasan

Temple in Koyasan ©Crystalline Radical/Flickr

Koyasan, or Mount Koya is the center of a Buddhist sect, called Shingon Buddhism. It is a small temple town; the starting and ending point of Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Some of these temples were established in the 9th century, but during the centuries, hundreds of new temples appeared here.

Kongobuji, the Shingon Buddhism’s most important temple, and Okunoin, the place of Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum are the most famous temples of Koya. Visitors can try out the lifestyle of a monk: almost 50 temples offer this opportunity. Koya can be accessed easily from Osaka, by Nankai Railways.

 

Nikko

Nikko

Decorated shrine in Nikko ©scarletgreen/Flickr

The city of Nikko is located near the entrance of Nikko National Park. The main attraction of the place is a decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu. This place was also the center of mountain worshiper sects.

The area of Nikko National Park has a beautiful landscape: gorgeous lakes, hot springs and waterfalls can be seen from the park’s hiking trails. The autumn colors provide the most scenic sight of the place. Nikko can be accessed from Tokyo by Tobu and Japan Railways.

 

 

 

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