Lakes In Japan

23rd April 2024

11 Best Lakes in Japan that You You Should Definitely Explore in 2023

Are you ready to embark on an awe-inspiring journey through Japan’s natural wonders? Get ready to dive into the enchanting world of the best lakes in Japan!

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we can assure you that these breathtaking lakes will leave you spellbound.

In this blog post, we’ll be your travel companions, guiding you through the picturesque shores, serene boat rides, and hidden gems that make each lake a unique paradise.

So, join us on this adventure, and let’s discover the beauty of Japan’s stunning lakes together!

Best Lakes in Japan

1. Lake Biwa: Japan’s Timeless Wonder

Located in the heart of the Kansai region, Lake Biwa reigns as Japan’s largest and oldest freshwater lake. Its vast expanse shimmers under the sun, enticing visitors with picturesque views and a myriad of activities.

The lake’s eastern shores are dotted with ancient temples and shrines, including the renowned Chikubushima Island, a designated national treasure. Journey to the northern tip for panoramic vistas from the Nagahama Castle ruins or unwind at one of the lakeside resorts.

Whether it’s fishing, boat tours, or simply soaking in nature’s serenity, Lake Biwa has it all.

  • Location: Shiga Prefecture, Kansai region, Honshu Island

2. Lake Towada: A Prismatic Oasis in Aomori

Nestled amidst the captivating Towada-Hachimantai National Park in Aomori Prefecture, Lake Towada is a masterpiece of nature’s artistry. Its serene azure waters reflect the lush greenery and vibrant foliage surrounding it, making it a visual symphony, especially during autumn.

Indulge in a serene boat cruise to soak in the tranquility or hike along the picturesque Oirase Stream for an unforgettable nature encounter. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the mystique of the hidden volcano, Oyu Stone Circles, on the lake’s eastern shore.

  • Location: Aomori Prefecture, Tohoku region, Honshu Island

3. Lake Ashinoko: Hakone’s Enchanting Gem

In the heart of the enchanting Hakone region, you’ll discover the ethereal Lake Ashinoko with its mesmerizing views of the iconic Mt. Fuji. Embark on a scenic cruise aboard traditional pirate ships, and be awe-struck by the symphony of nature’s beauty.

A trip to Hakone wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Hakone Shrine, boasting a vermillion torii gate seemingly floating on the lake’s surface. As the day unfolds, head to one of the numerous hot spring resorts for a soul-soothing experience with the majestic lake as your backdrop.

  • Location: Kanagawa Prefecture, Kanto region, Honshu Island

4. Lake Tazawa: The Turquoise Jewel of Akita

Lake Tazawa boasts the title of Japan’s deepest lake, its crystalline waters embodying an otherworldly turquoise hue. Legend has it that the lake’s brilliant color is attributed to a young maiden who wished for eternal beauty and was granted it by the gods, turning her into the lake itself.

Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenade or venture into the surrounding forests for a rendezvous with nature. For a touch of culture, visit the mesmerizing Gozanoishi Shrine and marvel at the poetic grandeur of Mt. Komagatake in the backdrop.

  • Location: Akita Prefecture, Tohoku region, Honshu Island

5. Lake Chuzenji: Nature’s Retreat in Nikko

Nestled within the breathtaking Nikko National Park, Lake Chuzenji awaits its serene ambiance and cool mountain air. Once a crater lake, it now boasts a serene sanctuary for nature enthusiasts.

The Kegon Falls, cascading dramatically nearby, provide a splendid sight that shouldn’t be missed. For sweeping views, venture up to the Akechidaira Observation Deck or indulge in water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

Relish in the essence of a bygone era with a visit to the historical British and Italian embassies, adding a touch of culture to your lake escapade.

  • Location: Tochigi Prefecture, Kanto region, Honshu Island

6. Lake Shikotsu: Hokkaido’s Gem of Tranquility

Hidden within the untamed landscapes of Hokkaido, Lake Shikotsu presents a mesmerizing display of crystal-clear waters and unspoiled nature. The lake’s unique volcanic origins are evident in its pristine beauty, making it a popular destination for nature lovers.

Enjoy the tranquility by fishing on the calm waters or taking a leisurely stroll along the shore. For an invigorating experience, venture into the nearby forests and witness the diverse wildlife, including majestic eagles and elusive deer.

Don’t miss the chance to indulge in the therapeutic hot springs scattered around the lake, offering a slice of paradise amidst the rugged wilderness.

  • Location: Hokkaido, Hokkaido region, Hokkaido Island

7. Lake Sai: Gifu’s Hidden Sanctuary

Nestled in the lesser-known Gifu Prefecture, Lake Sai is a hidden sanctuary for those seeking solitude and natural beauty. Escape the crowds and relish the tranquility of the lake, set against a backdrop of lush hills and verdant forests.

Camping enthusiasts will find bliss in the lakeside camping grounds, where evenings are graced with stunning sunsets over the water. Embark on nature walks around the lake to spot local flora and fauna or gaze upon the starry night sky, undisturbed by city lights.

  • Location: Gifu Prefecture, Chubu region, Honshu Island

8. Lake Inawashiro: Heaven’s Mirror in Fukushima

Bask in the captivating charm of Lake Inawashiro, often dubbed “Heaven’s Mirror” for its mirror-like surface reflecting the surrounding landscapes. Perfectly positioned in the heart of the Tohoku region, the lake boasts an array of water sports and recreational activities.

Enjoy the soothing lake breeze while sailing or fishing, and make sure to visit the majestic Tsurugajo Castle nearby for a taste of history. Experience the traditional rural charm of Ouchi-juku village, offering a glimpse into Japan’s past with its thatched-roof houses and picturesque settings.

  • Location: Fukushima Prefecture, Tohoku region, Honshu Island

9. Lake Mashu: The Enigmatic Caldera Lake

In the enigmatic Akan-Mashu National Park, you’ll find the elusive beauty of Lake Mashu, embraced by mist and mystery. With restricted access to its shores, the lake’s aquamarine waters remain pristine and untouched, adding to its allure.

Traverse the nearby Bihoro Pass to savor awe-inspiring panoramas of the lake and surrounding mountains. Adventure seekers can explore the park’s hiking trails or partake in birdwatching, hoping to spot the elusive Blakiston’s fish owl, a symbol of the region’s natural richness.

  • Location: Hokkaido, Hokkaido region, Hokkaido Island

10. Lake Kussharo: Hot Springs and Green Algae Galore

Lake Kussharo unveils a delightful combination of nature’s wonders in Eastern Hokkaido. Famous for its volcanic hot springs, known as “sunayu,” visitors can indulge in an idyllic lakeside soak while admiring the serene surroundings.

The lake’s unique attraction lies in its floating marimo, rare green algae balls, giving the waters a surreal appearance. Wildlife enthusiasts can observe the graceful swans gliding across the lake’s surface or witness the spectacular sight of Steller’s sea eagles during winter.

  • Location: Hokkaido, Hokkaido region, Hokkaido Island

11. Lake Motosu: The Fuji-Five Lake Delight

Completing our journey is Lake Motosu, one of the iconic Fuji Five Lakes. Gazing upon the lake’s crystal-clear waters, visitors are treated to a reflection of the magnificent Mt. Fuji, a sight that has inspired artists and poets for centuries.

Embrace the tranquility with lakeside picnics, camping under the starry night, or capturing postcard-perfect photographs of the majestic peak. Discover the essence of Japanese aesthetics at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, where kimono masterpieces are on display, celebrating the symbiosis of art and nature.

  • Location: Yamanashi Prefecture, Chubu region, Honshu Island

Conclusion – Best Lakes in Japan

And there you have it, fellow adventurers! The mesmerizing odyssey through the best lakes in Japan comes to an end, but the memories will linger on. From the tranquil shores of Lake Biwa to the mystical allure of Lake Mashu, Japan’s natural wonders never cease to amaze.

So, when you plan your next escapade, remember to add these picturesque lakes to your bucket list. Until then, may the serenity of these beautiful lakes continue to inspire wanderlust in your hearts.

FAQs – Best Lakes in Japan

Which lake in Japan is the largest and most famous?

The largest and most famous lake in Japan is none other than Lake Biwa! Located in the Kansai region, it’s a stunning beauty with boat tours, fishing, and ancient temples nearby. Don’t miss capturing its charm from the best viewpoints.

Are there any lakes with hot springs in Japan?

Absolutely! Lake Kussharo is renowned for its volcanic hot springs, known as “sunayu,” offering a perfect lakeside soak. Embrace the natural wonders as you relax amidst picturesque landscapes and floating marimo.

What makes Lake Towada so special?

Nestled in Aomori Prefecture, Lake Towada is a prismatic oasis, especially during autumn when vibrant foliage surrounds its azure waters. Take a tranquil boat cruise or hike along Oirase Stream for an unforgettable nature encounter.

Can I get a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from any of these lakes?

You bet! Head to Lake Ashinoko in the Hakone region for a chance to witness Mt. Fuji’s iconic reflection on the lake’s surface. The picturesque views from the traditional pirate ships will leave you mesmerized.

Are there any hidden gems among these lakes?

Indeed! Lake Sai in Gifu Prefecture is a hidden sanctuary, perfect for those seeking solitude and natural beauty. Escape the crowds, camp by the lake, and indulge in peaceful nature walks amidst lush hills.

Which lake is shrouded in mystery and legends?

Lake Tazawa in Akita Prefecture is steeped in legend, believed to have been born from a maiden’s wish for eternal beauty. Its turquoise hue and the enchanting Gozanoishi Shrine make it a mystical wonder.

Can you recommend a lakeside destination with an artistic touch?

Look no further than Lake Motosu, part of the Fuji Five Lakes. Capture postcard-perfect photographs of Mt. Fuji’s reflection and visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, where kimono masterpieces celebrate art and nature’s harmony.
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