Top Ten Prefectures In Japan

A list of the most liked prefectures of Japan for travelers.

The Top Ten

1 Okayama Prefecture

Home to some of Japan's best gardens, castles, historic districts, fruit, food, nature, and onsen, Okayama Prefecture has a lot to offer but remains off the beaten path enough that there are not hordes of tourists overcrowding the sites so you can actually enjoy them.

Magnificent place with some of the best scenery and onsens. Not forgetting the beautiful castles, temples and of course, food!

2 Kagawa Prefecture

Although it is the smallest prefecture, a lot of amazing sites are packed within its borders, such as Ritsurin Garden, numerous world-class art islands, Marugame Castle, Kotohiki Park, Konpirasan, etc.

3 Kochi Prefecture

With the Shimanto River, Ryugado Cave, and many scenic capes and coastlines, Kochi is great for nature-lovers. As the birthplace of the famous samurai, Sakamoto Ryoma, and home to one of Japan's original castles, it's also popular among history buffs. Kochi is an excellent diversion for those looking to go outside of the typical travelers' itinerary.

4 Shiga Prefecture

A scenic prefecture with historic sites surrounding Lake Biwa from Hikone Castle, Taga Shrine, and many old castle battle sites in the north to Mount Hiei, Ishiyama-dera, and the Omi-Hachiman historic area to the south.

5 Kyoto Prefecture

Of course Kyoto City steals much of the prefecture's spotlight. Being the former capital it is home to imperial palaces and hundreds of famous temples and shrines, but there are also many interesting places beyond Kyoto City, such as the Byodoin Temple in Uji, Amanohashidate in Miyazu, Ikkyuji Temple in Kyotanabe, Miyama's thatched roofs in Nantan, etc. for visitors willing to venture out.

6 Aomori Prefecture

The northernmost prefecture of Honshu, it is home to Osorezan, known as the gateway to hell, the famous Nebuta Matsuri, Hirosaki Castle, and many interesting natural sites.

7 Fukui Prefecture

An often forgotten prefecture, with sites like Tojimbo, Maruoka Castle, Eiheiji Temple, Kehi Shrine, Ichijodani, etc. , it is well worth a stop to see and explore what it has to offer.

8 Shimane Prefecture

Extended along the San-in Coast, it's both scenic and historic. Some of its popular sites include Matsue Castle, Tamatsukuri Onsen, Iwami Ginzan silver mines, and the Christian sites in Tsuwano. The Izumo region is also located within the prefecture, so it is a great spiritual site, with Izumo Shrine being the most famous but many other shrines and temples here have been mentioned in important historic documents.

9 Hokkaido Prefecture

Its large size with great cities and fantastic landscapes, this prefecture deserves to be in the top ten! - SidneyHando

10 Nagano Prefecture

The Contenders

11 Tottori Prefecture
12 Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture has the interesting designation as the place with the most Buddhist mummies. It is also home to Yamadera and the famous Dewa Sanzan. In the winter, the Zao 'Snow Monsters' are a popular attraction. The local Yonezawa Beef is considered to be among Japan's best.

13 Gifu Prefecture
14 Chiba Prefecture
15 Wakayama Prefecture

The Kumano Pilgrimage Route and all of the temples and shrines along the trail dominate the landscape of the prefecture. It's a great combination of history and nature, and after enjoying the pilgrimage sites, visitors can enjoy Shirahama Onsen, one of the nation's top hot springs.

16 Niigata Prefecture

Niigata Prefecture is a hidden paradise full of colourful culture. Facts you might not have known include that prefecture contains the longest river in Japan, Shinano river, and the mouth of the river is situated in Niigata city, or that skiing in Japan, began in Niigata Prefecture, in 1911. Due to its large coastline, it the main shipping area in Japan, from the Sea of Japan, including imports and exports from China. From the nature to history to food, Niigata is an absolute wonder, you'll love!

Beautiful place, great people, sea and mountain

17 Tokushima Prefecture
18 Osaka Prefecture
19 Hiroshima Prefecture

Beautiful island of Miyajima, very friendly locals and the energy of the city which has risen from radioactive ashes

20 Hyogo Prefecture
21 Fukuoka Prefecture
22 Nara Prefecture

Nara Prefecture is a history-lovers dream. Similar to Kyoto, but sites are less concentrated in a single city.

23 Oita Prefecture

Beautiful mountains, lakes and a nice view

24 Saga Prefecture
25 Akita Prefecture
26 Ehime Prefecture
27 Okinawa Prefecture
28 Tokyo Prefecture
29 Miyazaki Prefecture
30 Ishikawa Prefecture

Kanazawa and Natadera Temple in Komatsu alone should put Ishikawa in the top ten.

31 Gunma Prefecture
32 Kagoshima Prefecture

Home to the Ibusuki Sandbaths, an active volcano, the beautiful Chiran district, and the World Heritage Yakushima Island which served as part of the inspiration for the forest in Princess Mononoke, Kagoshima is an excellent place of the main tourist track.

33 Toyama Prefecture

The Alpine Route is arguably the most popular attraction in the prefecture along with Gokayama, Toyama's village that accompanies Shirakawa-go. It also has a nice castle, giant Buddha Statue, and delicious sushi.

34 Iwate Prefecture
35 Ibaraki Prefecture
36 Kanagawa Prefecture
37 Mie Prefecture
38 Tochigi Prefecture
39 Yamaguchi Prefecture
40 Saitama Prefecture
41 Kumamoto Prefecture
42 Shizuoka Prefecture
43 Fukushima Prefecture
44 Aichi Prefecture
45 Miyagi Prefecture
46 Yamanashi Prefecture
47 Nagasaki Prefecture
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