People from around the world come to Japan to experience the sights, tastes and culture of this beautiful country. However, there are some places that many tourists never see or hear about, since they are located on the outer edges of Japan’s four main islands, in remote areas away from city life and tourist attractions. This list describes 10 mysterious and hidden places in Japan that you probably wouldn’t believe exist without seeing it first-hand. If you’re planning your next trip to this fascinating island country, be sure to check out these amazing sites while you’re there.
1) The ropeway on Mt. Osore
The ropeway is a spectacular ride that ascends to the very top of Mt. Osore, the second-highest mountain on the island. The views are breathtaking as you get higher and higher, with snow-capped mountains, volcanoes and forests as far as the eye can see. The trip up takes about 40 minutes while the descent only lasts 10 minutes.
2) Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in all of Japan. It has been used as a filming location for many Japanese TV dramas and movies. But what makes it even more mysterious is that its name means The Path to Heaven. The gorge is on the boundary between Miyazaki Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture, which are on opposite sides of Kyushu Island.
3) Iya Valley
The Iya Valley is one of the most remote and isolated valleys in Japan. Legend has it that the valley was created when a servant of Izanami-no-Mikoto, who was killed by Izanagi-no-Mikoto, became a vengeful goddess. She went to Izanagi and demanded he give her an arm and a leg from his body so she could create a new land for herself. He agreed, but she only took one arm.
4) Dogo Onsen
Dogo Onsen is a hot spring town located on the southern coast of the island of Shikoku, Japan. The area is known for its natural beauty and as one of the few remaining places that still has old-growth cedar trees. It is popular with tourists who enjoy soaking in the hot springs and exploring the surrounding forests.
Koyasan, a Buddhist retreat and holy site also known as Mount Koya, is situated in Wakayama Prefecture. It is the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and is home to over 1000 monks. The town contains many temples and shrines, with over 500 buildings on top of this sacred mountain. Koyasan was founded by a Buddhist monk named Kobo Daishi when he returned from China following its occupation by Mongolian forces.
6) Gunkanjima (Battleship Island)
You won’t find any life on this desolate island. Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) is a deserted island located near the city of Nagasaki. The island was once a coal mining facility, but due to the increasing use of petroleum and nuclear energy, the island was abandoned by Mitsubishi in 1974. Now it is only open to researchers and scientists. Visitors are not allowed on the island without permission from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries or Nagasaki Prefecture.
7) Abandoned theme park
There are many abandoned theme parks around the world. These parks have been left to deteriorate or been closed due to financial troubles. While many of them have been reopened, a few still remain abandoned and unknown to the public eye.
The most famous theme park is Tivoli Gardens amusement park located in Copenhagen, Denmark which opened in 1843 and closed down in 2008 due to financial problems. The park was reopened just four years later after being bought by a new company.
8) Aokigahara forest (Suicide Forest)
Aokigahara forest, or what is often referred to as the suicide forest, is a dense woodland located in the northwestern region of Mount Fuji. The area was named sea of trees by locals because it’s so densely wooded that it can be difficult to even see the sky when walking through. To make matters worse, Aokigahara has a terrifying reputation as being one of the most popular places for suicides within Japan.
9) Okunoshima island
Okunoshima is a small island with a population of zero. It’s also known as ‘the Rabbit Island’ because it was once home to a secret chemical weapons factory and the only inhabitants were rabbits. The factory was set up during World War II to produce synthetic mustard gas and other chemical weapons, but production ceased when the US dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war ended soon after.
10) Katsuragi Tunnel
Katsuragi Tunnel is a pedestrian tunnel lined with red and green lights that leads to the shrine. Legend has it that if you walk under the tunnel during the daytime, you will see only red lights on your way to the shrine, but if you walk under it at night, you will see green lights. It is said that this is because time moves faster at night than during the day.