Japan is a fascinating country that draws travelers seeking both exciting city adventures and peaceful nature retreats. And for those looking for romance, Japan has plenty of surprises in store.
In the cities, you’ll find a mix of places where locals love to gather, from bustling theme parks to serene temples. But if you want a quieter and more romantic escape, there are places away from the big cities that are perfect for that. Think mountain spa villages and beautiful island getaways.
So, if you’re thinking about a romantic trip to Japan, here are nine most romantic places in Japan you should definitely check out for a more intimate and special experience.
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1. A romantic island getaway in Japan
Two feet submerged in water, the vermilion portico of Miyajima is undoubtedly one of the most famous landscapes in Japan. This famous floating torii can be admired from a boat at high tide. At low tide lovers come to stick a coin on its mossy logs as a wish.
The walk then continues on the sacred island, where free deer often venture out of their forests to the gates of a Shinto temple or the Noren curtain of a shop. And in the evening, an unusual stay in a traditional ryokan allows you to relax in a hot bath , while often enjoying a kaiseki meal in your room.
- To explore: the ascent of Mount Misen promises you an unobstructed view of the Seto Sea. And of course, on the torii of Itsukushima Shrine . Pagodas and temples also punctuate the hike.
- The date to remember: an unusual oyster festival is held every year in February, including tastings but also traditional plays.
A pocket island off the coast of Shikoku, Naoshima is nevertheless world famous for its unique atmosphere. This former fishing island is home to artistic installations scattered throughout the territory.
Get on a bike to explore the south coast and its renovated minka houses , alternating between sensory experiences and games of light. Exhibition centers such as the buried structure of Chichu and the Benesse foundation, signed Tadao Ando , are not to be left out. The Benesse museum is also transformed into an atypical hotel at night, letting you wander between its works after dark.
- To explore : the main gateway to Naoshima, Takamatsu unveils one of the most renowned promenade gardens in the country. So walk through the Ritsurin-koen. Then, sip matcha during a tea ceremony in the Kikugetsu-tei pavilion.
- The date to remember: the Setouchi Triennial is held once every three years.
Are you tempted by Japan’s version of white sand beaches ? Then head for the Okinawa archipelago. Located at the southern end of the country, this string of islands in the East China Sea has a tropical climate. Sweetness of life and swimming in crystal clear waters are therefore on the agenda. And for a peaceful romantic stay in Japan , the coral islet of Taketomi is an unparalleled haven of peace.
In this tiny piece of land, time seems suspended. Buffalo carts take you there among the Ryukyu -style houses , with entrances guarded by mythical lion-headed shisas and surrounding walls encrusted with coral. Then, once the last ferry has left, pretty beaches reveal themselves to residents only.
- Enjoy as a couple: enjoy the sunset from the Nishisanbashi pier . The following evening, cycle around the island at dusk.
- The date to remember: the people of Taketomi-jima pray for bountiful harvests during the autumn festivities of Tanadui, leading dances and kyogeno comedy plays .
2. A romantic stay in Japan in serenity
On a romantic stay in Japan, do you dream of an unforgettable view of Mount Fuji? The snow-capped cone of one of the most illustrious mountains in the world reveals itself to you at the edge of Kawaguchi. Corresponding to Lake Ashi bordering the spa town of Hakone, Lake Kawaguchi is part of the five lakes region surrounding Fuji-san.
The panorama is therefore enchanting, set in the heart of a nature ,inviting to hiking and cycling. The autumn colors also draw a picture worthy of the most beautiful prints, while the Chureito pagoda seems to float above a sea of cherry trees in spring .
- Enjoy as a couple: some ryokans in Kawaguchi have baths with an incomparable view of Fuji-san. Sometimes the superior rooms even have a private bath on the terrace.
- Date to remember: From April to May, the flower carpets of the Shibazakura Festival paint an even more enchanting canvas at the foot of Mount Fuji.
Japan has an incalculable number of hot springs where you can enjoy a well-being stopover. However, the spa town of Kinosaki Onsen stands out for its authentic and romantic atmosphere. Thus, the best way to discover this village with seven onsen is to dress in a light kimono to go on a tour of the springs.
Yukata on your back and geta sandals on your feet, you experience the Sotoyu Meguri tradition from bath to bath and from pontoon to pontoon. At nightfall, the decor becomes even more poetic in the light of the lanterns. And back in your hostel, a feast of culinary specialties awaits you.
- To discover as a couple: lovers of exceptional views, plan an excursion to the neighboring city of Amanohashidate. Moreover, this sublime bridge of the sky lends itself to swimming in summer.
- The season to remember: Kinosaki can be visited all year round, but the delicate gastronomic delicacy of snow crab is enjoyed exclusively in winter.
Far from the hectic Japan of the metropolises, the Zen Hida Furukawa reveals a landscape of yesteryear. This peaceful town stretches its houses with whitewashed walls along streams where koi carp swim peacefully. Much less crowded than its neighbor Takayama, the city is a choice stopover on in the Japanese Alps.
Just as timeless, the surrounding countryside of Hida Satoyama can be cycled through rice fields and rustic villages. A pilgrimage route also leads you away from the city. And at the end of a stroll, many ryokans offer you a well-deserved relaxation break in a private bath.
- To taste for two: Hida Furukawa is known for its craftsmanship, and in particular its sake distilleries to visit.
- The date to remember: parades of floats and traditional drums take over the streets of Hida Furukawa on April 19 and 20.
3. A romantic city break in Japan
If the Japanese city rhymes for you with typical wooden houses and canals topped with weeping willows, then Kurashiki ticks all the boxes. This miniature Kyoto takes you back in time through the historic Bikan district.
The old Kominka warehouses in the Honmachi and Higashimachi sectors are being converted into shops, tea houses and inns. Renowned museums also make Kurashiki a mecca for art in Japan. And if side roads reveal charming nooks to walkers, a boat cruise remains a must to admire the preserved architecture of the city.
- To visit for two: for half a day, take a trip to the city of Okayama. Less than twenty minutes by train are enough to discover its superb Koraku-en promenade garden , in the shadow of Okayama Castle.
- The date to remember: paper lanterns and lamps illuminate the Kurashiki canals from mid-February to mid-March during the Haruyoi Akari festival.
Whether you’re visiting Kyoto or Osaka, Nara ranks number one among Kansai’s essential excursions. But the city is well worth staying there for a romantic night. First capital of Japan, although ephemeral, the city conceals a dazzling heritage.
From gigantic Buddha to large Buddhist temples, including some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world, Nara has well deserved its UNESCO label. . Cultural visits are also tinged with an unusual note. Because the deer in the city park don’t hesitate to keep you company. Sometimes you even stumble upon an impromptu Shinto wedding ceremony there .
- For two: the surroundings of Mount Yoshino are truly magical when the cherry trees are in bloom. You can then marvel at the view from one of the area’s open-air hot springs . Out of sakura season , the illuminated trees provide a magical setting for a stroll hand in hand.
- The date to remember: the Nara Rurie festival adorns the alleys and temples with lights as Valentine’s Day approaches.
The historic town of Kakunodate is located in Akita, a northern prefecture off the beaten path for a romantic getaway in Japan. And this little Kyoto in Tohoku opens up a fascinating window on a postcard-like feudal Japan . While a castle was erected there in the 17th century, Kakunodate built fortifications to protect warriors.
The neighborhoods today bear the mark of the great families of the past, and some ancient samurai residences can be visited. But beyond its historical appeal, Kakunodate enjoys an ideal position between mountain and river. The cherry blossoms further transform the city into a romantic theater in which to stroll under a swirl of pink petals.
- To enjoy as a couple: the surroundings of Kakunodate are full of lovely hikes for two. Strike a pose on a suspension bridge in the Dakigaeri Gorge or push on to the isolated Kinpo-jinja sanctuary, buried under a mantle of cedars.
- Date to remember: The Kakunodate festival is in full swing from September 7 to 9, blending Shinto and Buddhist traditions into one rare event.