Japan has its fair share of great night scenery too, and here we have listed the 4 best night views in Japan. Surprisingly too, these mind-blowing views can be found outside the city of Tokyo. So, there is another excuse to escape the confines of its sprawling concrete labyrinth.
So here are the 4 best sites we highly recommend you check out for night views in Japan.
1. Mount Hakodate – Hakodate, Hokkaido
Hakodate is a smallish city in Hokkaido with a population well over 200,000. It ranks as number one on this list because of its international reputation for amazing scenery. On the world stage, Mount Hakodate features some of the most stunning night views available. It is so impressive that it ranks among Hong Kong and Naples too in the top 3 views.
Standing at 334m to the peak, it is also quite small by Japanese standards. Despite this, the awesome view of the town and surrounding lights reflecting across the sea is a truly gorgeous visual treat.
On clear days and nights, the view is best, where you’re able to capture the sweeping mountains or the deep blue night sky. These stunning features of the landscape encompass the city limits.
You can access to the summit either by bus or ropeway. You can catch the bus between April and November, with services running throughout the day. Additionally, the ropeway operates all year round between 10:00-22:00 (21:00 in the cooler months). In fact, the more adventurous can also ride their bike or hike to the peak.
You can find out more about the highlights of Hakodate here.
2. Mount Inasa – Nagasaki, Kyushu
In Japan’s far western island of Kyushu, you can experience the historical cosmopolitan city of Nagasaki. Close by the city centre is Mount Inasa, which stands at an ever so slight 333m tall. The height might not be that impressive, but it is the view that blows people’s minds. Particularly, in the evening when the lights come on …
It is accurately labelled Nagasaki’s 10,000,000 million dollar night view (1000万ドルの夜景-Issenmandoru no yakei). The spectacular scenery can be witnessed day or night, but we recommend after sunset for the best views.
Mt. Inasa can be accessed by ropeway or taxi, with private round tours also available from the Nagasaki city centre. It is open from 9 am to 10 pm daily.
For more about Mount Inasa and the surrounding Nagasaki city please read our recent guide here.
3. Mount Rokko – Kobe, Hyogo
The tallest of the four mountains in this list, Mount Rokko stands at a towering height of 931 metres. It provides panoramic views of both Osaka Bay and Kobe city. The mountain is also a popular hiking and tourist spot, with many gardens, a golf course, hot spring resort and more.
It is said, the views from the observation deck are best experienced about 30 minutes after sunset. So we recommend you time your trip around that time, earlier in winter (5 pm) and later in summer (after 7 pm). Upfront you can capture the illumination of Kobe’s bright city colours. Beyond Kobe lies Osaka Bay and the limitless shinning lights which pan around the harbour.
You can climb the mountain via a cable car from central Kobe. You can also access the mountain via ropeway from the nearby Arima Hot Springs.
Find out more about Kobe in our Top 10 experiences post about this amazing city.
4. Mount Moiwa – Sapporo, Hokkaido
Mount Moiwa stands at a modest 531 metres is very close to the city of Sapporo. It is also the closest and most accessible skiing only resort from the city centre. The cityscape views in the evening are truly breathtaking and definitely worth witnessing in the evening. From the peak, you can catch but a glimpse below of the scenery. The real beauty is in taking in the actual views with your own eyes.
The base of the mountain can be accessed by the only light rail that operates through Susukino. The journey to the summit can be reached by a ropeway, then small cable car. During the winter season, we highly recommend you rug up, as the wind chill at the top is extreme.
Find out more about Mount Moiwa and other popular sites in Sapporo in our latest guide.
Of course, Japan is not only limited to the 4 heavenly views indicated above. There are many other sites which provide great scenery too. Here are some other honourable mentions we also strongly feel provide great scenery and photo ops.
In Tokyo, there is no going past Tokyo Skytree which is the nation’s tallest structure. Here you can get not only sweeping views of the city but on a clear day, you can sometimes capture Mount Fuji too.
Yokohama and Kanto’s tallest Skyscraper is Landmark Tower. The observation decks provide spectacular sights from the city’s diverse array of lighting and gorgeous reflection of the harbour.
Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Dera (Temple) has picturesque seasonal views, be it in spring or autumn. You can also capture the broader city limits and with the right timing the beautiful night sky at dusk.
Fukuoka Tower provides a very beautiful view of the town’s horizon. The bright colours of the city light up the boundless area that fill the windows of its panoramic viewing deck.
If you’re planning your travels in Japan, we invite you to join our rapidly expanding Travel in Japan Discussion Group via facebook.