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    5 of Japan’s best summer destinations
    The land of the rising sun really shines at these top Japanese summer destinations
    Japan’s best summer destinations
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    Our feature on travelling to Niseko in summer shows how this once winter skiing destination is a now a great place for hiking, rafting and other family-friendly summer activities in Japan.

    But it’s not the only place. Here’s why we love Niseko in summer, with some of our other favourite Japan summer holiday spots as well.

    Niseko

    Credit: NAC Adventures

    Niseko

    What: mountain biking and trekking

    Once the snow has melted, Niseko becomes a verdant landscape of rolling hills and trails. Newly carved mountain biking trails run alongside river rafting experiences for the adventurous, while families can head for the tree-trekking assault course, or fruit picking in dedicated orchards.

    Kyoto

    Credit: The Asahi Shimbun / Getty Images

    Kyoto

    What: a huge summer city festival

    Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri is one of Japan’s biggest summer festivals. You know the ones: parades, elaborate floats and food stalls that turn the streets into a huge party. A whole series of events takes place during July, including multiple processions and shows.

    Mifuneyama Rakuen, Saga

    Credit: The Asahi Shimbun / getty images

    Mifuneyama Rakuen, Saga

    What: a historic garden and artful lights

    By day it’s a colourful, surreally beautiful garden in the town of Takeo, about an hour by car southwest of Fukuoka. By night, digital art is illuminated on the ponds. This special programme of lighting can be seen from mid-July to late September.

    Okinawa

    Okinawa

    What: beautiful beaches, undersea adventures

    Okinawa is known for its numerous secluded islands, pristine sands and laid-back atmosphere. Divers swear by the variety of sealife just below the waves, while foodies can’t get enough of speciality dishes like Okinawa soba and taco rice.

    Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido

    What: lakes, hills and bears

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this lush landscape features five lakes and scenic walking trails. The temperatures in summer are ideal, and it’s also peak time to spot brown bears – for this, you’ll have to go with a licensed guide or attend a short safety class.

     

     

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