Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces, Ishikawa
Photo: Norikazu/Dreamstime

Survey ranks Japan’s 10 most scenic rainy day destinations

Don’t let the rain ruin your wanderlust – these top-ranking travel destinations look especially photogenic on rainy days

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

It’s officially June – in other words, it’s rainy season in Japan. However, you don’t have to let the weather dampen your spirit and ruin your travel plans. Come rain or shine, there are many beautiful destinations around the country worth visiting. Japanese travel site Jalan recently conducted a survey amongst their readers to rank Japan’s most scenic attractions that are particularly photogenic on rainy days.

From heritage temples to hydrangea-lined railways, these spots are worthwhile additions to your travel list. Just don’t forget to bring your umbrella. Since the ranking is in Japanese, we’ve reproduced the top ten here in English.

Yakushima Island
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

1. Yakushima Island, Kagoshima 

Claiming the top spot on the list is this nature paradise in Kagoshima prefecture. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations in Japan, Yakushima Island is a Unesco World Heritage Site, famous for the moss-covered Shiratani Unsui Gorge and home to some of Japan’s oldest trees. When it rains, the river’s water level rises and the moss-covered area looks even more magical.

Takachiho Gorge
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

2. Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki

Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki prefecture is known for the jaw-dropping 17m-high Minainotaki waterfall. The area is covered in dense green foliage, with volcanic basalt cliffs that never lose their appeal even on rainy days. Bring your raincoat and rent a boat to paddle through the gorge. 

Higashi-Chaya District
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

3. Higashi-Chaya District, Ishikawa

This popular tourist attraction is a teahouse district famous for its numerous shops selling sweets and traditional crafts. The time-worn, quintessentially Japanese streets are particularly photogenic on rainy days when the streetlights are reflected on the pavements.

Hakone Tozan Railway Hydrangea Train
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

4. Hakone Tozan Railway Hydrangea Train, Kanagawa

This stretch of railway between Hakone Yumoto and Gora stations is bursting with colourful hydrangeas from mid-June to mid-July every year. As such, the train is affectionately nicknamed the hydrangea train and the journey is one of the best ways to admire these rainy season flowers. 

Sanzen-in Temple
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

5. Sanzen-in Temple, Kyoto

The beautiful moss-covered gardens are the main draw at this quaint Kyoto temple. When it rains, the grounds become extremely lush. If you want to stay dry, take in the views from the temple's guest hall.

Oirase Gorge
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

6. Oirase Gorge, Aomori

The Oirase River in Aomori prefecture flows from Lake Towada through the enchanted forest of Oirase Gorge. Filled with lush trees and spectacular waterfalls, this popular hiking destination offers some of the best summer and autumn scenery in Japan, more so when the green moss-covered rocks and boulders have been kissed by the rain.  

Karuizawa Hoshino Area Harunire Terrace
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

7. Karuizawa Hoshino Area Harunire Terrace, Nagano

This heritage shopping street in the resort town of Karuizawa is covered with a cute installation of over 100 umbrellas. Bubbles also appear periodically over the street, making for a magical sight.

Cape Togenkyo
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

8. Cape Togenkyo, Miyazaki

This gorgeous destination in Miyazaki prefecture is home to approximately 2 million hydrangea bushes in a rainbow of colours. They look even more stunning than usual against the blue water of the Tomi Peninsula.

Bijin Bayashi Forest
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

9. Bijin Bayashi Forest, Niigata

Two destinations tied for ninth place, one of which is the Bijin Bayashi Forest in Niigata prefecture. This otherworldly forest is home to 100-year-old beech trees and they look surreal on a rainy day when the trees sparkle with fresh rain drops. The forest pond is so still its mirror surface will have you seeing double. 

Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces
Photo: Recruit Co., Ltd.

9. Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces, Ishikawa

Also tied for ninth place is Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces in Ishikawa prefecture. The jaw-dropping sight, set against the Sea of Japan, looks even more amazing after a rainy day when the sunset is reflected on the water-filled terraces.

More from Time Out Tokyo

Travel update: when can I travel to Japan?

Tokyo ranked as one of the best cities in the world in 2022

How to get your free ticket to Ghibli Park’s pre-opening preview event

There are weekly fireworks shows at Gotemba Premium Outlets this summer

FamilyMart has a special line of ‘Stranger Things’ Convenience Wear

Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.

You may also like
You may also like