10 Best Golf Courses in Japan

Discovering Japan's Elite Greens: The Most Prestigious Golf Courses Unveiled

Best Golf Courses in Japan

Golf enthusiasts out there! Did you know that Japan, a land renowned for its rich cultural tapestry and technological prowess, is also a hidden gem for golf? With an impressive array of high-quality golf courses, the country offers a unique golfing experience that blends meticulous course design, breathtaking scenery, and a distinct sense of tradition.

For foreign visitors who cherish the game, playing golf in Japan is more than just a leisure activity; it’s an immersive journey into a world where the sport is treated with reverence and artistry. From the lush, rolling hills of Hokkaido to the historic links in Chiba, each course presents its own character and challenges, making Japan a must-visit destination for any avid golfer.

In this article, I will introduce to you our picks for the 10 best golf courses in Japan. It is different from the actual golf course ranking in order to include courses from various areas in the country. If you are a golf enthusiast and happen to be traveling near one of these courses, be sure to check them out beforehand!


1. Hirono Golf Club (Hyogo)

Hirono Golf Club
Copyright © HIRONO GOLF CLUB.

The first golf course on our list is Hirono Golf Club (廣野ゴルフ倶楽部). This Golf Club, located in Miki City, Hyogo, opened in 1932 and was designed by Charles Hugh Alison. It stands out as a top-tier golf course, consistently ranked within the world’s top 50, recently ascending to the top 20.

Its acclaim includes a significant rise in rankings by American Golf Magazine (42nd to 40th in 2017) and 21st place in American Golf Digest (2016). Hirono has hosted the prestigious Japan Open Golf Championship five times, including a memorable 2005 victory by Shingo Katayama. The course’s rating was revised in September 2011, indicating its increasing challenge. Additionally, it houses the JGA Golf Museum, showcasing contributions to Japan’s golf history.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Hyogo

2. Kawana Hotel Golf Course Fuji Course (Shizuoka)

Kawana Hotel Golf Course Fuji Course
Copyright © SEIBU PRINCE HOTELS WORLDWIDE INC.

The Kawana Hotel Golf Course Fuji Course (川奈ホテルゴルフコース 富士コース) in Ito City, Shizuoka, opened in 1936, eight years after its sister Oshima Course.

The Fuji Course symbolizes Japan’s golfing tradition, designed by Charles Hugh Alison, who also crafted the renowned Hirono Golf Club. It’s regularly selected among the world’s top 100 golf courses and is highly regarded in Japan, second only to Hirono. Known for its dramatic and challenging final three holes, the course has been the stage for many tournament dramas. Its high ratings in reviews and its historical significance make it a popular destination for golfers.

In 2023, it hosted the 39th Fuji Sankei Ladies Classic of the LPGA Women’s Tour.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Shizuoka

3. Koga Golf Club (Fukuoka)

Koga Golf Club
© 2022 Koga Golf Club

Next on our list is Koga Golf Club (古賀ゴルフ・クラブ) in Fukuoka. This is a distinguished course with a rich history dating back to its origins in 1926 as the Fukuoka Golf Club Oho Course. Known for its challenging layout and scenic location facing the Genkai Sea, it’s one of Kyushu’s most prestigious golf clubs.

Twice the host of the Japan Open Golf Championship, with a third scheduled for 2019, it showcases the difficulty and beauty of a links course. The course features gently rolling hills and is surrounded by a pine forest, protecting it from the sea breeze, which adds to its challenge. The course rating, once 74.1, has been updated to 75.0, reflecting its toughness. Notably, the winning scores in its Japan Open events underline its difficulty, with low under-par scores marking the victor’s achievements.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Fukuoka

4. Tokyo Golf Club (Saitama)

Tokyo Golf Club
Copyright © 2008 Tokyo Golf Club.

Founded in 1913, Tokyo Golf Club (東京ゴルフ倶楽部) in Saitama is one of Japan’s oldest and most esteemed golf courses. Initially located in Tokyo’s Setagaya, it moved to Saitama in 1940, merging with Chichibu Country Club.

Notable for hosting the Japan Open seven times, this course is a significant part of Japan’s golf history. Its founders included Junnosuke Inoue, and its designers were Scots Colchester and Bredy, with later contributions from Komei Ohtani. Renovated by Gil Hanse, known for the Rio 2016 Olympics course, it ranked 95th globally in 2012.

Upcoming events include the 28th Japan Junior Golf Championship and the 89th Japan Open in 2023-2024.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Saitama

5. Yokohama Country Club (Kanagawa)

Yokohama Country Club
ⓒYokohama Country Club 2023

Opened in 1960, Yokohama Country Club (横浜カントリークラブ) in Kanagawa is a distinguished membership golf course with a rich tradition. Offering two 18-hole courses, the East and West, it provides a total of 36 holes.

Despite being just 40 minutes from the city center, it’s enveloped in vast greenery, creating an oasis-like atmosphere. The West Course, ranked 10th in Japan by American Golf Digest in 2020, has hosted prestigious tournaments like the Japan Open. It underwent modernization by Coore & Crenshaw from 2014 to 2016. The East Course, redesigned by Kentaro Sato, features challenging greens and numerous bunkers, enhancing its strategic play.

Additionally, the club hosts official competitions by the Kanto Golf Federation, adding to its prominence as a top golfing destination.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Yokohama

6. Sapporo Golf Club Wattsu Course (Hokkaido)

Sapporo Golf Club Wattsu Course
© Copyright SAPPORO GOLF CLUB

The Sapporo Golf Club Wattsu Course (札幌ゴルフ倶楽部 輪厚コース) in Hokkaido, Japan, opened in 1932, making it the first 18-hole course in Hokkaido. Originally known as “Tsukisappu Links,” it was designed by Komei Ohtani with help from turf expert Professor Tom Miyawaki of Hokkaido University.

After closing during World War II, it reopened in 1958 as the “Sapporo Golf Club Sapporo Course” and was renamed to Wattsu Course in 1962. Designed by golf course architect Seiichi Inoue, it’s renowned for its strategic layout and scenic beauty, comparable to the esteemed Otaru Country Club. The course’s history, challenging design, and picturesque setting make it a popular and prestigious golfing destination in Hokkaido.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Sapporo

7. Abiko Golf Club (Chiba)

Abiko Golf Club
Copyright © 2022 Abiko Golf Club.

Opened in 1930, Abiko Golf Club (我孫子ゴルフ倶楽部) is Chiba’s oldest existing golf course and a renowned venue for major tournaments like the Japan Open.

Its initial 9 holes were followed by another 9 in 1931, completing the 18-hole course. Designed by the Akaboshi brothers, influenced by Charles Alison, it features a strategic layout utilizing the terrain between the Teganuma and Tone rivers.

Known for its deep guard bunkers, it has produced famous bunker players like Isao Aoki. The course underwent significant renovations, transitioning from traditional two greens to a single green system in 2012 under Brian Sliver and Kai Golby.

It’s famous for hosting events like the Japan Women’s Open, where Bo-Bae Song triumphed in 2009.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Chiba

8. Shimonoseki Golf Club (Yamaguchi)

Shimonoseki Golf Club
Copyright © Simonoseki Golf Club.

Shimonoseki Golf Club (下関ゴルフ倶楽部) in Yamaguchi, Japan, designed by the esteemed Japanese architect Osamu Ueda, opened its first 9 holes in 1956, expanding to 18 holes by 1960. It evolved from the 3-hole Kawatana Onsen Golf Club founded in 1952.

This prestigious course is known for its scenic beauty, located near the picturesque Hachigahama beach and overlooking the azure sea. Shimonoseki has hosted the Japan Open twice, in 1991 and 2002, a testament to its quality and challenge. The course’s design and location contribute to its high ratings and popularity.

Additionally, it offers comprehensive services, including booking, reviews, and course guides, ensuring a top-tier golfing experience.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Yamaguchi

9. Karuizawa Golf Club (Nagano)

Karuizawa Golf Club
© KARUIZAWA KOGEN GOLF CLUB

Opened in 1931, the Karuizawa Golf Club (軽井沢ゴルフ倶楽部) in Nagano is a prestigious private club, often referred to as “Shin-Karuizawa.” Designed by one of its eight founders, Tori Kotera, the course features subtle undulations despite its overall flat terrain.

Its well-maintained fairways and high-speed greens are key to mastering the course, making it a popular choice for skilled golfers. The club is known for its rigorous adherence to rules, famously highlighted when a prime minister was once refused play due to a breach of club regulations. Besides golfing, it offers services like reservation comparisons, course ratings, and difficulty indices, catering to golf enthusiasts seeking a premium experience.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Nagano

10. Ise Country Club (Mie)

Ise Country Club
© 2018 ise-kankoukaihatsu

And finally, our last golf course on this list is Ise Country Club (伊勢カントリークラブ) in Mie. This golf course is known for its scenic hillside location and was designed by the acclaimed Seiichi Inoue.

It’s a popular golf course because of its diverse and challenging holes, including uphill, downhill, ridge, valley, forest, and water hazard holes, offering a unique and engaging experience for golfers. Inoue himself made history here by achieving the first hole-in-one at the club during the opening commemorative competition in the 1960s.

Besides the challenging course, the club offers services like reservation comparisons, reviews, and course ratings. It also hosts significant events, including the LPGA Women’s Pro Test second qualifying round in 2022, adding to its prestige.

Need ideas to incorporate along with this golf activity in your trip itinerary? Check out the following link for more things to do in the nearby area!

▶Best Things to Do in Mie


I hope you enjoyed this list of our picks of the 10 best golf courses in Japan. As I previously mentioned, if you happen to be near any of these golf courses and you are a golf enthusiast, then be sure to check out the information to see if you can maybe take some time during your trip to enjoy the sport that you love.

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