10 Best Sunrise Spots in Japan
Best places to see sunrises in Japan
Experiencing the beauty of a sunrise is a blessing that only those who wake up early can have. No matter where you live in the world, sunrises happen. However, there are certain locations where the beauty of the scenery enhances the beauty of the sunrise, creating a photograph-worthy view.
In this article, I will introduce to you our picks for the 10 best sunrise spots in Japan. These locations are all scattered throughout the country, so if you happen to live near one of these locations or are planning to visit one of these places, then you should definitely consider making the effort to wake up just a little earlier than usual to experience one of these miracles of nature.
What time is sunrise in Japan?
Before checking out the list of best sunrise spots, it is important to know what time is sunrise in Japan. There are two factors that can affect this time which is the season and the location. Depending on what month it is and what part of Japan you are in, the sunrise time can widely vary.
During summer, it can be as early as 5 am or earlier depending on the location. On the other hand, during winter, it can be as late as 7 am or later depending on the location.
If you’re planning on going to any of these locations (or any other location) to watch the sunrise, be sure to check the sunrise time beforehand.
Also important is that you know about the concept of watching the first sunrise of the year. In Japan, this is called Hatsu-Hinode (初日の出) and it refers to the sunrise of January 1st. It is believed that along with the first sunrise, comes Toshigami (年神) which is the deity of prosperity and happiness. Therefore, it has been a tradition to pray for prosperity and happiness during this first sunrise.
1. Fuji Five Lakes
The Fuji Five Lakes (富士五湖), as you can imply from the name, are five lakes located at the foot of Mt Fuji. Out of the five lakes, Lake Shoji (精進湖) and Lake Motosu (本栖湖) are especially recommended.
In the case of Lake Shoji, because of the stillness of this lake, you will see a beautiful mirrored image of Mt Fuji while the sun rises from its back.
In the case of Lake Motosu, many people gather on January 1st to see the first sunrise of the rear from this spot because the sun will rise exactly from the peak of Mt Fuji. This is called “Diamond Fuji” by the locals.
2. Summit of Mt Fuji
Although not as easy to get there, another impressive sunrise you can watch is the one from the Summit of Mt Fuji (富士山頂). There are many ways you can climb Mt Fuji; from a beginner’s trail that begins from mid-way (you can get to the mid-way by car), to more advanced courses that only the experienced climbers will take.
Either way you choose to climb, in the end, the view from the highest spot in Japan is unique and breathtaking. If you’re lucky, there will be a sea of clouds and you will see the sunrise from it (as shown in the image above).
3. Oarai Sun Beach (Ibaraki)
Oarai sun beach (大洗海岸) is a 1.2km long beach located in Ibaraki prefecture. The most photogenic spot on this beach is where you can appreciate the white Torii gate on the rocky shore. The sunrise will taint the whole view in orange, creating a spectacular photographic effect.
4. Bungo Futamigaura (Oita)
Bungo Futamigaura (豊後二見ヶ浦) is a popular beach in Oita prefecture for two reasons. One is because of the symbolic two large stones in the sea which are called Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩). Meoto Iwa means “married couple rocks”, and these two rocks are connected by a 65m long rope that hangs across them.
The other reason is precisely to watch the sunrise coming from the back of these rocks. Many people come from all around Japan to see the first sunrise of the year here.
5. Katase Higashihama Beach (Kanagawa/Fujisawa)
Katase Higashiyama Beach (片瀬海岸東浜) is a popular bathing beach located in Kanagawa prefecture. Its shore is 560m long and is extendedly shallow, making it relatively safe for families to come and play at the beach.
If the sky is clear, you will be able to see Mt Fuji from the beach. And of course, since it is on this list, it is a great spot to watch the sunrise.
6. Bandokorobana Nature Park (Kagoshima)
Bandokorobana Nature Park (番所鼻自然公園) is a park located in the southmost area of Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture. This place is considered to be a “Power Spot” meaning that it is spiritually charged.
The sunrise you can watch from this park includes the stunning view of Mount Kaimon (開聞岳) standing tall on the other side of the ocean.
7. Inubosaki (Chiba)
Inubosaki (犬吠埼) is a cape located in the southmost part of the Kanto region, in Chiba prefecture. This is also known as the place where you can watch the sunrise earlier than any other spot in mainland Japan.
The symbolic lighthouse was built all the way back in 1874. This lighthouse adds a special something to the already beautiful view.
8. Hattachi Beach (Fukushima)
In Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture, you will find Hattachi Beach (波立海岸). Not so far into the sea is a small island called Bentenjima (弁天島) which you can go to by crossing a bridge. On the rocky island is a Torii gate that becomes a great collaboration with the sunrise scenery.
Many people, both locals and from other places in Japan, come to see the first sunrise of the year at this place. It is convenient because after witnessing the first sunrise, you can go to the Shrine that’s right there to pray for a prosperous year to come.
9. Cape Manazuru, banbaura beach (Kanagawa)
Cape Manazuru (真鶴岬) is another popular spot to watch the sunrise which is located in Kanagawa prefecture. There are three rocks coming out of the sea called “Mitsuishi” (三ツ石) that are connected by a thick long rope. The sunrise you can see coming from behind these rocks is a spectacular view that many people around the country come to witness.
This is especially popular to watch from Banbaura beach (番場浦海岸). This place gets full on the 1st of January with people wanting to watch the first sunrise of the year.
10. Hashigui-iwa Rocks (Wakayama)
Hashigui-iwa Rocks (橋杭岩) are a group of over 40 rocks, both big and small, that are peculiarly aligned throughout an 850m long and 15m wide shore. The scene you can experience during sunrise is incredible. The sunlight hitting the rocks creates an effect that seems like people on their knees praying at the sunrise.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you love nature and would like to know more about Japanese nature spots, make sure to check out the following articles as well!