Largest City


Don't let Chubu's spectacular scenery whizz by

Most tourists will only glimpse the region as a blur through a bullet train window; Chubu, though, deserves your attention.

The central region of Japan’s main island, Chubu is the mountainous hinterland that predominantly serves as a passage between the economic centers of Kanto and Kansai.  Chubu though has some of the country’s most scenic natural landscapes, great skiing and historical castle towns all bathing in the majestic aura of its iconic national landmark, Mount Fuji.

See the autumn leaves at Daigenta Lake in Niigata.

Capture the autumn kaleidoscope at Daigenta Lake in Niigata prefecture.

There are nine prefectures in Chubu which can be grouped together into three regions: the Hokuriku region, consisting of Fukui, Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures, the Koshinetsu region, which includes Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata, and the Tokai region, made up of Shizuoka, Aichi and Gifu prefectures.

Fukui is located along the Sea of Japan coast and is best known for Eiheiji temple, an active monastery in the mountains with around 200 monks who come to train in Soto Zen Buddhism. Neighbouring Ishikawa prefecture is worth visiting for the picturesque city of Kanazawa, which has well-preserved samurai and geisha districts, as well as one of Japan’s top three most beautiful gardens at Kenrokuen. Head up the coast to see the spectacular scenery at the secluded Noto Peninsula.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Photo by: Walk along the snow corridor on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a unique route across the Northern Japan Alps starting in Toyama prefecture. From April to June you can walk (or drive) through a giant snow corridor where accumulated powder creates 20 meter high white walls, before continuing through Chubu Sangaku National Park all the way to Nagano prefecture.

It’s hard to miss the soaring Mount Fuji, which dominates landlocked Yamanashi prefecture. The Fuji Five Lake region at the base of the mountain has some beautiful lakeside resorts, with hiking, fishing and hot springs aplenty. At Yamanouchi in Nagano, you’ll have to fight for a bathing spot with one of the wild monkeys in the local onsen (hot spring baths) after spending the day at Shiga Kogen, the largest ski resort in the country. Yuzawa in Niigata is one of the most accessible ski resorts from Kanto.

Top 10 cultural experiences in Japan: onsen

Spot bathing apes in Nagano prefecture.

Mount Fuji also muscles in on Shizuoka prefecture but the area is best known for the Izu Peninsula, a popular resort thanks to its stunning coastlines, beautiful beaches and quaint towns within easy reach of Tokyo. The bustling economic center of Nagoya in Aichi prefecture is Japan’s fourth largest city, and a good place to re-stock before visiting some of the remote mountain towns in scenic Gifu prefecture; home to the ‘little Kyoto’ of the north, Takayama, plus a number of nice hot spring resorts.

Destinations in Chubu

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Echizen Ono Castle in Fukui, Japan.


Discover dinosaurs and the art of Zen in fossil-filled Fukui!

Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture


Scenic Gifu prefecture is a rewarding stopping point on the way from Kanto to Kansai.

Hatago Iwa Rock Ishikawa Noto Hanto


Rich cultural heritage, great seafood and some stunning coastal scenery.

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano


World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture


The rice is right in Niigata, where there's skiing in winter, festivals in summer and sake all year round.

Mountain Fuji and Shimizu City in Shizuoka, Japan.


It's resorts galore in serene Shizuoka.


Majestic mountains, tall dams, traditional villages and walls of snow.


Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.