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Meticulous greens and outstanding hospitality.

Japan is home to nearly 2,500 golf courses. Many of the best are in the southwestern Kinki Region with awe-inspiring scenery and long-standing history. Find out more in this introduction to the courses in the seven prefectures of Kinki.


A golfer’s paradise of epic natural beauty

With 77 courses, Mie is second only to Hyogo for golf provision in the Kinki region. Over a third of the prefecture is designated as part of a National Park, and the area’s rugged mountains and tangled forests make a stunning backdrop to play against. Highlights include the Ise Country Club course, devised by master designer Seiichi Inoue, and Nemu Golf Club’s coastal course that overlooks the breathtaking Ago Bay. For off-course attractions, head to Ise Jingu shrine – one of the most sacred in the country – or Iga city, the birthplace of ninja.


Scenic splendor on the lakeside

Picturesque Shiga prefecture is host to 42 golf courses, one of the most famous being the Seta Golf Course. This sprawling 54-hole extravaganza overlooks Lake Biwa, and is split into three sections – the North Course, the East Course and the West Course. The East Course was also designed by Seiichi Inoue, while the North Course played host to the annual US women’s professional golf tour Mizuno Classic in 2005. There are also a number of onsen (hot springs) resorts in the area which provide the perfect location for post-game relaxation.


Sink some putts in Japan’s ancient capital

Kyoto may not seem like an obvious golfing destination, but with 33 courses in the prefecture – many within easy reach of Kyoto city – the options here might surprise you. Try your hand at the Kamo Country Club or the Kyoto Golf Club, both with dual courses whose surroundings show off the beauty of the country’s seasons. From cherry blossoms in the spring to fall foliage in the autumn, you can immerse yourself in the essence of Japan while you hone your golf skills. Naturally, Kyoto city also offers a wealth of sightseeing opportunities for days spent off the course.


Escape the city with a trip to the green

The commercial hub of Kinki, Osaka is home to 34 golf courses where players can enjoy a round or two. One of the most well-known is the Osaka Golf Club, located south of the city looking out over Osaka Bay. Designed by Osamu Ueda, it boasts spectacular ocean views from the tree-lined fairways. Other popular courses include the Izumisano Country Club and the Kisaichi Country Club, with 27 holes each. Osaka city also provides a stunning array of nightlife options for golfers once they’ve finished on the green.


Outstanding repuptation

Hyogo is Kansai’s undisputed king of golf courses. With a phenomenal 153 to choose from, it’s home to some of the best courses in the country. The most prestigious of these is Hirono Golf Course, which has played host to all of the major Japanese championships over the years, and was designed by the legendary Charles Alison. Other highlights of the prefecture include the Naruo Golf Club, whose course Alison was also responsible for, and the Ono Golf Club. The latter is another of Osamu Ueda’s creations, known for its hilly terrain, woodland surroundings and challenging holes.


Pristine courses without a deer in sight

There are 32 golf courses spread across Nara prefecture, providing options to suit all skill levels. Nara Royal Golf Club’s course is designed around the theme of water, with six ponds interspersing its holes, while the Manjyu Golf Club has styled its course in the image of a traditional Japanese garden. The Naranomori Golf Club, meanwhile, is a good choice for beginners with its flatter topography and mountain views. Nara city is also home to some unmissable sightseeing attractions, such as Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, which will make perfect excursions on non-golfing days of your trip.


Low in numbers, but high in quality

Wakayama is home to the fewest golf courses in Kinki, with just 22 within its borders, but don’t let that discourage you. Take your pick of awe-inspiring scenery, from gorgeous ocean views at the Kinan Country Club to lush mountain surroundings at the Leograd Golf Club. The Sunresort Country Club’s flat course is great for beginners, while the Wakayama Country Club offers more of a challenge. For off-course activities, try hiking part of the 1000-year-old Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, indulging your spiritual side at Mount Koya, or relaxing on the beach in Shirahama.