National Parks in Japan

The national parks of Japan (Kokuritsu Kōen) and quasi-national parks (Kokutei Kōen) are natural areas designated for protection and sustainable use by the Minister of the Environment according to the Natural Parks Law of 1957. National parks are designated and primarily managed by the Ministry of the Environment, while quasi-national parks, which may have slightly less beauty, size, diversity, or conservation status, are recommended for ministerial designation and are managed by the prefectures under the ministry’s supervision.

List of National Parks in Japan

History of the Protection of Japanese National Parks

The history of national parks in Japan dates back to 1873, when the first kōen or public parks were established, including Asakusa Park, Asukayama Park, Fukagawa Park, Shiba Park, and Ueno Park. In 1911, local citizens requested protection for the shrines and forests of Nikkō. In 1929, the National Parks Association was created, followed in 1931 by the approval of the first National Parks Law. In March 1934, the first parks were established, followed by several more in subsequent years, including three in colonial Taiwan in 1937.

After the war, the first national park, Ise-Shima, was created, and seven more were added in 1955. In 1957, the Natural Parks Law replaced the previous one, establishing three categories: national, quasi-national, and prefectural natural parks. This law set the framework that remains in place today.

By April 2014, Japan had 31 national parks and 56 quasi-national parks, covering approximately 5.6% and 3.6% of the country’s land area, respectively. Additionally, there were 314 prefectural parks covering approximately 5.2% of the land area. Since then, more parks have been established, including Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park in 2015, Yanbaru National Park in 2016, and Amami Guntō National Park in 2017, which incorporated the former Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park. In subsequent years, more quasi-national parks have been established, expanding the network of protected areas in Japan.

National Parks by Region and Protected Area

Name Established Region Area [ha]
Akan Mashu National Park 1934 Hokkaido 90,481 hectares (223,580 acres)
Minami Alps National Park 1964 Chubu 35,752 hectares (88,350 acres)
Amami Guntō National Park 2017 Kyushu 42,181 hectares (104,230 acres)
Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park 1972 Shikoku 11,345 hectares (28,030 acres)
Aso Kujū National Park 1934 Kyushu 72,678 hectares (179,590 acres)
Bandai-Asahi National Park 1950 Tohoku 186,389 hectares (460,580 acres)
Chichibu Tama Kai National Park 1950 Kantō 126,259 hectares (311,990 acres)
Chūbu-Sangaku National Park 1934 Chubu 174,323 hectares (430,760 acres)
Daisen-Oki National Park 1936 Chugoku 35,353 hectares (87,360 acres)
Daisetsuzan National Park 1934 Hokkaido 226,764 hectares (560,350 acres)
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park 1936 Kantō 121,695 hectares (300,710 acres)
Hakusan National Park 1962 Chubu 11,345 hectares (28,030 acres)
Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park 1972 Kyushu 40,653 hectares (100,460 acres)
Ise-Shima National Park 1946 Kinky 55,544 hectares (137,250 acres)
Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park 1949 Kantō 148,194 hectares (366,200 acres)
Kerama Shoto National Park 2014 Kyushu 3,520 hectares (8,700 acres)
Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park 1934 Kyushu 36,586 hectares (90,410 acres)
Kushiro-shitsugen National Park 1987 Hokkaido 28,788 hectares (71,140 acres)
Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park 2015 Chubu 39,772 hectares (98,280 acres)
Nikkō National Park 1934 Kantō 114,908 hectares (283,940 acres)
Ogasawara National Park 1972 Kantō 6,629 hectares (16,380 acres)
Oze National Park 1972 Tohoku and Kanto 37,200 hectares (92,000 acres)
Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park 1974 Hokkaido 24,166 hectares (59,720 acres)
Saikai National Park 1955 Kyushu 24,646 hectares (60,900 acres)
Sanin Kaigan National Park 1936 Kinky 8,783 hectares (21,700 acres)
Sanriku Fukkō National Park 1955 Tohoku 28,537 hectares (70,520 acres)
Setonaikai National Park 1934 Kinki, Chūgoku, Shikoku, Kyushu (joint management) 67,242 hectares (166,160 acres)
Shikotsu-Tōya National Park 1949 Hokkaido 99,473 hectares (245,800 acres)
Shiretoko National Park 1964 Hokkaido 38,636 hectares (95,470 acres)
Towada-Hachimantai National Park 1936 Tohoku 85,534 hectares (211,360 acres)
Unzen-Amakusa National Park 1934 Ky


28,279 hectares (69,880 acres)
Yakushima National Park 2012 Kyushu 32,553 hectares (80,440 acres)
Yanbaru National Park 2016 Kyushu 13,622 hectares (33,660 acres)
Yoshino-Kumano National Park 1936 Kinky 61,406 hectares (151,740 acres)

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