Itsukushima in Setonaikai National Park, the first of Japan's national parks (established 1934)

National parks (国立公園, Kokuritsu Kōen) and quasi-national parks (国定公園, Kokutei Kōen) in Japan are places of scenic beauty designated for protection and sustainable usage by the Minister of the Environment under the Natural Parks Law (自然公園法) of 1957.[1] National parks are designated and in principle managed by the Ministry of the Environment. Quasi-national parks, of a slightly lesser beauty, size, diversity, or state of preservation, are recommended for ministerial designation and managed by the prefectures under the supervision of the ministry.[2]


Japan established its first kōen (公園) or public parks in 1873 (Asakusa Park, Asukayama Park, Fukagawa Park, Shiba Park, and Ueno Park). In 1911 local citizens petitioned that the shrines and forests of Nikkō be placed under public protection. In 1929 the National Parks Association was formed. In 1931 the first National Parks Law (国立公園法) was passed. After much study and survey, in March 1934 the first parks were established — Setonaikai, Unzen and Kirishima — with five more in December and a further four two years later. Three further parks were established under the old National Parks Law, in colonial Taiwan in 1937: the Tatun National Park (the smallest in Japan); Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park, (the largest); and Niitaka-Arisan National Park (with the highest mountain in then Japan).[3]

Ise-Shima was the first to be created after the war, and a further seven had been added by 1955.

In 1957 the Natural Parks Law replaced the earlier National Parks Law, allowing for three categories: the national, quasi-national, and prefectural natural parks. With minor amendments this established the framework that operates today.[4][5]

As of 1 April 2014, there were 31 national parks and 56 quasi-national parks, with the national parks covering 20,996 km2 (5.6% of the land area) and the quasi-national parks 13,592 km2 (3.6% of the land area). In addition, there were 314 prefectural parks covering 19,726 km2 (5.2% of the land area).[6] On 27 March 2015, the 32nd national park was established, Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park,[7] on 15 September 2016, the 33rd, Yanbaru National Park, and on 7 March 2017, the 34th, Amami Guntō National Park, subsuming Amami Guntō Quasi-National Park.[8][9] On 25 March 2016, a further quasi-national park was established, Kyoto Tamba Kogen Quasi-National Park, on 27 March 2020, Chūō Alps Quasi-National Park, and, on 30 March 2021, the 58th, Akkeshi-Kiritappu-Konbumori Quasi-National Park.[10][11]

Protection status

The area of each national and quasi-national park is divided into ordinary, special and marine park zones. Special zones are further subdivided into special protection and class I, II, and III special zones, restricting access and use for preservation purposes. The state owns only approximately half of the land in the parks.[12]

Map of national parks

This map shows the locations of the national parks in Japan. Note Ogasawara National Park is not visible on the map.

List of national parks

Name Established Region Area [ha] Photo
Akan Mashu National Park 1934 Hokkaidō 90,481 hectares (223,580 acres)
Minami Alps National Park 1964 Chūbu 35,752 hectares (88,350 acres)
Amami Guntō National Park 2017 Kyūshū 42,181 hectares (104,230 acres)
Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park 1972 Shikoku 11,345 hectares (28,030 acres)
Aso Kujū National Park 1934 Kyūshū 72,678 hectares (179,590 acres)
Bandai-Asahi National Park 1950 Tōhoku 186,389 hectares (460,580 acres)
Chichibu Tama Kai National Park 1950 Kantō 126,259 hectares (311,990 acres)
Chūbu-Sangaku National Park 1934 Chūbu 174,323 hectares (430,760 acres)
Daisen-Oki National Park 1936 Chūgoku 35,353 hectares (87,360 acres)
Daisetsuzan National Park 1934 Hokkaidō 226,764 hectares (560,350 acres)
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park 1936 Kantō 121,695 hectares (300,710 acres)
Hakusan National Park 1962 Chūbu 11,345 hectares (28,030 acres)
Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park 1972 Kyūshū 40,653 hectares (100,460 acres)
Ise-Shima National Park 1946 Kinki 55,544 hectares (137,250 acres)
Jōshin'etsu-kōgen National Park 1949 Kantō 148,194 hectares (366,200 acres)
Kerama Shotō National Park 2014 Kyūshū 3,520 hectares (8,700 acres)
Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park 1934 Kyūshū 36,586 hectares (90,410 acres)
Kushiro-shitsugen National Park 1987 Hokkaidō 28,788 hectares (71,140 acres)
Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park 2015 Chūbu 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 Tōhoku and Kantō 37,200 hectares (92,000 acres)
Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park 1974 Hokkaidō 24,166 hectares (59,720 acres)
Saikai National Park 1955 Kyūshū 24,646 hectares (60,900 acres)
Sanin Kaigan National Park 1936 Kinki 8,783 hectares (21,700 acres)
Sanriku Fukkō National Park 1955 Tōhoku 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 Hokkaidō 99,473 hectares (245,800 acres)
Shiretoko National Park 1964 Hokkaidō 38,636 hectares (95,470 acres)
Towada-Hachimantai National Park 1936 Tōhoku 85,534 hectares (211,360 acres)
Unzen-Amakusa National Park 1934 Kyūshū 28,279 hectares (69,880 acres)
Yakushima National Park 2012 Kyūshū 32,553 hectares (80,440 acres)
Yanbaru National Park 2016 Kyūshū 13,622 hectares (33,660 acres)
Yoshino-Kumano National Park 1936 Kinki 61,406 hectares (151,740 acres)

List of quasi-national parks






Chūgoku and Shikoku


See also


  1. ^ "Natural Parks Act (1957)" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Natural Park Systems in Japan" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. pp. 4, 12. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  3. ^ Kanda Koji. "Landscapes of National Parks in Taiwan During the Japanese Colonial Period" (PDF). Osaka City University. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  4. ^ Sutherland, Mary; Britton, Dorothy (1995). National Parks of Japan. Kodansha. pp. 6f. ISBN 4-7700-1971-8.
  5. ^ "Natural Park Systems in Japan" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. pp. 1f. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Summary table of area figures for Natural Parks" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Birth of Myoko Togakushi Renzan National Park". Ministry of the Environment. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  8. ^ やんばる国立公園について [About Yanbaru National Park - Summary] (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  9. ^ 奄美群島国立公園(仮称)の指定及び公園計画の決定等に関する意見の募集について [Consultation about the Establishment of Amami Guntō National Park] (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  10. ^ "京都丹波高原国定公園の指定日について" (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  11. ^ 58カ所目となる国定公園「厚岸霧多布昆布森国定公園」が誕生します [58th Quasi-National Park "Akkeshi-Kiritappu-Konbumori Quasi-National Park" Created] (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Natural Park Systems in Japan" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. pp. 2f. Retrieved 1 February 2012.