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The Ultimate Guide to Golf in Japan

Japan is a captivating travel destination that seamlessly blends the ancient with the modern, offering a remarkable experience for all who visit. Renowned for its exquisite golf courses, the country attracts avid golfers from around the world with its meticulously maintained fairways and stunning natural backdrops. But Japan is much more than just a golfer’s paradise. Immerse yourself in its rich history, from ancient temples and castles to vibrant modern cities. Delight your taste buds with its diverse and delicious cuisine, from sushi to ramen. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Japanese people, who embrace their culture with pride. Japan is a destination that tantalises the senses, leaving visitors with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for its unique blend of tradition and innovation.

Japan’s Main Islands & Prefectures

Hokkaido Island

Hokkaido is a golfer’s paradise, offering pristine courses amidst breathtaking natural landscapes. One must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts is Niseko, renowned for its world-class skiing but also home to fantastic golf courses. Hanazono Golf boasts 18 holes with stunning mountain views, while Niseko Golf Course offers challenging fairways in a picturesque setting. Another notable course is Hokkaido Classic Golf Club near Sapporo, featuring a championship layout with undulating greens and beautiful water features.

 

Kyushu Island

Kyushu Island offers a blend of cultural and golfing experiences. Beppu is a hot spring haven, and golfers can enjoy the nearby Beppu Rakuten Golf Club. The course boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the shimmering sea. Kagoshima also offers impressive golf courses, such as Kirishima Kokusai Golf Club, with its picturesque fairways set against the backdrop of volcanic mountains.

 

Okinawa Prefecture

Okinawa’s tropical climate and stunning coastal scenery make it an ideal destination for golfers. The Jack Nicklaus-designed Kise Country Club in Nago City is a must-play course, featuring challenging fairways and panoramic views of the East China Sea. Naha City is home to the spacious and luxurious Naha Country Club, which offers a unique golfing experience with its beautiful island green and ocean views.

 

Shikoku, Japan

Shikoku may be the smallest of Japan’s main islands, but it offers exceptional golf courses. One standout destination is the Iyotetsu Saijo Golf Club in Ehime Prefecture. Set in a tranquil valley, this course features rolling fairways, well-manicured greens, and stunning mountain views. Matsuyama Golf Club in Matsuyama City is another popular choice, known for its challenging layout and beautiful natural surroundings.

 

Honshu

Honshu, Japan’s largest island, offers a plethora of golfing opportunities for enthusiasts. Tokyo is a bustling metropolis with several high-quality courses. The Tokyo Golf Club, located in Fussa, offers a championship course designed by Charles Alison, known for its impeccable fairways and strategic bunkers. Another notable course is the Kasumigaseki Country Club, which has hosted international tournaments and offers two 18-hole courses with a rich history.

 

For a more traditional golfing experience, Kyoto is an excellent destination. The Kyoto Golf Club is nestled in the scenic countryside, offering a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Golfers can enjoy the beauty of cherry blossom trees and lush greenery while playing their rounds.

 

In the Osaka region, the Higashi Osaka Country Club is a popular choice. This challenging course is known for its strategic bunkering and undulating fairways, ensuring a memorable golfing experience. Nearby, the Hananomaki Golf Club provides a picturesque setting with breathtaking mountain views.

 

Moving to the northern part of Honshu, Sendai is home to several exceptional courses. The Sendai Golf Club, located in the scenic Zao Mountains, offers breathtaking views and a challenging layout. The course’s elevation changes and well-placed hazards provide an exciting round of golf. The Naruko Onsen Golf Club, set amidst hot springs and lush forests, combines natural beauty with an excellent golfing experience.

 

For golfers seeking coastal views, the Seto Inland Sea region provides stunning courses. The Onomichi Golf Club in Hiroshima offers panoramic ocean vistas and meticulously maintained fairways. The Fukuyama Country Club, located on the outskirts of Fukuyama City, is known for its stunning seaside holes and challenging design. Heading towards the Japanese Alps, Nagano is a destination that offers breathtaking mountain views alongside

Osaka street signs
Osaka, Honshu

Best time to Visit Japan

The best time to visit Japan for golf largely depends on the region you plan to visit and your personal preferences. Generally, the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons are considered ideal for golfing in Japan due to the comfortable temperatures and pleasant weather conditions.

 

In spring, the cherry blossoms bloom, creating a stunning backdrop for your golfing experience. Courses are often adorned with vibrant colours, adding to the overall beauty of the surroundings. Autumn brings mild temperatures and breathtaking foliage, transforming the golf courses into picturesque landscapes.

 

However, it’s important to note that different regions of Japan have varying climates and weather patterns. Hokkaido, for instance, offers excellent golfing conditions in the summer (June to August) when temperatures are cooler compared to other parts of Japan. Okinawa, with its subtropical climate, is ideal for golfing during the winter months (December to February) when temperatures remain pleasant.

Golden Valley Golf Course Japan
Golden Valley Golf Club, Honshu

Japan’s Travel Seasons

Japan’s peak tourism season typically occurs during the spring and autumn months. Spring, specifically late March to early April, attracts crowds due to the iconic cherry blossom season, when the country’s parks and streets transform into a sea of delicate pink flowers. Autumn, from September to November, is equally popular, with visitors flocking to witness the vibrant foliage, known as koyo.

 

On the other hand, Japan’s low tourism season tends to be during the winter months of December to February, except for popular ski resorts. During this time, fewer tourists visit, making it a great opportunity to explore attractions with fewer crowds and enjoy discounted accommodations. However, it’s important to note that weather conditions in certain regions, such as Hokkaido and Okinawa, can still be attractive for tourists during the winter.

 

It’s worth considering that major holidays and events, such as Golden Week in late April to early May, Obon in mid-August, and New Year’s celebrations, can also result in increased tourism and higher prices. By being mindful of peak and low seasons, travellers can plan their trips accordingly to make the most of their experiences in Japan.

Whether you tee off amidst cherry blossoms in spring, vibrant foliage in autumn, or enjoy the serene winter golfing opportunities in Okinawa, Japan caters to golf enthusiasts all year round. With meticulous course maintenance, warm hospitality, and a chance to explore the country’s rich history, culture, and delectable cuisine, a golfing trip to Japan promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to return for more.

Twilight Kyoto Japan

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