Top 10 most beautiful lakes in Japan

Japan’s largest lakes rivers

Rivers in Japan are very turbulent. They are rafting, so they are beloved by tourists from all over the world. River water today is very actively exploited for irrigation systems in the fields, as well as for the production of hydropower. At the maximum developed capacity, the country’s rivers can give as much as 20 million ket, and this with a capacity of approx. 10 million ket. The largest and most visible rivers on the map are suitable for small boats in their small estuaries.

(Map of the Rivers of Japan)

The mode of rivers is known to be closely related not only to the country’s topography, but also to the surrounding climate. Summer monsoon, winter monsoon, and even typhoon-like considerable maximums of precipitation are the cause of the corresponding maximum water discharge. Overlaid against this background are elevated levels from spring and summer snowmelt in the mountains. Japan frequently experiences floods, the consequences of which can be very large-scale.

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Lakes here are as varied in origin as rivers. The largest of them are in craters, calderas or in front of lava ponds.

Japan’s major rivers


The Shinano River (Shinano-gawa), which flows in the Nagano Tikuma area, is Japan’s longest river. Its basin area, however, is only the third largest of its kind in the country. The river was formed by the joining of two rivers named Sai and Jikuma on the border of the prefectural territories of Saitama with Nagano and Yamanashi. It flows 367 km to the northeast of the country, carrying its waters into the Sea of Japan, into which it empties near the town of Niigata. The Shinano River is partially navigable for 75 km, but it is only suitable for small tourist boats. In the lower reaches of the largest of Japan’s plains – incredibly fertile, with rich and productive rice fields.

The Tone is a beautiful and resource-rich river that runs through the entire region named Kanto. It is quite small at only 322 kilometers, but it is also the second longest river in the country and the first among other rivers in Japan in terms of basin area. It has an interesting nickname – Bando Taro (Bando – an outdated version of the name of the region Kanto, and Taro – a common name in Japan, which is usually chosen for the oldest son in the family).

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The source of the Tone is on Mount Ominakami on the border of Gumma and Niigata. It collects tributaries and flows its main channel into the Pacific Ocean near the city of Teshi. The Edo Branch, which belongs to the Tone River, flows into Tokyo Bay.


The Ishikari is a river flowing on the island of Hokkaido. It is the longest on the island. Ishikari is the second-largest basin in Japan. The name is derived from the Ainu ishikaribetsu, “strongly winding river,” which corresponds to the “character” of the river downstream. It is 268 km long. The area of the basin is more than 14,200 km².

Flooding usually occurs twice a year – after the spring snowmelt and after the summer rains.


The Abukuma is a river that flows through the Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures. It is 239 km long. Its basin area is 5,390Km².

The source is located on the slope of Mount Asahi. The cities of Iwanuma, Kakuda, Sukagawa, Shirakawa, Koriyama, Nihommatsu, and Fukushima are located on the Abukuma.

General information about rivers

Because of Japan’s geographic location, rivers here are not large. There are about 260 bodies of water in the country. They mostly originate on mountain slopes, carve V-shaped valleys and, descending into the foothills, create alluvial plains. Residents of the country use the rivers to cultivate rice paddies or establish residential settlements near such sites.

In general, the length of Japanese rivers does not exceed 20 kilometers, the area of the basin on average is 130 square kilometers. However, on the territory of the country are located real giants for this area.

Deep Lake Biwa with the purest fresh water, which used to be called Omi, today is the largest on the Japanese map. It is located in the prefectural territory of Shiga in the central part of Honshu Island, to the northeast of Kyoto, the former capital of Japan. Biwa lies in a tectonic depression. This lake feeds the local Yodo River. More than 400 small rivers flow into it. The height of Biwa above sea level is 85.6 m.

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Biva has as many as four islands: Tikubushima, Takeshima, Okishima, and Okinosiroishi. Above it are the amazingly beautiful Japanese mountains. The lake is a reservoir of fresh water for the large city of Kyoto and its surroundings. The lake is home to a large number of edible fish. In the fall and spring, when the rains and local typhoons come, the actual water level in the lake can rise by 3 meters.


Lake Kasumigaura is now the second largest lake in modern Japan (after the world-famous legendary Lake Biwa). It is located near Ibaraki in the Kanto region, on the eastern part of Honshu island. The area of the lake is as much as 220 sq. km. It has an average depth of 4 m and a maximum depth of 7 m.

The Sakura and Naka rivers and about 30 small streams and creeks flow into this lake. The Tone River flows out of Lake Kasumigauri. The cities of Kasumigaura and Tsuchiura are situated on its shores. Today the lake is used in the state industry, for fishing, agricultural irrigation, and also for tourism.


Lake Towada is the largest and most picturesque lake on Honshu Island and is of crater-type origin, typical of such bodies of water. This lake is located at an altitude of 400 m within the boundaries of the National Park, in the border areas of Aomori and Akita. The walls of the caldera reach even a thousand meters high in some parts, and as a result are able to reach the top on the volcano Towada at 1159 m.

The bright blue, quite noticeable, hue of the lake water is, in fact, the result of its crystal clarity and the palpably large depth of the lake. Lake Towada is regularly visited by more than three million tourists every year. It is ideal for swimming and is a favorite destination of travelers. Therefore, the coast has a well-developed infrastructure, with numerous hotels and resorts.

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The fastest

Along with large and sprawling rivers, the three fastest bodies of water can be singled out:

  • Mogami flows through Yamagata Prefecture. It is 216 kilometers long and has a flow rate of 250 m 3 per second. The mouth of the river is the Sea of Japan.
  • The Fuji River has its source on Mount Nokogiri and ends in Suruga Bay, flowing into the Pacific Ocean. It is 128 kilometers long. Its current velocity is 64 meters per second.
  • Kuma is located on the island of Kyushu. It is over 115 kilometers long. Its current velocity is 104 m3 per second. It flows into Yatsushiro Bay. It is considered the most popular place among tourists: for 1 year its territory was visited by about 70 thousand people.

Japan’s most beautiful rivers

The island country is rich in beautiful, unusual landscapes. Especially interesting are the rivers of Japan. They differ from the mainland, as for the most part rapidly descend from high mountains to the coast and dissolve into the ocean. The duration of the water streams is limited to a small area of islands. Nevertheless, there are large rivers here, too. The water, gaining power because of the difference in altitude between the source and the mouth, is used to provide the population with electricity. But this is not the main advantage of the streams. Their beauty attracts Japanese and foreign tourists. People are eager to see the purest water jets, born by the mountains and feeding the coastal valleys with life-giving power.

This water stream is located in the east of Toyama Prefecture. It rushes toward the Sea of Japan from a height of 2,900 meters. Its path is full of rocky obstacles that form rapids. The Kurobe is a restless river and in the springtime the water often overflows its banks

Kurobe is only 85 km long. But the water manages to gain such speed that it allows a turbine built in its basin to generate electricity. Along its flow there are ten power plants. In Japan, this river is considered to have the best quality water.

The river cuts the gorge of the same name, which has become one of the three most visited in the country. There is a railroad track running through it. Travelers on the trains have magnificent views of wild, unbridled nature.

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Japanese rivers

  • Ateragawa – the blue stream

It is a short river winding its way through Nagano Prefecture. It is only 15 km long. It is a tributary of the larger Kiso. But the Japanese consider Ateragawa as the second most interesting creek. The fact is that this rivulet carries water of unusual emerald green color. This phenomenon is due to the fact that it washes granite, pristine boulders. The stones impregnate the water with minerals, creating a greenish hue. In addition, the river is shallow, transparent, clean. Through it you can see every pebble, every little thing at the bottom.

There are also navigable streams in Japan. So, the Nagara River (115.4 km) from ancient times connected ten cities. On its bed carried a lot of goods. People always knew who and what they needed. Because of that, the local population tried not to be hostile and to keep normal relations. Nowadays the Nagara is one of the three rivers with the cleanest water. It is also known for the fireworks festival that takes place on its banks. Thirty thousand tourists come here to launch the same number of rockets and admire the incredible spectacle.

This river is the longest in Japan. It has two springs, the Sai and the Jikumas. They join at the border of Saitama, Nagano, and Yamanashi prefectures. The Japanese take small boats on this beauty. The river is also known for carrying moisture from the mountains to the country’s largest valley. Thanks to its abundant water, rice has long been grown here. Along the banks of the river are cherry trees, which locals and tourists alike love to watch blossom.

By European standards, Azusa is practically a stream. It belongs to the Shinano water system. However, the Japanese would argue with tourists. For them, the Azusa is a river like any other. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains that change color with the season. A picturesque suspension bridge is built over this stream. Japanese come to its shores usually in the fall to enjoy the views of yellowing leaves, peacefully flowing clear water. Azusa is not navigable, as it is not very deep.

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This beauty flows in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, flowing into Kano. Kakita, one of Japan’s rare rivers that arose from spring water. It is known as one of the shortest rivers, only 1.2 km long. It is made up of the purest springs and meltwater. The year-round temperature of the water is 15°. Numerous birds dwell along its banks. Tourists come here to watch the bustling life of kingfishers, wagtails, and gulls. There are rare species of Japanese fish, which are also food for birds. Tourists are attracted by the rare flora and fauna of this river.

Japanese rivers

This river crosses three prefectures and discharges into the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for the clarity of its waters as it winds its way through solid rocks. This body of water is a favorite fishing spot for the Japanese. Here, away from the noise of the city, you can dive into a hot spring, take a boat ride (the depth allows). Athletes go canoeing and rafting on it. The flow is not very rough, allows you to quietly enjoy the natural surroundings, the bustle of fish and birds singing. Niyodagawa is considered the most beautiful river in Japan and on the purity of the water ranks first.

Fans of mountain peaks and the sound of water falling from a height will love this little river. It is 84 km long. It flows through Hokkaido Island and flows into the Sea of Okhotsk. The source of this water vein is situated on the height of 1558 km. Practically along its length the channel cuts through the rocks, sometimes divides by a particularly stubborn boulder. Even its name speaks. From the Ainu language it translates as “the hollow dug by the waterfall”. By the way, there are many small waterfalls in the upper reaches of the river, which are admired by tourists who are not afraid of the cold. Hokkaido is the coldest area of the archipelago.

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