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Hidden Wonders

[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Best of 2023: Dreamy Flowers, Shrine Secrets and More

Journey through the beautiful seasons of Japan in a "best selection" throwback to our hidden wonders of 2023, ending with our discoveries in the 2023 New Year.

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In Japan, the year 2023 brought an end to pandemic restrictions and a weak yen. Meanwhile, tens of thousands explored hidden gems and favorite places throughout the country introduced through our readers' favorite column, "Hidden Wonders of Japan." Thanks to you, our valued readers, this weekly column reached new milestones in popularity in 2023.

As 2023 comes to a close, we are delighted to share a special selection of popular columns from this series. In this last installment, we revisit five articles from the column published from January to mid-May. We end with our most-read Hidden Wonders of 2023, which captivated over 20,000 readers in the 2023 New Year.   

Check out these gems and discover for yourself why thousands read the Hidden Wonders of Japan series this year. Once again, thanks for following JAPAN Forward!

Last of 2 parts

Read [Hidden Wonders of Japan] Best of 2023: Spiritual Getaways, Steam Trains, and More

All stories are from our series, [Hidden Wonders of Japan]:

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Baby Blue Eyes in Toneri Park

A blanket of baby blue eyes in Toneri Park (© JAPAN Forward by Earl Kinmonth)

By: Earl Kinmonth, May 19, 2023

In Toneri Park, the third biggest park in the 23 special wards of Tokyo, there is a quiet hillside covered in a gentle sea of delicate baby blue eyes.

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Shibazakura Bloom in a Beautiful Oasis at the Base of Mt Fuji

Fuji Shibazakura Festival in Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture on May 4. (© JAPAN Forward by Katsuyuki Seki)

By: Katsuyuki Seki, May 12, 2023

The annual Fuji Shibazakura Festival has returned with a bang, offering a mesmerizing view of 500,000 shibazakura flowers and Mt Fuji.

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8000 Fireworks Light up the Night Sky in Akita

The Omagari Fireworks Festival held its spring session on April 29. (© Kyodo )

By: The Sankei Shimbun, May 5, 2023

In April, Akita Prefecture celebrated the spring chapter of the Omagari Fireworks Festival. Look forward to the even bigger summer event on August 26.

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Secrets of Monet's Pond at Nemichi Shrine

Nishiki koi swimming in Monet's Pond in Gifu. (Photo Galileo Ferrari©)

By: Galileo Ferrari, March 10, 2023

While algorithms and complex formulas may have a place in the art scene, Monet's Pond reminds us that there's nothing quite like seeing it in person.

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Read the full story.

The Archery Competition Where 'New Adults' Give It Their Best Shot

Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto was also the site of the Omato National Archery competition on January 15, 2023. (© Kyodo).

By: The Sankei Shimbun, January 27, 2023

On Coming of Age Day, Kyoto hosts a national archery competition for new adults. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience as all participants must have just reached the age of adulthood in Japan.

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What is your hidden wonder of Japan? If you have a favorite spot that didn't make our list, let us know in the comments section below. Happy New Year!

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Author: JAPAN Forward

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