The Most Popular Island in Japan: Ranking the Crowning Jewel of Japan's Archipelago

Choose the Isle you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 28, 2023 08:20
Welcome to StrawPoll, your ultimate destination for discovering the most popular island in the land of the rising sun - Japan! We've curated a mesmerizing list of spectacular islands, each boasting its own unique charm, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. It's time for you to dive in and cast your vote for your favorite Japanese paradise or even suggest an undiscovered gem that deserves the spotlight. Will it be the tropical shores of Okinawa, the serene beauty of Hokkaido, or perhaps the mystique of Yakushima? The choice is yours! Join thousands of fellow wanderlust souls in this exciting quest to unveil the crowned jewel of Japan's islands, and let's embark on an unforgettable journey together. So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote now and let your voice be heard!

What Is the Most Popular Island in Japan? (October 2023)

  1. 1


    Honshu is Japan's largest and most populous island. It is the cultural and economic center of Japan, home to Tokyo, Kyoto, and other major cities.
    Honshu is the largest and most populous island in Japan, located in the central part of the country. It is known for its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities.
    • Area: 225,800 square kilometers
    • Population: approximately 104 million
    • Major Cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, Kyoto, Hiroshima
    • Mountains: Mount Fuji, Mount Tateyama, Mount Hakusan
    • Rivers: Shinano River, Tone River, Kiso River
  2. 2


    Natural phenomena
    Hokkaido is the second-largest island in Japan and is known for its natural beauty, including national parks and ski resorts.
    Hokkaido is the second-largest island of Japan, located in the northernmost part of the country. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, breathtaking landscapes, and unique wildlife. The island offers various outdoor activities, hot springs, and delicious local cuisine. Hokkaido is a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists.
    • Location: Northernmost part of Japan
    • Size: 77,981 square kilometers
    • Population: 5,377,435 (as of 2020)
    • Capital City: Sapporo
    • Climate: Cool summers and long, snowy winters
  3. 3
    Okinawa is a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and a unique culture influenced by its history as a separate kingdom.
    Okinawa is a widely popular island in Japan located in the East China Sea. It is known for its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and rich cultural heritage. The island offers a unique blend of traditional Japanese culture with influences from its indigenous people, the Ryukyuans. Visitors can explore historical sites, indulge in delicious cuisine, and enjoy various water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. Okinawa is also famous for its warm and welcoming locals who are proud of their island's distinct identity.
    • Location: East China Sea
    • Size: approximately 2,280 square kilometers
    • Capital: Naha
    • Climate: subtropical
    • Language: Japanese (with a distinct dialect)
  4. 4
    NASA · Public domain
    Kyushu is Japan's third-largest island and is known for its hot springs, volcanoes, and historic sites.
    Kyushu is the third largest and southernmost main island of Japan. It is known for its diverse landscape, from active volcanoes to breathtaking coastlines and hot springs. Kyushu offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.
    • Size: 36,753 square kilometers
    • Population: 13,231,995 (as of October 1, 2019)
    • Prefectures: Seven prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima
    • Highest Peak: Mount Aso (Active volcano) - 1,592 meters
    • Major Cities: Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima
  5. 5


    Natural formation
    Shikoku is the smallest of Japan's four main islands and is known for its scenic landscapes, including the 88 Temple Pilgrimage.
    Shikoku is the smallest of the four main islands in Japan, located in the southwest part of the country. It is known for its serene countryside, beautiful coastline, and ancient temples. Shikoku offers a more traditional and less crowded experience compared to other popular tourist destinations in Japan.
    • Location: Southwest part of Japan
    • Size: 18,800 square kilometers
    • Population: Approximately 3.85 million
    • Prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, Tokushima
    • Mountains: Mount Ishizuchi, Mount Tsurugi
  6. 6
    Bernard Gagnon · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Miyajima is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima known for its iconic floating torii gate and stunning views.
    Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is a popular island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. The island is famous for its stunning natural beauty, traditional Japanese architecture, and the iconic floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine. The island is considered one of the Three Views of Japan, representing the scenic beauty of the country. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts numerous visitors each year.
    • Location: Seto Inland Sea
    • Alternative Name: Itsukushima
    • Famous Feature: Floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine
    • Designation: UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Importance: One of the Three Views of Japan
  7. 7
    Bakkai · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Naoshima is a small island known for its contemporary art museums and installations.
    Naoshima is a small island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. It has gained significant recognition as a renowned art destination, attracting both domestic and international visitors. The island offers a unique blend of contemporary art installations, beautiful natural landscapes, and traditional Japanese architecture.
    • Art Installations: Naoshima is famous for its outdoor and indoor contemporary art installations, which are seamlessly integrated into the island's natural environment and traditional buildings.
    • Benesse House Museum: Benesse House Museum is a prominent art museum on Naoshima, showcasing a wide range of modern and contemporary artworks from both Japanese and international artists.
    • Chichu Art Museum: Chichu Art Museum is another significant attraction, designed by the renowned architect Tadao Ando. It houses artworks by artists such as Claude Monet and James Turrell.
    • Lee Ufan Museum: Lee Ufan Museum is dedicated to the works of Korean artist Lee Ufan. It offers a tranquil setting for visitors to appreciate his minimalistic and meditative art.
    • Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin: One of the iconic symbols of Naoshima is the yellow pumpkin sculpture by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, placed near the island's shoreline.
  8. 8

    Sado Island

    Sado City
    Sado Island is a remote island off the coast of Niigata known for its traditional performing arts, including taiko drumming and kabuki.
    Sado Island is the sixth largest island in Japan and is located off the coast of Niigata Prefecture. It is known for its rich history, diverse natural landscapes, and vibrant cultural traditions. The island offers a combination of historical sites, beautiful beaches, and abundant natural beauty.
    • Area: 855.25 square kilometers
    • Population: 55,000
    • Location: Niigata Prefecture, Japan
    • Climate: Humid subtropical climate
    • Historical Sites: Sado Gold Mine, Toki Forest Park, Sado Historical Museum
  9. 9
    Yakushima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient cedar forests and unique wildlife.
    Yakushima is a breathtakingly beautiful island located in the Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan. It is renowned for its lush ancient forests, impressive mountain ranges, and pristine coastline. The island boasts a diverse ecosystem, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.
    • Location: Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
    • Area: 504.88 square kilometers
    • Highest Peak: Mount Miyanoura - 1,936 meters
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Designated in 1993
    • Old Growth Forest: Home to ancient Yakusugi cedar trees
  10. 10
    Anagounagi · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Iriomote is a remote island in Okinawa known for its pristine beaches, mangrove forests, and rare wildlife, including the Iriomote cat.
    Iriomote is the largest and southernmost island in the Yaeyama archipelago of Japan. The island is known for its untouched nature, lush tropical rainforests, crystal clear waters, and exotic wildlife. It is often referred to as the 'Galapagos of the East' due to its unique and diverse ecosystem.
    • Location: Yaeyama archipelago, Japan
    • Size: Approximately 289.27 square kilometers
    • Population: Less than 2,000 inhabitants
    • Geography: Mountainous with dense forests and mangrove-lined rivers
    • Climate: Tropical rainforest climate with high rainfall

Missing your favorite Isle?


Ranking factors for popular island

  1. Number of visitors
    The number of tourists and travelers visiting the island can be a strong indicator of its popularity.
  2. Attractions and activities
    The variety and quality of attractions and activities available on the island, such as historical sites, beaches, natural parks, and cultural experiences, can influence its popularity.
  3. Accessibility
    The ease with which the island can be reached from mainland Japan or other nearby countries, including flight and ferry availability and frequency, can impact its popularity.
  4. Accommodation options
    The quality, variety, and affordability of accommodation options on the island, such as hotels, resorts, guesthouses, and hostels, can influence its popularity among travelers.
  5. Reputation and reviews
    The overall reputation of the island, including reviews and ratings from previous visitors, can impact its popularity.
  6. Cultural significance
    The historical, cultural, and natural importance of the island can contribute to its popularity among travelers interested in experiencing Japan's unique cultural heritage.
  7. Natural beauty
    The island's natural beauty, including its landscapes, beaches, and wildlife, can make it more desirable to visitors and influence its popularity.
  8. Local cuisine
    The quality and variety of local cuisine available on the island can attract food enthusiasts and influence the island's overall popularity.
  9. Safety and infrastructure
    The safety of the island, including local crime rates and natural disasters, together with the quality of its infrastructure, such as transport, healthcare, and communication systems, can impact its popularity among tourists.
  10. Seasonal factors
    Some islands may be more popular during certain seasons due to factors such as climate or local festivals and events. Seasonal factors can play a significant role in determining the popularity of an island.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular island in Japan. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite Isle is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 192 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Isle once every 24 hours. The rank of each Isle is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular island in japan

Japan is an archipelago consisting of over 6,000 islands, each with its unique charm and beauty. Among these islands, there are some that are more popular than others, and one of the most favored among tourists is undoubtedly Honshu Island. Honshu Island is Japan's largest island and is home to some of Japan's most iconic attractions, such as Mount Fuji, Tokyo, and Kyoto. However, there are plenty of other islands that are worth exploring, such as Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Shikoku, each with its unique culture, food, and natural wonders. With so many options to choose from, it's no wonder that Japan's islands are a popular destination for travelers worldwide.