Golfing holidays in
Japan! An amazing golf destination?
A visit to Japan to play golf is much more than that. The culture, the people, the food to name a few elements to make a golfing trip to Japan a LIFE EXPERIENCE.
Golf is an institution in Japan, which will be a surprise to many. Over 2000 golf courses makes Japan one of the leading countries for the amount of golf courses. That’s pretty incredible.
Courses in Japan
The Fuji course is the No 56 golf course in the WORLD, Probably doesn’t need too much more of a description! The layout is superb and it is known as Japan’s Pebble Beach. The views are spectacular. This is a must-play and indeed stay, certainly not cheap but worth it for the life experience. Two golf courses operate within the complex, the Fuji course, and the Oshima course.
The layout of this course meanders through the hills with lots of swooping uphill and down hill holes. I like tree lined courses with a variety of different holes, this course certainly fits that bill. Gotemba Golf course is situated at the foot of Mt Fuji, so again you get spectacular views of this awe inspiring world renowned tourist attraction. Just remember to concentrate on your golf as well!
Fuji Country Club
A joy, a pure joy to play. When you turn up at a golf course sometimes you just know it is going to be good. From walking into the clubhouse to getting to the first tee everything was impeccable. It was actually the 10th tee I tee’d off from and the above photo is what you were greeted with, a sweeping slight dog left with Mt Fuji on your right-hand side.
Izu Heights Golf
The course is built on a mountain but this time overlooking MT Fuji from a distance. When I say built on a mountain most of the holes were built crossing the mountain rather than going up and down, so in reality, the holes were relatively flat. It is a really good set up, the course has such a variety of holes, it feels like a cross between a links and parkland course with a bit of American bunkering thrown in. Really enjoyable to play.
FAQs about playing golf in Japan
You can play golf 12 months of the year in Japan. Not in all areas but by choosing different Prefectures at different times you can always find some mild weather somewhere.
The best times though are March to May and September to November. June & July is the rainy season across most of the country, so although warm not the best for golf.
The train network is second to none and is extremely easy to use, whether it’s the JR lines or the Shinkansen (bullet train).
If you take your golf clubs you can use a service to transfer them from the airport then on to whichever golf club you are playing at. Once you have played your last round you can use the same service to take them to the airport where you will pick them up.
You will be greeted at the door and your clubs taken from you. You will be guided to reception where you will check-in.
You will be provided with a wallet with your locker key attached. The number on the wallet is your locker number and will also act as your number to make purchases. You pay for everything at the end of your stay.
At most golf clubs playing with a caddie is compulsory! You greet the caddie as Caddie San, all the caddies I have seen in Japan are female and usually middle-aged. They are extremely knowledgeable.
Language is a barrier in most of Japan and certainly with caddies. However, hand gestures and smiles go a long way to getting the best out of the caddie. They all seem to know, bunker, water, out of bounds, as I found out!
You are now able to enjoy the wonderful tradition of bathing in the club’s hot spring bath. Please see the section on Hot Springs/Onsens for further information.
You will go back to reception and hand in your locker key. Whatever you have purchased, lunch, drinks, merchandise you will now pay for.
Playing in Japan is without doubt one of the greatest experiences of my life
Sample Golf Trips To Japan
13 Days/14 Nights
Day 1: Arrive in Sapporo
Day 2: Play The North Country Golf Club
Day 3: Play Golf at Hokkaido Brooks Country Club
Day 4: Play Golf at Narita Golf Course
Day 5: Sightseeing Tokyo
Day 6: Golf at Hakone CC
Day 7: Golf at Fuji Course
Day 8: Move from Shizukoa to Mie
Day 9: Play Excellent Golf Club
Day 10: Sightseeing Mie
Day 11: Play Tsu Country Club
Day 12: Sightseeing Kyoto
Day 13: Play Seta Golf Course
Day 14: Fly Home
14 Days/15 Nights
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo
Day 2: Play Tokyo Golf Course
Day 3: Play Yokohama CC
Day 4: Sightseeing Tokyo
Day 5: Sightseeing Hakone
Day 6: Play Fuji Course
Day 7: Play Yamaha Golf Course
Day 8: Shizukoa
Day 9: Play Tsu Country Club
Day 10: Sightseeing Mie
Day 11: Play Nemu Golf Club
Day 12: Sightseeing Kyoto
Day 13: Play Naruo Golf Club
Day 14: Sightseeing Kyoto
Day 15: Fly Home
What the Golf Tourist should expect in Japan
Well maintained golf courses
Every golf course I have played in Japan has been very well maintained with a layout that is enjoyable, playable and interesting.
Difference in playing golf
9 holes, eat lunch, 9 holes, Onsen. What a civilised, unrushed, relaxed way to play golf. Completely different to the rush of the UK market. Perfect for holiday golf. You can’t change that, it is how it is done.
Caddies – it’s a profession – take exams
They are professional, having spoken to Rosemarie a caddie at Fuji Kokusai GC the caddies are well looked after by the club, paid well and must take and pass exams to be able to practice as a caddy. This all adds to the experience as we seldom use caddies in the UK.
Food and Onsen at clubs
The food at golf clubs is always of a high standard and thoroughly enjoyable. Being my second visit to Japan I was aux feux with the protocol for the Onsens. A wonderful experience.
Onsens are obviously all part of the Japanese culture and is seen as an everyday activity, more about Onsens later. For a tourist (a golf tourist) this is so far removed from the norm and a big part of the experience.
Culture- so friendly – so helpful
From cherry blossom to temples, to shrines to friendliness, Japan has it all. The Japan is such a friendly nation, courteous, polite, caring. This is a massive selling point for me for the UK golfer to visit Japan. It is truly wonderous.
The structure is the same at golf clubs which makes it easy for visitors
Every golf club is the same. The same process of signing in, the lockers, the number to pay with throughout the day, the structure of the day. Again, the norm in Japan. Totally different to the UK.
Drive on UK side of road
Big plus for the UK visitor especially if they wish to have a self-drive touring holiday.
Yes, the bullet, a must do at some point in time whilst in Japan. DO IT!
Golf Hotels in Japan
I have been fortunate enough to have stayed here twice, both times it has been an absolute pleasure. The Manager, Motoki Fukui is a special person, really knows his job and looks after everyone with tremendous enthusiasm. A magical, old-style hotel. The hotel has had an uplift which provides a very special place, great views of the coast, and gardens from the room and dining areas.
Hotel Clad is a brand new hotel, it opened in December 2019. This will be a great asset to the area of Gotemba. A great base to explore the golf courses and cultural sights of the area. It has everything one would want, very modern, great views, perfect. The views from the lobby, the rooms, the sauna, and the Onsen are mind-blowing, MT Fuji just completely dominates.
Mars Garden Wood Hotel
Located in the centre of Gotemba this hotel, though quite large has an intimate feel about it. Excellent rooms, plenty of space, and with views of Mt Fuji. As you can see from the photo excellent food is served, the Tepanyaki night is a stunning thing to do. The hotel is close to Gotemba Railway station where there are some really nice Japanese bars and restaurants to visit.
Located on the opposite side of Mt Fuji you feel like you are really high up when driving to it. Then when you see MT Fuji on the other side you realise you’re not as high as you thought!. The views looking across to MT Fuji are quite magnificent. The hotel is very nice indeed, excellent food, excellent service, all the things you would expect in Japan. The hotel has a golf course though it is about a 15-minute drive away.
Japan is a stand out destination for golf. I have been to two areas, Mie and Shizuoka Prefecture and have been provided with some of the best highlights of my life, it is that good.
The whole country is geared up for golf so you can create some amazing tours. The people, the hospitality, the culture, the food, the exquisite golf courses.
The diversity of the country provides the golf traveler with everything they require.
Imagine playing golf with Mt Fuji in front of you.
Japan is an opportunity not to be missed.
Paul Mason, Dream Golf Holidays