There is a common misconception among people that golf is only popular in North America and Europe, but what many people don’t know is that there are already up-and-coming players that have originated from other regions of the world. So, golfing is now a popular sport globally, and you will see dozens of golf courses in various countries, and one of those countries is Japan.
Although there are not a lot of professional tournaments held in Japan, the country has half of Asia’s golf courses, which is a testament to the popularity of the sport there. If you are wondering how many golf courses in Japan there are, the answer is that there are more than 2000 golf courses in the country, although only a few are considered the best and most popular. Here are the golf courses that are most played in Japan.
Tokyo Golf Club
The Tokyo Golf Club is both a golf course and a golf club that was founded in 1913 in the Saitama Prefecture. Interestingly, the Tokyo Golf Club is also the oldest golf course in the Kanto region. The golf course actually moved locations three times, and the last time they moved was in 1932, when the Asaka course was designed by Komyo Ohtani and opened in the said year.
In 2013, American golf course designer Gil Hanse was tasked to renovate the golf course for its 100th anniversary. The Tokyo Golf Club is widely known for showcasing the beauty of the traditional Japanese golf course while also incorporating familiar golf course elements from other countries or regions. Because this is a golf club, only members are allowed to play in the Tokyo Golf Club. However, other people can play there on weekdays too, as long as they are introduced or invited by the members of the club.
Hirono Golf Course
One of the top golf courses in Japan is the Hirono Golf Course, which is located in the Hyogo Prefecture. The Hirono Golf Course was founded in the 1930s and was designed and built by Charles Hugh Alison, a British golf course architect who also served as the primary designer for the Milwaukee Country Club (1929) and the Century Country Club (1927).
This golf course is widely popular not just for locals but also for tourists, and it has appeared on numerous top lists of the best golf courses in the world. Although it is not as big as some of the most popular golf courses in Asia, there are a lot of foreign golfers that want to try playing at the Hirono Golf Course because of its challenging routings and holes.
Naruo Golf Club
Another golf club located in the Hyogo Prefecture is the Naruo Golf Club, which was established in 1920 and is considered one of the oldest golf courses in Japan. The current golf course of the club, which is named the Ina River Course, was designed in 1930 by Joseph Ernest Crane, a Japanese-born golf course architect who is also responsible for designing many beautiful golf courses in the country.
The Naruo Golf Club became world-famous when it was photographed in May 1992 by Brian Morgan, a renowned golf photographer. Because of the beauty of the golf course that was showcased through Morgan’s photos, many locals and tourists have started playing in the Naruo Golf Club because of its amazing view and its rich history.
Kawana Fuji Golf Course
Many would say that the most beautiful golf course in Japan is the Kawana Fuji Golf Course, and once you see pictures of it, you cannot deny that opinion, as it features a stunning landscape that offers wonderful views for the golfers. The Kawana Fuji Golf Course was opened in 1936 and was designed by Charles Hugh Alison, who also designed the Hirono Golf Course.
Because of the golf course’s sheer beauty, it has appeared dozens of times in the list of the best golf courses and the most beautiful golf courses in the world. However, playing on this golf course will cause you about 41,000 yen (319 USD) to play, so it is also considered one of the priciest golf courses in Japan.
Yokohama Country Club
The most prestigious golf course in Japan is the Yokohama Country Club, which has been the venue for major competitions in the country, including the Japan Open and the Japan Women’s Open. The Yokohama Country Club was designed by Takeo Aiyama and was founded in 1960.
Renovations for the golf course were initiated in 2014 and 2016 by golf course design agency Coore & Crenshaw in order to improve the topography of the course and make it easier to maneuver for both beginners and experienced golfers. Because it is located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, it is relatively near Tokyo, thus making it an easy destination for many tourists.
Osaka Golf Club
A great golf course that has an amazing view, similar to other beautiful golf courses in Japan, is the Osaka Golf Club. This golf course was opened in 1987 and designed by Osamu Ueda, who is known for being one of Japan’s legendary golf course architects. According to Ueda, he considered the Osaka Golf Club his masterpiece.
True to Ueda’s words, the Osaka Golf Club truly looks like a masterpiece, as it features amazing views of the nearby sea, and it has Charles Hugh Alison-styled deep bunkers that provide both an eye candy and a challenge for golfers. If you want to test your direction control skills on a golf ball, then you should try playing at the Osaka Golf Club.
These are six of the best and most played golf courses in Japan. With over 2000 golf courses, it would be quite difficult to visit all of the golf courses in Japan in just a few weeks or months, so you would need to know which ones are worth it to visit. Through this article, we hope that you have narrowed down your list of golf courses to visit in Japan. Check out reviews, videos, and blog posts about the golf courses we mentioned above to have a better look at these areas before you see them in person.