National Parks (? Kokuritsu K?en) and Quasi-National Parks (? Kokutei K?en) in Japan are places of scenic beauty designated for protection and sustainable usage by the Minister of the Environment under the Natural Parks Law () of 1957. National Parks are designated and in principle managed by the Ministry of the Environment. Quasi-National Parks, of a slightly lesser beauty, size, diversity, or state of preservation, are recommended for ministerial designation and managed by the Prefectures under the supervision of the Ministry.
Japan established its first k?en () or public parks in 1873 (Asakusa Park, Asukayama Park, Fukagawa Park, Shiba Park, and Ueno Park). In 1911 local citizens petitioned that the shrines and forests of Nikk? be placed under public protection. In 1929 the National Parks Association was formed. In 1931 the first National Parks Law () was passed. After much study and survey, in March 1934 the first parks were established -- Setonaikai, Unzen and Kirishima -- with five more in December and a further four two years later. Three further parks were established under the old National Parks Law, in colonial Taiwan in 1937: the Tatun National Park (the smallest in Japan); Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park, (the largest); and Niitaka-Arisan National Park (with the highest mountain in then Japan).
In 1957 the Natural Parks Law replaced the earlier National Parks Law, allowing for three categories: the National, Quasi-National, and Prefectural Natural Parks. With minor amendments this established the framework that operates today.
As of 1 April 2014, there were 31 National Parks and 56 Quasi-National Parks, with the National Parks covering 20,996 km² (5.6% of the land area) and the Quasi-National Parks 13,592 km² (3.6% of the land area). In addition, there were 314 Prefectural Parks covering 19,726 km² (5.2% of the land area). On 27 March 2015, the 32nd National Park was established, My?k?-Togakushi Renzan National Park, on 15 September 2016, the 33rd, Yanbaru National Park, and on 7 March 2017, the 34th, Amami Gunt? National Park, subsuming Amami Gunt? Quasi-National Park. On 25 March 2016, a further Quasi-National Park was established, Kyoto Tamba Kogen Quasi-National Park.
The area of each National and Quasi-National Park is divided into ordinary, special and marine park zones. Special zones are further subdivided into special protection and class I, II, and III special zones, restricting access and use for preservation purposes. The state owns only approximately half of the land in the parks.
List of National Parks
List of Quasi-National Parks
Ch?goku and Shikoku