1. Taiheiyo Club (Gotemba)
Japan’s highest mountain, Mount Fuji, looms large in the playing experience at Gotemba. The flagship course of the Taiheiyo Club, Japan’s largest golf club, which owns 17 courses across the country, Gotemba is a beautiful but strategic test, built on the foothills of Fujisan, which can be viewed throughout the layout. The scenic, tree-lined course has hosted numerous professional events, including the 2001 Golf World Cup. It is currently undergoing a remodelling, overseen by Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama and US architect Rees Jones.
taiheiyoclub.com, green fees from £66
2. Kawana (Fuji)
The two hours-plus journey from Tokyo to the Izu Peninsula is well worth it for the chance to play the Fuji course — rightly regarded as one of the most beautiful tracks in Japan. Laid out on a rippled, elevated promontory, the Charles Alison-designed course offers breathtaking Pacific Ocean views, sunken folded fairways and plateau greens surrounded by mature woodland. The pick of numerous outstanding holes on the course is the 15th, which plays downhill and then along the ocean.
princehotels.co.jp, green fees from £170
3. Windsor Park Golf and Country Club
A favourite of the expatriate community in Tokyo due to its relaxed atmosphere, Windsor Park is located around a two-hour drive from Tokyo amid rolling, wooded hills near the town of Shirosato. The stands of mature trees that separate the holes give golfers the impression of being secluded from others — with each hole occupying its own, peaceful universe. Water is also prominent with a large hazard in front of the 9th and 18th greens making for a thrilling end to each loop of nine holes.
wpgcc.com, green fees from £51
4. Tokyo Golf Club
Japan’s oldest club is also one of its most prestigious. Indeed, when golf’s popularity was at its peak in Japan, it would have been nigh on impossible for visitors to score a round at the club — which is now located close to the town of Kawagoe after moving twice since its founding. These days invites are easier to come by, allowing for wider appreciation of the beautiful parkland layout. The course comes into its own on the back nine after a relatively slow start with the 10th, a snaking par-4, and the 11th, a tricky dogleg, among the standouts.
tokyogolfclub.jp, green fees from £100