Discover Japan’s best courses with Esprit Golf

Japan has over 2,400 golf courses – more than the rest of Asia combined – so it can be very confusing for foreign visitors looking to enjoy the best of them. Where will you start?

Enter Masako Takei, founder and CEO of Esprit Golf Japan.

She always loved the game, developing her skills while studying and working in America, then whenever her job as Finance Director for Walt Disney Animation Japan allowed.

The beautiful 3rd hole at Oshima, Kawana
The glorious 3rd hole at Oshima, Kawana

She established Esprit Golf, Inc. in 2007.

Her international career background let her focus on both international and Japanese golf tours. She has led tours to view the classic grand slam events like the Masters, British Open and U.S. Open, and playing tours to the classic course like Pebble Beach and St. Andrews Old Course.

Back home, she has developed a network of preferred courses, offering international guests the chance to enjoy carefully curated visits to magnificent courses like Hakone Country Club, the breathtaking coastal Fuji Course at Kawana, and the glorious Golden Valley alpine course.

Her tours blend Japanese cultural experiences, World Heritage sites, and great Japanese food, all superbly organised so guests can relax and enjoy their game in unmatched style.

Her reputation for excellence has been recognised with four “The World’s Best Golf Awards – Japan’s Best Golf Tour Operator” awards.

She operates tours all over Japan, adapting itineraries to the changing seasons.

Here’s a sample below of the classic courses she can take you too.

For more head to the Esprit Golf website.

Esprit Golf’s Masako Takei

Prince Resorts Kawana Hotel Fuji Course

Golf courses don’t get more scenic than the Kawana Hotel Fuji course anywhere. Stunning coastal views all with Mt Fuji as the backdrop. Definitely one for your all time must-play lists.

Since 1928 the hotel has been welcoming guests, with two delightful golf courses – Fuji, reserved for hotel guests, and Oshima, open to non-guests.

Japan's best golf courses - aerial view of Kawana Hotel Fuji Course
Golf doesn’t get more gorgeous than the Fuji Course at Kawana, ranked in the World’s Top 100 Courses
Japan's best golf courses - Kawana Hotel Fuji Course 11th hole view
The 11th at Fuji, Kawana Hotel Course
Japan's best golf courses - Kawana Hotel Fuji Course 15th hole view
The 15th at Fuji, Kawana Hotel Course

Hakone Country Club (private course)

Hakone Country Club offers 18 holes landscaped with truly unique individuality on the majestic Sengokuhara plain against the background of the broad mountains of the outer rim of Hakone Crater. Designed by Komyo Otani and Yasuhiko Asaka, it opened in 1954.

Famous for the 17th “Lotus Flower” hole, so named for the layout of the bunkers. The course hosts the CAT Ladies Pro Tour event.

In 1952, designer Mr. Shiro Akahoshi did not use bulldozers, believing a ‘handmade’ course gave each hole more personality. He foresaw the coming of the 300-yard driver era, so the course never dates, rather grows more unique and beautiful as time passes.

Daihakone golf course in autumn
Autumn is the perfect season to visit Hakone
Aerial view of Hakone
Water features reflect the natural beauty

Golden Valley Golf Club (private course)

A classic Robert Trent Jones Jr designed par 72 course in southern Hyogo Prefecture, Golden Valley has hosted the Japan Golf Championship

It is renowned for 16 of the 18 holes having water features. The course rating is 77.4, which shows this is one of the most difficult courses in Japan. This course was constructed by famous designer Robert Trent Jr. who intended it to be a place to hold a world class tournament.

Golden Valley
View of Golden Valley course, Hyogo Japan
Golden Valley living up to the name