Jepara has been known as one of the famous areas in Java for decades. As the foremost trading city, the name of Jepara is written in the history book of Tang Dynasty and the book of Suma Oriental by Portuguese writer Tomé Pires. Widely known for its astonishing sculpture, Jepara is also home to some influential figures, such as Queen Kalinyamat and R.A Kartini.
Above and beyond, Jepara has a very beautiful panorama; it’s not a surprise that many travelers recommend the city as a must-visit. The city has a wide array of tourist attractions, from natural tourism, historical tourism, family tourism, to religious tourism. Here are 30 exciting places to visit in Jepara:
Karimunjawa is basically the tourism icon of Jepara regency. Located in the Java Sea, 83 km away from Jepara regency, this archipelago has been developed into a marine tourism. To get there, travelers can use the available transportation, such as ferries departing from Semarang, Jepara, or Kendal.
The charisma of Karimunjawa lies in its underwater beauty with the riches of marine biota consisting of 90 types of hard corals, more than 200 beautiful fish, and 130 aquatic genera. Marine biota in Karimunjawa is protected in order to maintain the sustainability of the existing ecosystems.
Exciting things to do include diving, swimming, playing on the beach, and sunbathing. You can also see the cultural attractions presented by the locals.
2. Panjang Island
Panjang Island is famous for its shallow sea. The calm stream is perfect for canoeing around the island. The crystal-clear water allows you to see the coral reefs and swimming fish. Besides canoeing, visitors can also swim and dive to their heart’s content. The long coastline with the white sand provides a nice vibe for enjoying the atmospheric beach.
In addition to the water attractions, Panjang Island also offers a breath-taking natural scenery. Access to the island by water transport is quite easy. Tourists can go across the sea by boat from Kartini Island, traveling the 2.5 km distance in about 30 minutes.
3. Mandalika Island
To get to this panoramic island, tourists can rent a fishing boat and cross the sea for approximately half an hour. You can find the rental service about 2 km from Ujung Watu Village, precisely by the north of Jepara Sea.
Widely known as a favorite place for fishing, the aquatic life in Mandalika is inhabited by countless kinds of fish—such as the famous snapper and grouper. The island also has an endemic flora called nongko celeng, a jackfruit that grows from the base of the root.
In addition, Mandalika Island has a stunning beach with magnificent cliffs. Visitors can also enjoy a wide array of typical seafood from Jepara.
4. Kartini Beach
Talking about the must visits in Jepara, Kartini Beach places second to Karimunjawa. Not only beautiful and charming beach scenery, but Kartini Beach also offers thrilling rides and interesting games especially for children. No wonder this area becomes a favorite destination for family vacations.
Kartini Beach lies between Karimunjawa and Panjang Island. The beach is located in Bulu Village, Jepara Sub-district or about 2.5 km to the west of the Jepara Regency Office. An annual cultural festival called "Lomban" is usually held here on the 8th of Shawwal, a week after Eid Al-Fitr.
5. Pungkruk Beach
Located in Mororejo Village, Mlonggo Sub-District, Pungkruk Beach can be reached in a 15-minute drive from the heart of Jepara. Famous as the largest culinary tourism area in Central Java, there are unique restaurants with gazebos on the sea. There are also restaurants that provide karaoke.
The translucent sea and the melodic waves present peace and comfort during your time at this beach. Especially the sunset view is very scenic as an extra to the romantic atmosphere. While enjoying the wonderful view, do not forget to taste grilled fish—a favorite delicacy in Pungkruk Beach.
6. Ombak Mati Beach
Pantai Ombak Mati (Ombak Mati Beach), literally translated to the beach of dead waves, was named so because there is no wave at the beach. In the past, this place was better known by the name of Bondo Beach because it is located in Bondo Village, Bangsri District, Jepara Regency. As there is little or no waves at all, the beach has a quiet and calm atmosphere, perfect as an escape from the tedious or tiring daily lives.
Along the coast, you will not find permanent buildings because Jepara government promotes nature-themed concept for the construction and management of Ombak Mati Beach. All in all, the serenity of this beach has successfully attracted tourists, especially because it gives the feeling of being on a private beach.
7. Teluk Awur Beach
While most beach managers forbid tourists to swim and play in the water, Teluk Awur Beach has the opposite policy. Here, visitors are free to play in the water or swim across the sea. Who would have thought that the beach with white sand is also free of entry fees for all tourists?
This beach is located 4 km from the center of Jepara, precisely in the village of Telukawur, Tahunan. There are mangrove forests that serve as an abrasion holder and shade. Just like in Kartini Beach, Lomban Festival is also held here. The nearby community also believes that the sea water can to cure skin diseases.
8. Empu Rancak Beach
If you want to visit an unspoiled beach that only a few know of, Empu Rancak can be your top choice. Located in Karang Gondang Village, Mlonggo District, this place does look quiet. But, since the last few years, the nearby community has been managing this beach independently.
Empu Rancak Beach is a white sandy beach with Java-Jepara vibe. Here you can also find a musala building with unique architecture—a mixture of the Great Mosque of Demak and the Tower Mosque of Kudus. And the gate is similar to that of the Robayan Mosque and the Mantingan Mosque. If you happen to visit this place, do not forget to eat the typical Jepara seafood, pindang serani.
9. Tegalsambi Beach
This beach is located in the same are as Teluk Awur Beach, precisely in Tegalsambi Village, Tahunan District, Jepara. Unlike other beaches, in Tegalsambi Beach lies a small port used to harbor boats. Even international tourists consider this beach as a must visit.
Hotels and villas around this beach provide a convenient accommodation for tourists who want to stay longer. Easy access makes Tegalsambi Beach one of the favorite tourist sites for the people of Jepara. Sufficient facilities also offer convenience for visitors in doing activities around the beach.
10. Tirto Samodro Beach
Tirto Samodro Beach is known as Bandengan Beach since it lies in Bandengan Village, Jepara Sub-district. The beach also bears another name—Klein Scheveningen. Indeed, the name was similar to that of Netherlands’ beach, since it was Ny. Ovink Soer, one of R.A Kartini's friends, who gave the name.
This white sandy beach often becomes a venue for national events, such as kite festival and motocross race. Strategically located near the city center, the beach is always crowded with both local and international tourists, especially on weekends.
Tirto Samudro Beach also provides rides and fun activities for families. In addition to enjoying the rides, visitors can enjoy swimming, playing volleyballs, sunbathing, and simply watching the lovely sunrise and sunset. There are also elaborate supporting facilities, making it easier for tourists to have all the fun.
11. Jurang Nganten Waterfall
Behind the beauty of its natural panorama, there is a tragic story that becomes the origin of its name—Jurang Nganten. It is said that there was a married couple who was not approved by their respective parents but insisted on getting married. They both then escaped using a buffalo-drawn carriage. Unfortunately, the carriage plunged over a cliff. The couple died in the cliff, thus named Jurang Nganten Waterfall (literally translated to “the cliff of the newlyweds”).
This waterfall is located in Tanjung Village, Pakis Aji District, about 20 km from the center of Jepara. The peaceful atmosphere and the beautiful scenery around the waterfall provide a comforting ambiance for the tourists who stay there. Located in the valley area, the access is quite difficult. However, the difficult journey is more than worth it. The beauty of the waterfall that flows from the upright wall of the hill is a magnificent sight.
12. Grinjingan Dowo Waterfall
Jepara has many captivating waterfalls. Besides Jurang Nganten Waterfall, there is also Grinjingan Dowo Waterfall located in Dudakawu Village, Nggerot Village, Kembang Sub-district, about 35 km from Jepara. Kembang District is known as Jepara tourism center. In addition to Grinjingan Dowo Waterfall, there are many other waterfalls and beaches in this area.
This tourism site is managed independently by the nearby community. No wonder that the access to the location is also quite difficult—steep and rocky. Along the way, however, you can enjoy the beautiful view of forests and coffee plantations with clean and fresh air. The atmosphere around the waterfall is also very pleasant and natural.
13. Songgo Langit Waterfall
Songgo langit is a Javanese term, which means sky buffer. The waterfall was named so because from below, the waterfall looks soaring through the sky as if supporting it. With 80 meters of height and 2 meters in width, the waterfall becomes one of the favorite natural tourist destinations in Jepara regency.
In addition to the beauty of natural scenery and a charming waterfall, this location offers another attraction, which is the numerous types of butterflies flying freely around the waterfall.
Keep in mind that visitors are strictly forbidden to swim or play in the water—because there is a dangerous trough as deep as 8 meters beneath the water.
The waterfall is located in District of Kembang, Jepara, precisely in Nglencer Country, Bucu Village. Unlike the other two waterfalls in the area, access to Songgo Langit Waterfall is pretty easy. Visitors can get there by either two-wheelers or four-wheelers.
The entrance ticket is surprisingly cheap, only 2,000 IDR for adults and 1,000 IDR for children. Meanwhile, the parking fees depend on the type of vehicle—1,000 IDR for motorcycles, 2,500 IDR for cars, and 5,000 IDR for buses.
14. Banyu Anjlok Waterfall
Banyu Anjlok, literally translated to “the plummeting water”, is located in Samosari, Batealit, Jepara Regency. The access is quite difficult and seems to be extremely risky; only a few people who dare to visit. Motor vehicles can only reach residential areas; the rest of the trip is completed on foot.
The journey takes approximately 40 minutes by walking through rice fields and forests. Despite the difficulty, the trip is more than worth it. The wonderful scenery around the place is simply breathtaking—especially the magnificence of the waterfall that will heal your weary heart.
15. Kalen Wates Waterfall
Kalen Wates Waterfall is located in Tanjung Village, Pakis Aji District. This waterfall flows from the upright wall of the hill and has a truly natural vibe. Like most waterfalls in Jepara, this place also has a peaceful ambiance, suitable for meditation and self-recovery.
It is also known as Jabung Waterfall because the area still belongs to Jabung country. Compared to Jurang Nganten Waterfall, which is also located in Tanjung area, the access to Kalen Wates Waterfall is more convenient.
Visitors are expected to always maintain the cleanliness and the beauty of the waterfall area by not littering or damaging the rocks.
16. Tritip Cave
Tritip Cave is believed to be a trace of Mbah Joyo Kusumo, a pious figure who had meditated in the cave. To this day, residents around the cave still give offerings, such as sugary drinks and coffee on Thursday night. Particularly at night before Friday Wage, people also add young coconut and red and white porridge for the offerings. Most visitors come to this place to ngalap berkah (asking for blessings).
This cave is located in Ujungwatu Village, Donorojo Sub-district, the north side of Jepara Regency. Access to this site is also convenient, either with private vehicles and public transportations.
Though this place is believed to be a former hermitage and a sacred placelocals, there is no mystical and spooky vibe at all. Tritip Cave actually becomes one of the natural tourism alternatives in Jepara. The main attraction of Tritip Cave is the remains of the boat that was the former hermitage of Mbah Joyo.
17. Manik Cave
Please bear in mind that Manik Cave and Manik Cave Beach are two different attractions; in two separate locations. Located in Sumanding Village, Kembang District, Manik Cave is approximately 5 km away from Songgo Langit Waterfall. To get there, visitors are expected to be really careful because the road is quite steep and slippery.
There are two caves in this location, one of which is placed under a water fountain and is said to be the hermitage of Begawan Manikyoso. To this day, the cave is still used as a hermitage for some people.
Apart from the rituals, the mountainous area is so cool that you can relax while breathing the fresh air.
Since this tourist spot has not been professionally managed, the entrance is free of charge. In the future, however, the local government plans to develop the spot as a decent tourist area with adequate facilities.
18. Lake Blingoh
Not only islands, beaches, and caves, Jepara also has a lake. Blingoh Lake is located in Lembah Country, Blingoh Village, Donorojo District. Surrounded by a charming limestone, the lake has beautiful turquoise water.
Who would have thought, though, that the beautiful lake is formed as a result of illegal mining? The abandoned open-pit mine was the filled with rain water; thus, forming a lake during the rainy seasons.
When the dry season comes, however, the lake water will dry. Therefore, it is best to plan your visit during rainy reasons. Fortunately, the local government plans to build waterways to irrigate the lake. That way, people will be able to enjoy the beautiful lake anytime of the year.
Despite its beauty, Lake Blingoh is not very popular among locals. The visitors are mostly from outside of Jepara. They come to enjoy the stunning scenery as well as taking pictures with spectacular backgrounds. When visiting Jepara, you might as well hit this lake.
19. R.A Kartini Museum
After a great visit to the nature destinations in Jepara, let’s turn to historical sites. The history tour in Jepara can start from R.A Kartini Museum, which is located at Alun-Alun Street no. 01, Panggang, Jepara. Officially opened by Regent Soedikto on 21 April 1977, the is living up to its name, dedicated to commemorate Kartini, the hero of women's emancipation from Jepara.
The museum consists of 3 buildings with designs that resemble the letters K, T, and N. Despite named after R.A. Kartini; not all collections belonged to of Raden Ajeng Kartini. There is also a collection of ancient objects and other historical relics stored and displayed there.
The collection rooms are divided into 4 sections. The first room in Building K displays the relics of R.A Kartini and her brother Sosro Kartono. The second room on the base of Building K especially designated for the relics of Sosro Kartono only. In the third room, you will find historical objects and handicrafts from around Jepara regency, such as troso tie weaving and various types of bamboo and rattan based plaits.
The fourth room is the most interesting among all rooms. In this room, the bones of Joko Tua Fish are neatly preserved. Reputedly, this fish is a type of whale found in the water around Karimunjawa.
The R.A Kartini Museum is open every day, from 08:00 am to 16:00 pm. The entrance ticket is only 2,000 IDR on weekdays, and 3,000 IDR on weekends.
20. Museum Ukir Nusantara (Jepara Carving Museum)
Nusantara Carving Museum or Jepara Carving Museum was built in the former warehouse of SMPN 6 Jepara, located at Kartini Street No. 40, Panggang, Jepara Sub-district. The building itself has its own story—it was an Open Bare Ambacht School built in 1929 by the Dutch Colonials. After renaming a couple of times, eventually, this place was used as a public high school.
As the first carving museum in the world, you can expect to find an abundant collection of carvings from within and outside Jepara. They even have the carvings from Asmat tribe in Papua. One of the famous museum collections is a carved wood globe, said to be a request of President Soekarno while visiting SMPN 6 Jepara in 1962.
In addition to enjoying the beauty and uniqueness of the carvings, visitors can learn how to make them. However, do not expect much from its facilities because the Nusantara Carving Museum was only open on April 12, 2014. The museum needs to be further developed for the convenience of tourists.
21. Situs Pusat Bumi
This site is located in Plajan Tourism Village, Pakis Aji Sub-district, Jepara Regency. It was named Situs Pusat Bumi (Earth's Central Site) because the facility stored soils from different countries around the world. You can see the soil collections in a greenhouse and identify them by the labels put on each display. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to touch the soil.
The local government plans to develop this place even better. They will not only bring soils from around the world, but also intends to invite 202 people representing the country where the soils originate to live in the village.
Situs Pusat Bumi is a part of the World Peace Gong Museum, where you can also find other collections, such as the Water from 99 Countries, Peace Well, Pancasila Jar, World Peace Gong, Asia-Africa Peace Gong, and Nusantara Peace Gong.
22. Portuguese Fort
Another interesting tourist attraction in Jepara is the Portuguese Fort, which is located in Banyumanis Village, Donorojo District. This cultural heritage is situated right on the edge of the sea with a stunning view. To get there, tourists can either use a private or rental vehicle since public transportations are not available.
The Portuguese Fort was built on a rocky hill on the seafront—a great location for defense on its time. As the name implies, this fort was built by the Portuguese who made allies with Sultan Agung Mataram in fighting the VOC. However, this fortress was occupied by the Portuguese for only a few years. During the Japanese occupation, the fort was again used as a spot of sea scouts.
Portuguese Fort is open daily from 6 am to 4 pm. On weekdays, the entrance ticket is 3,000 IDR for adults and 2,000 IDR for children. On weekends and holidays, the ticket is 5,000 IDR for adults and 3,000 IDR for children (parking fees included).
23. Pertapaan Ratu Kalinyamat (The Hermitage of Queen Kalinyamat)
Ratu Kalinyamat was known as anti-Portuguese. It was recorded in the history that the queen had sent her great armada twice to the Strait of Malacca to help the Sultan of Johor to fight against the Portuguese. Although they were defeated, Queen Kalinyamat became famous and feared by the Portuguese. It was also Queen Kalinyamat who brought carving arts to Jepara.
The real name of Queen Kalinyamat was Retna Kencana. She was the daughter of King Demak, Sultan Trenggono. Her husband was killed by Arya Penangsang's army on his way home after coming before Sunan Kudus. The death of her husband distressed the queen so that she held a deep grudge against Arya Penangsang. She then meditated in nudity and vowed to never dress before wiping her feet on the head of Arya Penangsang.
The Hermitage of Queen Kalinyamat is also known as Sonder Hermitage, located in Sonder Country, Tulakan Village, Keling Sub-district, about 40 km from the center of Jepara Regency. This place is frequently visited by pilgrims, especially on the nights before Friday Wage. Those who visit are mostly women who want to look beautiful just like Queen Kalinyamat.
24. Mantingan Mosque
As one of the oldest mosques in Jepara regency, Mantingan Mosque is believed to have been around built since the reign of Demak Sultanate. The mosque is located in Mantingan Village, Tahunan District, 5 km from the center of Jepara. Like the Kudus Tower Mosque, it is also widely known for its unique architecture, combining elements of different religions.
This religious site is quite easy to reach. You can either use private vehicles or public transportations—Jepara-Mantingan line.
Just like the Great Mosque of Demak, Mantingan Mosque also had a role in spreading Islam on the north coast of Java. It appears in its acculturation vibe. The gate, for example, shows a combination of Hindu and Islamic culture. In the mosque, there are also remnants of a Hindu temple.
People also come to the mosque for the sacred water in the mosque. It is believed that the water will make the drinkers tell the truth. Local people often use it when they face a complicated dispute.
25. The Tomb of Sunan Muria
The tomb of Sunan Muria is located in Colo Village, Dawe District, Kudus Regency, sitting on the top of the hill called Mount Muria. There is also a tomb of Sadeh Sadzli nearby.
To reach the tomb, visitors must climb 500-meter fly of stairs. For those who are not strong enough to climb, ojek services available and ready to escort up to the top of the hill. Besides the tombs, you will also find natural attractions and historical tours in Mount Muria.
26. Bubrah Temple
This temple is located in Tempur Village, Keling District. Tempur Village will be developed into a tourist village with elaborate facilities and attractions. As the name implies, this temple is an unfinished building which is believed to be a gate to Angin Temple.
27. Angin Temple
Located at the same location as Bubrah Temple but on higher ground, Angin Temple is believed to be as old as the Borobudur temple, or even older. These temples are probably the relics of Kalingga Kingdom, which centered around Jepara regency.
Many myths and mysteries surround these two temples. The most famous one is that the temple was built by Resi Wigoyotoso. The Resi came to Tempur Village and intended to build a temple. With his magic, the temple was forming itself with the rocks that answered the Resi’s call. Another myth says that the temple is the hermitage of Resi Hanuman—a white wanara (half human, half monkey), a friend of Prabu Rama in the epic of Ramayana.
According to spiritual figures, Angin Temple has a wind (angin) vortex right in the temple hole; thus, it was named Angin Temple.
28. Kura-Kura Ocean Park
Kura-Kura Ocean Park is one of the popular attractions in Kartini Beach. The facility provides an educational tour, introducing the marine life. Living up to its name, the two-story building resembles a giant turtle (Indonesian: kura-kura) looking up the sky. The first floor is an aquarium with a great collection of fish and turtles, and the second floor provides a wide array of children's games—a perfect place for family vacation.
Kura-Kura Ocean Park was established on February 22, 2011. The facilities include a large aquarium with a mysterious underwater tunnel. The tunnel allows the visitors to see the beautiful marine life—fish, hawksbill, and coral reefs or different sizes.
In addition to the mystery tunnel, there is also a fish spa containing thousands of garra rufa fish from Turkey. There is also a touch pool that allows children to safely play with benign turtles and fish. Visitors can also have fun on the second floor, playing a variety of games, such as creative boards, floating fountains, pat and motion sensor displays, aircraft simulators, and others.
Taking children for a vacation to this park is a brilliant idea. In addition to having fun, surely, they can learn with a more pleasant atmosphere. Besides, the entrance ticket is very affordable, only 5,000 IDR on weekdays, and 17,500 IDR on weekends.
29. Jepara Ourland Park
Jepara Ourland Park also known as Jateng Park 1 is the only integrated tourist area in Central Java. The concept is similar to Jatim Park in Batu, East Java.
The park is located in Mororejo Beach, RT 4/2, Mlonggo, Bandengan, Jepara Sub-district. Yes, this tourist area is facing the beach, built on an area of 11 hectares. It combines sports, education, entertainment, relaxation, and games.
This family recreation resort was opened on April 10, 2016, and named Jepara Ocean Park. With a middle-eastern architectural style of a colorful, magnificent dome, the park provides exciting rides, including:
- Water park consisting of toddler pool, children pool, family pool, bucket byur, extreme slide, Olympic swimming pool, flow pool, wave pool, and others.
- Water sports
- Outbound activities
- Various rides
There are also vehicles that will take visitors around this site, such as air wheel, hoverboard, e-bike, golf car, and mini train. They also provide elaborate facilities for the convenience of visitors, including musala, dressing rooms, entertainment stage, and a parking lot.
To enjoy the exciting rides, visitors are charged 60,000 IDR on weekdays, and 75,000 IDR on weekends and national holidays.
30. Tiara Park Waterboom
Located on Kenari Street, Purwogondo, Kalinyamatan, Tiara Park Waterboom is as fun as Jepara Ourland Park. Owned and developed by TB. Mitra Jaya, the park is a great choice to spend a family vacation.
As a recreational water park, Tiara Park has a number of swimming pools with different depths, starting from 20 cm to 3 m.
One of the main attractions in this place is Iguana Slide that allows visitors to slide from inside of the iguana statue through its red tongue that extends to the pool.
There are also other attractions such as 3D cinema, hang gliding, ATV arena, bungee trampoline, and other fun rides should not be missed. They also provide musala and free Wi-Fi access for visitors.
TB. Mitra Jaya plans to build several new rides and hold several events in Tiara Park in the near future. The rides include Wave House, Cute House for cute animals, Reptile Cave, Crocodile Stomach, Futsal Stadium, and Roller Coaster. One of the events to be held is sports broadcasts.
Want to take your family to Tiara Park Waterboom? You will only need to pay 25,000 IDR per person on weekends or 22.000 IDR per person on weekdays. You may also want to rent a swim float for 15,000 IDR for the big ones and 5,000 IDR for the small ones.
In addition to the exciting 30 attractions, there are other tourist attractions in Jepara worth visiting. They are mostly hidden gems—beaches and waterfalls—with no admission fee. However, to explore the nature to your heart’s content, keep in mind that your physical condition must be fit.
Well, after visiting Jepara, it is worth to carry on the tour to other areas in Central Java, such as Kudus, Rembang, and Semarang that are also captivating. Have a good vacation!