CpDNA variation in Japanese beech, Fagus crenata (Fagaceae), was studied in 45 populations distributed throughout the species' range. Two cpDNA regions were sequenced: the non-coding region between the trnL (UAA) 5′exon and trnF (GAA), and the trnK region (including matK). Thirteen distinct cpDNA haplotypes were recognized and each haplotype was found to be geographically structured. Two major clades (I and II+III) were revealed in phylogenetic analyses among the haplotypes using F. sylvatica as an outgroup. The haplotypes of Clade I were distributed mainly along the Japan Sea side of the Japanese Archipelago, while those of Clade II+III occurred chiefly along the Pacific Ocean side. Consequently, the distribution of the two major cpDNA clades suggests that there were two migration routes in the history of F. crenata; one along the Japan Sea and the other along the Pacific Ocean side of the Japanese Islands.