When you think of Japan, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Beyond the temples and food and busy streets full of shoppers, there are many more activities that you can do in Japan, especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys nature.
Japan has an abundance of mountains, parks, and hiking trails, so you’ll never be faced with a lack of options.
As expert travelers would say, there’s no better way to get to know a new country than by walking around. With hiking, you get to experience the road less traveled.
Cars can’t make their way in such areas, and tourists generally do not crowd such sites. This gives you a chance to enjoy the best of what nature has to offer.
So if you’re headed that way these are five of the best places for you to go hiking in Japan.
Hiking In Japan
1. Mt. Fuji
Who hasn’t heard of Mt. Fuji? Not only is it possibly the most famous mountain in Japan, but it also stands as the highest one, soaring at 12,000 ft.
Most tourists are content to have a glimpse of the mountain from the base and capture some stunning photos there.
But, if you’re up for an adventure, there are easy treks and hikes that you can opt for in Mount Fuji.
Here are some of the main reasons that hikers choose Mount Fuji for their treks:
- Mount Fuji is considered a sacred mountain. So if you wish to have a spiritual experience, this is a unique climb where you’ll come across many shrines along the way. Plus, this is also one of the cheapest but most memorable activities that you can do while in Japan.
- It imparts a personal sense of accomplishment. Not everyone can say they’ve made it up to the top of Mount Fuji on their trip to Japan. Moreover, it is doable even for beginners. If this is the type of activity you want to take part in, you will need to clear two days off your itinerary. One whole day is required to climb up and get down from the mountain. Then, the next day is required to recover from the physical exertion.
- It allows you to climb a volcano. Yes, Mount Fuji is actually an active volcano. Beneath the lush green forests, hikers will be able to see a spectacle of fiery red landscape below.
2. Magome Tsumago Trail
The Magome Tsumago Trail is one of the best day hikes that one can also do in Japan.
For this trail, you get to pass through two villages in the Kiso Valley area. These are the villages of Magome and Tsumago, as its name would suggest.
This trail is also perfect for beginners, and even first-time hikers as the trail is short and easy. It’s also swift as it spans only eight kilometers or three hours, to complete the entire hike.
Short as it may be, it’s not without highlights. Some of these include the following:
- There’s a traditional Japanese house that you can visit, on the halfway point. Here, you’ll experience Japanese hospitality by the local dwellers. You’ll be served traditional Japanese snacks and drinks to help replenish your energy for the remaining part of the trail. You can even purchase tea for you to take home.
- There’s a museum in the Magome area, the Magome Wakihonjin Museum so that you can learn a little bit more about history, too.
3. Mount Takao
Unknown to many tourists, it may be safe to say that Mount Takao is the favorite mountain of the locals.
It’s located just outside of Tokyo, so you won’t have to travel far if that’s where you are based. Mount Takao is, in fact, so popular that it’s one of the most visited mountains in the world.
Just as other hikers have experienced its magic, you should too, when you’re in Japan.
The locals claim that Mount Takao has it all. Here, you get exposed to exciting festivals, stunning views, and even some of the most delicious Japanese food.
Another great thing about Mount Takao is that when you’re there on a clear day, you will come across outstanding views of Mount Fuji as well. So if you’re pressed for time, you don’t have to make a separate trip to Mount Fuji.
Like Mount Fuji, Mount Takao is also considered by the Japanese to be sacred, and it has been so for 1,000 years now.
While there, you may encounter some disciples, also known as the yamabushi, when they’re practicing ascetic training.
So you can even learn more about meditation and sutra reading.
4. Omotesando Trail
If you wish to accomplish two hikes in a day, the Omotesando Trail is the perfect pre-cursor to your Mount Takao hike.
On this trail, you’ll get to go through another mountain, known as No Mori Takao Quasi-National Park.
If you’re in Japan between March to May, this trail is also one of the best places for you to see cherry blossom trees, as they are abundant on this mountain.
Some highlights of this trail include the following:
- Having an opportunity to stop by a monkey park
- Obtaining exposure to ancient temples
- Entertaining children, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to opt for hikes just because you’re traveling with kids
5. Shikoku Pilgrimage
This trail works only if you have the time and willingness to go through a multi-day hike.
The great thing about this hike is that there are many ways for you to choose your path or customize the trip.
As you plan ahead for this adventure, you can check outdoorcommand.com to get guidance from a community of camping and hiking enthusiasts to help prepare for the hike.
On this trip, you’ll travel to the island of Shikoku. The most beautiful thing about it is that the trail mostly covers the coastline, as this is where a lot of the temples are located.
So this may be a brand new and unusual experience for you, as compared to your usual hiking ventures.
Yes, Japan is mostly known for its well-preserved historical culture. However, in some areas, such as the major cities, you’ll also get to enjoy some of the most technologically-advanced places.
But if you’re up for a healthy nature trip, then there’s a lot that Japan can offer you.
This list is only the beginning.
As you make your way towards preparing for the trip, you may even find more hiking adventures that you can add to this list, if you have more time to spare.
If you liked this article about hiking in Japan a share would be cool!