Discover one-of-a-kind sceneries and exhilarating experiences when you go hiking in Japan. The trails and routes vary from leisure walks to daring hikes that you won’t easily find anywhere else.
Picking the trail of your choice
The great outdoors of Japan is nothing short of spectacular when it comes to hiking trails. Did you know that most of its mountainous terrains are not too far from major cities? As such, they’re relatively accessible. Numerous options are available for you to choose from depending on your preferred level of difficulty or your cup of tea. Among hiking destinations in Japan, by far the most famous is Mt. Fuji and for a good reason. It might be a challenging hike, but the summit offers the most rewarding view.
Another common characteristic of hiking trails in Japan is their religious, spiritual aspect. Many trails have sacred sites where hikers go on a pilgrimage since ancient times. If you’re after different trails in one go, then the Japanese Alps is a perfect fit. It spans across six prefectures with different paths, sceneries, and iconic landmarks. If you want a low-key trip, part of its northern and southern terrains are usually not too crowded during the hiking season. There are also day trip hikes close to major cities like Mt. Takao, Mt. Mitake, Mt. Yoshino, Mt. Koya and Minoo Park, all of which are more or less an hour travel from their nearest city.
Tips and pointers
Some tips to remember when hiking in Japan is that wildlife is more common than you think. Always be cautious and find out any standard practices that hikers do to keep safe, like attaching a bear bell to belongings to keep bears away. Most hiking destinations offer reasonable accommodations but keep in mind to always book in advance. What’s more, even if you’ve already visited one destination, the scenery transforms into a whole different world along with the trails, and this is what makes Japan’s outdoors unique and interesting to explore.
Famous hiking trails have guided hiking tours available. Depending on your hiking style and likings such tours may have pros, but cons at the same time. Tours not only can help you save time, but it can also provide safety and support especially for first-time climbers. Since tour guides better understand local area and terrain, it helps you focus more on the climb and immerse yourself better in nature. However, there might be a chance that you won’t be able to explore as much as you want because there’s an itinerary that must be followed more often than not.
On the contrary, hiking on your own gives you the freedom to explore, and you’re more likely to experience unexpected encounters that can delight your trip and will make your journey more memorable. Although English may not be the common language in Japan, Japan’s transportation system is very convenient. Hence, you can quite easily navigate to your destination. It’s also more rewarding if you’ve done the climb on your own. Whether you’re just a beginner or not, many resources on your website can aid you in having a smooth-sailing trip. For beginners, you can always start from an easy trail, or you can even challenge yourself at your own pace if you’re more adventurous. Ultimately, the decision would depends on your experience with hiking, your travel goal, and how much time you have.