A trek to the top of Tokyo's highest mountain—Mt. Takao—can be done within a day from the capital, while the pilgrimage routes that wind through the Kii Mountain Range in western Japan are much more time consuming. For nature at its most active, head deep south to the volcanic island of Sakurajima.
Not just limited to mountain exploration, the country's coastlines are often dotted with towering monuments of rock forged by years of erosion, and the beaches are clean and a great spot to relax.
Depending on which season you choose to visit, the natural backdrop will change from the delicate pinks of cherry blossom season in spring, lush greens of summer, golden hues of autumn and the dark, skeletal trees of winter. Spend time among the seasonal foliage in the nation's parks, gardens and areas of natural beauty.