Most of the geographical area of the island nation Japan consists of active volcanic mountain ranges. The stunning mountain landscapes have remained untouched by humans in most parts, and the Japanese people hold a sacred view towards them. Taking advantage of this natural phenomenon, the booming tourism industry in the country offers countless opportunities for travelers to hike up the mountains, ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. If you’re seeking some thrilling adventure in this culturally rich land, here is a useful guide on trekking in Japan.
Optimal Time For Hiking In Japan
The weather conditions in Japan vary depending on the regions. Hokkaido, located in the northeastern part of the country, always experiences lower temperatures compared to the central administrative region. However, the best time to go hiking in Japan is during the summer season. The temperature during this period usually averages between 24-29℃. By visiting during this time, you can avoid the peak cherry blossom crowds and the early winter rains. It is important to avoid the winter season and remember that the timing of summer varies depending on the specific region you wish to explore.
Perfect Spots For Hiking In Japan
- Mount Fuji near Tokyo is the most popular volcanic mountain trek in Japan.
- The Nikko Mountain in Tochigi is an exquisite tourist attraction with its lakes, waterfalls, and picturesque walking trails.
- The Hokkaido region boasts a series of national parks and lakes that offer breathtaking hiking trails.
- Kumano Kodo is a network of pilgrimage hiking trails.
- The Japan Alps in the Honshu region offer a multitude of fantastic hiking opportunities in Japan.
Finest Hiking Trails In Japan
Explore all the potential routes and trails that you can trek during your thrilling journey to Japan. Which one would you like to try first?
1. Mount Fuji
Undoubtedly the most exquisite and the tallest peak in Japan, Mount Fuji provides the ultimate trekking experience in Japan for experienced climbers. The convex dynamic volcano must be on the checklist of every adventurer who aspires to conquer the summits of the world. It can be conveniently accessed by regular buses from Tokyo. As previously stated, the mountain is accessible for trekking during the summer months from July to September. The official ascending routes of Mount Fuji are:
1) Yoshida trail: The Yoshida trail commences from the Fuji-Subaru 5th line station on the northern side of the mountain. It takes approximately 13 hours in total to hike, including the descent time for this trail. It is the most popular route and therefore one should expect some crowding. The pathway is adorned with sleeping huts and first aid centers at various intervals. During the ascent, one can anticipate encountering some rocky and winding trails.
2) Subashiri trail: This mountain trail starts from the eastern side of the Subashiri 5th station and is one of the splendid trekking routes in Japan. The ascent leads through a twisting forest area and a slippery path with no first aid centers along the way. It takes approximately 8 hours to reach the summit from this trail.
3) Gotemba trail: The new 5th station on the southeastern side of the mountain marks the beginning of the Gotemba trail. It is the least crowded route among the four and lacks public facilities such as restrooms, first aid centers, and huts. The descent path diverges from the same route on the gentle slopes.
4) Fujinomiya trail: The trail commences from the highest point on the southern side of the mountain, making it a relatively shorter route. One must follow the same path for both ascending and descending from the summit. The trail consists of steep rocky slopes that pose a risk of injuries.
Duration: 1 dayDifficulty level: Moderate to challenging depending on the chosen trail.Cost: INR 4500 per personHighlights: The mountain trail is renowned for its breathtaking sunrise view.Tip: Ascend slowly to allow your body to adjust to the changing levels of oxygen.
2. Kumano Kodo
Kumano Kodo on the Kii Peninsula is a series of significant pilgrimage hiking paths that lead to the religious shrines and temples near Kyoto. The hike takes you through the splendid canopy of forest trees, meandering streams, thermal springs, and cascades. Nakahechi is the highly recommended route to undertake the mountain-to-mountain hiking experience in Japan. Japanese guesthouses are available throughout the route to provide accommodations for each night. One can fully indulge in the natural beauty without any time constraints and relish the climb.
Duration: 5 daysLevel of difficulty: StraightforwardCost: INR 90000 per individual (includes meals and accommodation)Highlights: The path offers breathtaking views and brings a soothing effect to the hikers.Tip: Hikers will encounter a significant number of stairs along the route.
3. Mount Asahi
Located in one of Japan’s finest hiking regions, the Hokkaido area, Mount Asahi is part of a national park where visitors can witness steam emissions from certain parts of this active volcano. Despite its potentially hazardous nature, Mount Asahi is currently well below the alert level, adding an extra touch of excitement for adventure seekers. It typically takes approximately 5 hours to complete the hike around the volcanic crater, and the trail is not particularly challenging.
Duration: 1 dayLevel of difficulty: StraightforwardCost: INR 1800 per personHighlights: The only route where steam emissions from the mountain can be seenTip: Stay well hydrated during the hike.
Yarigatake is situated in the Kita Alps near Kamikochi, and just like the climb itself, reaching the destination can be quite challenging. The hike is quite popular due to the diverse landscapes encountered along the way, making all the effort worthwhile. Hikers can come across streams, hot springs, dams, and abundant greenery before reaching the summit. Camping sites are available for overnight stays, and the ascent includes steep rocky ridges. This stunning trekking trail in Japan is definitely not recommended for beginners, and climbing after dusk is strictly prohibited.
Duration: 2 daysLevel of difficulty: ChallengingCost: INR 7000 per individualHighlights: The hike is solely for dedicated and professional climbers.Tip: avoid exposure to UV rays and refrain from attempting to climb rapidly.
5. Mount Nantai
Mount Nantai is a sacred peak for the Shinto religion in the hiking region of Nikko in Japan that provides a remarkable hiking experience. The ascent itself is incredibly picturesque, featuring lush landscapes, thermal springs, a natural lake, and cascades. Along the way, one may come across a shrine at the mountain’s base dedicated to the same deity and proceed with the arduous climb. While the distance between the shrine and the summit is under 7 km, the climb is quite demanding due to the rugged mountain terrain. There exist four other trails that can be taken to reach the top.
Duration: 1 dayLevel of difficulty: ModerateCost: INR 300 per individualHighlights: It combines a lovely day hike with a spiritual tour.Tip: Bring plenty of water.
Kamakura is a city near Tokyo renowned for its 13-meter-tall Buddha statue made of bronze situated atop a hill. The hiking trail leading to this temple shrine is perfect for a day trip and is considered one of the excellent hikes in Japan. There are a total of seven officially designated hiking trails that guide individuals to the Great Buddha, and all of these routes traverse through the splendid forest landscapes. Reaching the miraculous Buddha that withstood the tsunami is rather straightforward and enjoyable.
Duration: 1 dayLevel of difficulty: SimpleCost: INR 300 per individualHighlights: Optimal choice for an expedition encompassing culture, religion, and adventure.Tip: Wear comfortable yet durable footwear.
7. Shikoku Pilgrimage
Shikoku Henro is an island with a group of Shinto temples and shrines. The island that accommodates a bit less than 100 shrines is definitely not reachable in one attempt. It is more of a spiritual journey than a hiking path and a flawless example of a lodge to lodge hiking in Japan. The route is paved and smooth until some point while the rest takes one through the wood area and steep stairs. It takes about a month to complete the trail that runs along the whole perimeter of the island.
Duration: 1 monthDifficulty level: SimpleCost: INR 4000 per day per personHighlights: One can explore the whole island in one trail.Tip: Carry bear bells along to stay away from the wild bears in the wood.
Additional Reading: Getting A Japan Visa Will Now Be Easier Than Buying A Movie Ticket!
Whether it is to explore the luxuriant countryside, to undertake a serious climb or to join the religious tours, trekking in Japan provides abundant opportunities for one. There is something for all sorts of climbers. Get your backpacks ready and reserve your vacation in Japan today with Fred and Fuzzys to reach the highest peaks of this beautiful nation.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking In Japan
What are some of the most renowned hiking trails in Japan?
The most famous trails for hiking in Japan lead to Mount Fuji, and some of the distinguished trails are namely, Yoshida trail, the Subashiri trail, the Gotemba trail, and the Fujinomiya trail. Other popular hiking trails are Kumano Kodo, Mount Asahi trail, Yarigatake trail, Mount Nantai trail, Kamauka trail, Shikoku henro trail, and many more.
How many days does one take to complete the full trail to Mount Fuji in Japan?
You will be able to complete the entire trail to Mount Fuji within a day. Though the time is taken depends upon the path a hiker chooses. Specific pathways are more intricate than others but take less time.
What is the significance of the Kumano Kodo trail in Japan?
The Kumano Kodo trail is a pilgrimage trip. You will find several famous shrines and temples at the end of each path. It usually takes five days to complete the entire trail, and you will be able to spend nights in inns in the villages and enjoy delicious meals during the hike.
What is the most stunning hiking area in Japan?
The Hokkaido region is breathtakingly beautiful. You will be able to reach Mount Asahi by hiking through the area.
Can a beginner hike in the Yarigatake trail?
The trail that leads to Yarigatke is quite intricate. It takes two days for an expert to complete the trail. You will have to sleep in camps during the trip, and for a beginner, it is quite challenging.
What are some of the renowned hiking trails in Osaka in Japan?
There are several trekking trails in Osaka, including Minoo Park, Mount Rokko, Kurama Station, and many more.
When is the appropriate time to go hiking in Japan?
You should go hiking in Japan during the summertime because the winters are severe and the hiking trails are closed during monsoon.
What is the cost to hike to Mount Fuji?
You will be able to cover the hiking trip to Mount Fuji within INR 4500 per person.
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