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Yes, there are plenty of places for hiking in Japan.
Even though that’s not what most of people travel to Japan for. What is the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think of Japan? Most probably it’s the culture of this fascination country, where traditional mixes with the modern on a completely different level. Or mount Fuji. Or Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
But that’s not all.
Speaking of travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, Japan boasts some of the most incredible destinations. And if you are a fan of hiking, there is an abundance of options for you as well.
Here are the top 10 best hike locations in Japan.
Hiking in Japan: Best Places to Hike in Japan
Here they are, some of the very best places to hike in Japan.
The places are sorted in no particular order.
1. Mount Fuji
The most famous mountain in Japan.
Mount Fuji is the most famous mountain in Japan rising as high as 12.390 ft 3776 m above sea level.
What makes it a great mountain is that it is considered holy ground by the natives, and because it belongs to one of the trilogies of Japan’s history. Additionally, Mount Fuji is also an active volcano. On average, it takes a maximum of 7 hours to hike Mount Fuji. While descending takes a maximum of 4 hours.
Check out this guide if you plan on hiking Mount Fuji.
2. Mount Takao
While Fuji is the best-know, Takao is the most visited of the mountains in Japan.
Mount Takao is known for attracting the highest number of tourists each year.
This mountain is perfect because it is located a little bit outside Tokyo, which is a blend of both modern and historical. If you are short on time, or you don’t like long hikes then the Mount Takao hike is for you. It takes a maximum of 90 minutes to hike Mount Takao.
Making it one of the best day hikes in Japan.
Since it’s the most visited mountain in the world, don’t worry, you won’t get lost there. There is always someone else doing the same hike.
3. Mount Kita
Are you ready for a longer hike?
Do you want to have a beautiful view of Mount Fuji?
Here is a great option. Mount Kita is about 10.470 ft / 3190 m high and has a panoramic view of the peak of Mount Fuji. The best part about this mountain is that its summit can accommodate up to 150 people. There are two small huts where you can and might want to stay having just completed one half of the Japan’s most spectacular hikes (the walk down will be the other half).
For most people Mount Kita hike takes between 3 to 4 days.
4. Mount Kaimondake
If you are in the South Japan, try the Mount Kaimondake hike.
It’s yet another beauty among the Japan walks.
Not without a reason this mountain is locally referred to as the Fuji of Kyushu. Because it looks so much like Fuji. It’s a dormant volcano, though (not active). And it’s located at the very southern tip of the island of Kyushu, one of the primary islands of Japan.
The mountain offers amazing panoramic views and breathtaking hiking options.
On average it takes around 2 hours to hike this mountain.
5. Kumano Kodo
Kumano Kodo is an impressive hiking spot in Japan.
Mostly because of its strategic location.
It’s situated at the foot of ancient Japanese emperors’ territories and around the misty parts of Mount Kii Peninsula. What makes it one of the best hiking trails in Japan is that it offers not only a good exercise, but also the taste of real Japanese traditional customs, meals, and traditions.
There are many ryokans (local, traditional hotels) in the area.
And what a better place where to relax after a day of hiking if not in an old-school, traditional Japanese guest house, huh?
6. The Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage
Are you ready to take hiking in Japan to the next level?
Are you looking for a real challenge?
Then this is for you. Shikoku Island is famously known for its many temples and the long and challenging hike covering more than 700 miles / 1100 kilometers. What makes this place more interesting for hiking is that you are walking between 88 temples of the island.
On average the hike takes anything between 30 to 60 days to complete.
If you want to do it cheaper, go in the pilgrimage off-season. Only in this case don’t forget a rain cover for your backpack.
7. Lake Chuzenji
A pristine lake formed by a volcanic explosion of Mount Nantai.
Lake Chuzenji is well-known for its vibrant beauty, especially in the autumn season when the leaves have turned into different colors. Another reason why it’s here among the best Japan walking trails is that there are several hot springs in the area, where you can soak your tired muscles.
If hot springs is your thing, now you know where to head to.
If you only walk around the lake it will be a very short hike, though. At the same time it’s doable for everyone, including senior citizens and families with young kids.
Walk around the lake is only some 1.85 miles / 3 kilometers.
8. Yakushima Hike
Yakushima is a small island located south of Kyushu.
It is known as the home to a magnificent forest. And this is where you can go hiking on Yakushima. In the forest.
This forest is magnificent. There you can easily get that feeling that you’re far away from everyone and everything.
Speaking of accommodation on the island, one of the options is to stay in one of the traditional, wooden cottages featuring a balcony. Japanese style. Some western decorations and elements. Sea view. All of that for an affordable price.
There are 4 circular hikes on the island ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
9. Daisetsuzan National Park
Daisetsuzan means “Great Snowy Mountain”.
Why? Because it is covered in white snow for the better part of the year.
The park covers an area of approximately 875.54 sq mi / 2.268 square kilometers, making it the largest national park in Japan.
Its most outstanding feature is the massive mountain range that gives Daisetsuzan the nickname of “roof of Hokkaido”. There are hiking trails for all levels of hikers. If you are an experienced outdoor lover you can even cross the whole park, from Asahidake in the north to Tokachi lake in the south.
For most people it takes between 5 to 7 days to complete the hike.
10. The Philosophers Path in Kyoto
The Philosophers Path is a short, stone path in Kyoto.
It’s some 1.3 miles / 2 kilometers long stone path lined with cherry trees, situated next to a canal.
Come in the spring, when cherries are blooming, and you’ll experience it in all of its beauty.
Walking one way takes approximately 30 minutes (with photo stops).
Have you been to Japan? Have you tried hiking in Japan? What was your experience?
Book Your Trip Like a PRO
1. Book Your Flight
2. Book Your Accommodation
Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb. I use Booking and Agoda at least a dozen times a year, and Airbnb – when looking for a long-term stay. My best tip is to ALWAYS compare the price. Sometimes the same hotel is cheaper on Booking.com, other times – on Agoda. Always compare the price!
3. Buy Your Travel Insurance
World Nomads and SafetyWings are two companies I can recommend. World Nomads offers some extra benefits, that will be important for those doing some higher risk activities, while SafetyWings is significantly cheaper. SafetyWings is only $9.25 / week.