Japan is known for its hilly landscape and natural wonders. The best way to experience the beauty of Japanese nature it to escape form the cities and go for hike. Everyone can enjoy this activity, despite of age and experience as any area in the country has numerous options.
1. Mount Takao in Tokyo
Mount Takao is a great hiking destination if you don’t want to travel far from Tokyo, as it only takes 50 minutes to get there from Shinjuku. The beautiful area has a temple and numerous hiking possibilities. There are 6 different tracks to reach the 599-meter summit, of different lengths and difficulties. There’s a Monkey park and 3 different observation decks. In the spring it is also a great spot for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing!
More about Mount Takao: A Day Trip to Mount Takao, The Great Hiking Spot in Tokyo
2. Mount Nikko in Tochigi
Nikko is located in Tochigi Prefecture, and it is a famous UNESCO World Heritage site for its beautiful shines and temples, most well known among them is the Toshogu Shrine. It is in a beautiful national park with the Okunikko waterfalls and the Yumoto Onsen hot springs. Some hiking routes connect all the famous sites of the area so you can take a look at all of them during one trip.
3. Kamakura in Kanagawa
Kamakura is in Kanagawa prefecture, where there are numerous easy hiking trails above the city in the forest. The city is famous for its beautiful temples and shrines, a great day trip if you are looking for an active day out! The trails are divided into three parts, the Western, Northern and Eastern Hills all with beautiful temples to visit. The first two hills take about 90 minutes to hike, and the Northern Hills are popular in the autumn for its beautiful colors, while the latter, Eastern Hills are much easier and can be completed in 30 minutes with beautiful view over the city.
4. Mount Fuji in Yamanashi
Of course Mount Fuji cannot be missed form this list. If you want to experience the best hiking spot in Japan, Fuji is a must! The highest point of Japan can be visited in guided tours that take you up the top by dawn so you can watch as the sun rises in the horizon. The hike is not the easiest: it takes quiet a long time and you need specific gear to complete the journey: taking extra clothing and oxygen is a must as near the top it gets cold and harder to breath. You can reach the top by sleeping a few hours at one of the stations half way through, and eat a delicious meal in the guesthouse. On the top of the mountain there is a souvenir shop with little flags that say that you have completed the hike, as well as you can find a post office, don’t forget to send a card to your loved ones form the top of Japan!
Hiking is possible in July and August and sometimes in September, other times of the year it is too dangerous. Other times of the year you are able to hike up tunnel the 5th station, which is an easier and more casual hike.
5. Mount Koya in Wakayama
Koya is a famous pilgrimage site near Osaka in Wakayama prefecture. The main hike is a 23 kilometers long and 7 hour hike, but there are different shortened routes to get a glimpse of the mountain temples.
6. Shiretoko in Hokkaido
Shiretoko is World heritage site located in Hokkaido, so if you plan to leave the main island this might be the place for you. The sit is located in the very northern tip of the peninsula, and it is known as the most unspoiled spots in the country. Only the bottom three quarters of the peninsula is reachable by road, the rest can be visited by boats or through the numerous hiking routes. Shiretoko is home for many wild animals, brown bears, deer and foxes.
7. Hiji Waterfall in Okinawa
This beautiful site and easy hike is located in Okinawa, the tropical island of Japan that is better known for its beaches than hiking spots. But if you plan to leave the main island, Honshu and visit sunny Okinawa take a day to explore its wonders other than its coasts and aquariums. The Hiji Waterfall is in the less populated northern part of the island and you can reach the site by a 40-minute walk through the forest.