Mountain landscapes may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture Japan. However, the country is home to many majestic mountains, including the Japanese Alps. In the region surrounding this mountain chain on Honshu Island, you'll be charmed by the traditional villages of Shirakawa-go, which seem as though they are frozen in time. The thatched-roof homes, rice paddies, and winding trails offer a glimpse of rural Japan, which is as serene as its metropolises are lively.
These mountains are also fantastic for hiking in Japan, where untamed nature, snowy trails, and crystal-clear waterfalls come together in a picturesque landscape. You'll find yourself taking frequent pauses to admire the view and breathe in the fresh air. The summits of the Japanese Alps and Mount Kita, the country's second-highest mountain, are a pleasure to climb in both summer and winter.
To relax and recover after all this exercise, we recommend a soak in one of the region's many onsens. In these pools, which are often outside and surrounded by the mountains, the water flows from nearby volcanic springs. These waters are said to have many therapeutic benefits. Take note that nudity is required when bathing in these pools—don't be shy.