On a hiking trip to Japan expect to see extraordinary mountain landscapes, spectacular nature trails, and ancient temples. Discover the allure of this unique country while exploring astonishing sites from Mount Fuji to the Japanese Alps. Plus, hiking offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in rich Japanese cultural and historical traditions, including its thermal baths and legendary cuisine.
Japan is filled with mountainous landscapes including snow-topped summits and towering volcanic peaks, making it a hiker's playground. Its extensive, well-maintained trails make it a fantastic destination for any trekking enthusiast. The Japanese have a proud hiking tradition, and are generally enthusiastic and helpful with their fellow hikers, making this an easy destination for walking long distances.
Japan offers an abundance of adventurous hiking options, no matter the season or your ability level. Here are a few of the top picks for some of the best hikes in Japan.
This series of mountain ranges in central Honshu features the Akaishi, Kiso, and Hida Mountains. One particularly exciting hiking option is the Kamikochi Valley, with its gorgeous highland setting. Enjoy its largely undeveloped environment and gaze at the surrounding peaks and rivers.
Located on Hokkaido, this is Japan's easternmost point. Trek the many trails that surround its various peaks, or go for a more sedate hike in the Five Lakes area. You'll have a chance to spot sea ice in winter, and swim under waterfalls in summer.
Hokkaido's tallest mountain, Daisetsuzan, is snowcapped for much of the year. It’s an ideal hiking destination after the spring thaw, giving you the chance to see the dense forests, clear lakes, and hot springs covering this rugged area.
The Kumano area is a popular pilgrimage site in Japan, linked by a network of trails. These routes are filled with shrines that have played a significant role in Japan's spiritual heritage. Join in one of Asia's most famous spiritual journeys to get an alternative perspective on this fascinating country.
The world-famous ancient cedar forests on Yakushima are a stunning place for a stroll. Home to a national park, the area is only accessed by boat or plane but is well worth the journey. Hikers can experience a variety of landscapes, from steep mountains to subtropical beaches and coral reefs.
Hiking in Japan is a safe and fun experience, but some planning is necessary to help you have a great time. As many of the country's trails are popular with local hikers, avoid hiking on national holidays and weekends for a quieter experience. Some trails and accommodation require reservations in advance, so check ahead for availability. Many trails are easily accessible by public transport, so consider doing as the locals do and taking the train or bus there.
The best season to visit Japan is the spring: the weather is glorious and the cherry trees are in blossom. You can also go in the autumn when the colours are just as beautiful. But is it always better to go mid-season to explore the country. In fact, winter can be very cold, whilst summer is often very hot with heavy rain.