Hiking and Walking

Information on the opportunities for hiking and walking in Japan's mountains and countryside...

Japan's varied countryside, with its mountains and volcanoes, offers a wide range of walking and hiking opportunities. About 80 percent of the Japanese countryside is mountainous and walking is a very popular activity. Most maps are in Japanese but experienced walkers can make sense of the terrain from them. Many footpaths in the country are well signposted and managed.

Ascending Mount Fuji, or Fujisan, the country's highest peak, is a classic walk often done at night to see the summit view at sunrise. It is usually very crowded; around 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year. For people who want a less energetic option, the lakes near the base of the mountain offer many shorter walks. The national parks of Hokkaido are also very popular with hikers for their mixture of farmlands, mountains and volcanoes. Daisetsuzan National Park, a remote area of hot springs, lakes and volcanoes, is particularly recommended.

A popular walking destination is Yakushima Island, approximately 60 Km southwest of Cape Sata at Kyushu's southernmost tip. It is a small island covered in virgin cedar forest and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is referred to as the Galapagos of East Asia as it is home to diverse ecosystems. It is also a popular ecotourism destination and is often visited for diving and water sports.

The Shirakami Mountain Range which runs across parts of Akita and Aomori prefectures is a UNESCO World Heritage site covered in primeval beech forest. Its many paths are popular with hikers. Other good choices for walking include the Japan Alps, where it is possible to walk long distance between mountain huts, and the Japan Sea coast. Kamikochi is a beautiful alpine sanctuary in the Japan Alps and is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country. The region is covered in hiking trails.

Walking and Hiking Organisations