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Hiking

Although probably better known for its traditional culture and technologically advanced cities, Japan is also a country of mountains. More than seventy percent of the volcanic archipelago is covered by towering volcanic peaks and snow capped summits; and these mountains, which have traditionally held important religious and cultural significance, provide nothing short of a haven for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Naturally the country has developed a vibrant hiking culture to go along with its geography. Whether you are seeking long, multi-day treks through the national parks or easy daytrips from the city, Japan offers abundant hiking opportunities through a diverse set of climates and difficulty levels.

Below is an incomplete list of recommended hiking destinations across Japan:

Difficulty
Meaning
Easy
Casual day hikes that are well traveled and well marked. They are are often easily accessible by public transportation or are at least located close to local accommodation. No special equipment is necessary. May also be appropriate for hiking with younger children.
Medium
May include sections that are steep, long or both. With ample time, they should be doable by a person of average athletic ability. Hiking boots are recommended but not necessary. These hikes may not be suitable for younger children.
Difficult
Long and strenuous trails that may require maps and navigational skills to complete. Difficult trails should not be undertaken without proper preparation and equipment, and hiking boots are highly recommended.

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Around Tokyo

Mount Takao

Season: Year Round (Best in Spring and Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Mount Mitake

Season: Year Round (Best in Spring and Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures

Mount Fuji•••

Season: July to mid September
Difficulty: Difficult

Kamakura

Season: Year Round (Best in Spring and Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy

Hakone

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn (Best in Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Around Kyoto

Daigoji Temple

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium

Kurama

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium

Around Osaka

Minoo Park

Season: Year Round (Best in Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy

Mount Yoshino

Season: Year Round (Best in Spring)
Difficulty: Easy

Mount Koya

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium

Hokkaido

Rishiri and Rebun••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Shiretoko••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Akan National Park••

Season: Summer
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Daisetsuzan•••

Season: July to September
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Mount Tarumae••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Noboribetsu Hell Valley

Season: Year Round (Best in Summer and Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy

Onuma Park

Season: Year Round (Best in Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy

Tohoku Region

Mount Hakkoda

Season: Summer and Autumn (Best in Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Aomori and Akita Prefectures

Shirakami Sanchi

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures

Sanriku Coast

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Dewa Sanzan••

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Kanto Region (except Tokyo)

Gunma, Fukushima, Niigata and Tochigi Prefectures

Oze National Park••

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Mount Kusatsu-Shirane

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Mount Nasudake

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Izu Oshima

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium

Chubu Region

Kamikochi•••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Norikura

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Shosenkyo Gorge

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Easy
Ishikawa and Gifu Prefectures

Mount Hakusan

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Difficult

Kansai Region (except Kyoto and Osaka)

Kumano••

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Nunobiki Waterfall

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Easy

Mount Shosha

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Easy

Chugoku Region

Mount Misen••

Season: Summer
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Akiyoshidai Plateau

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn)
Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Shikoku Region

Iya

Mount Tsurugi

Season: Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium

Kankakei Gorge

Season: Year Round (Best in Autumn)
Difficulty: Medium

Awashima

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium

Kyushu

Kuju Mountains

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Mount Aso

Kumamoto PrefectureSeason: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Mount Unzen

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures

Kirishima•••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Yakushima National Park•••

Season: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult

Okinawa

Hiji Waterfall

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium

Iriomote Island••

Season: Year Round
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding