Our ideas for treks around Japan

The land of the rising sun is certainly a land of contrasts and extremes!
Going trekking in Japan is a chance to experience the ultimate in glitz and modernity. It's also a chance to immerse yourself in an ancient culture and enjoy unspoilt natural surroundings with some of the world's most unique panoramic views.
With its cities, mountains, sea and volcanoes, this land of mountains, or "yama-guni," is the ultimate place to go trekking. You're sure to find paradise here...

ideas hikes japan

Mountain trekking: climbing Mount Fuji

> Environment: mountain, volcano
> Difficulty:easy to moderate
> Recommended season: May to September
> Average duration: 3 days
> Total distance: 38,5 km
> Total elevation gain: 2798 D+

Welcome to the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan's iconic mountain which rises to a height of 3,776 m above sea level. This majestic volcano is a real landmark and is admired by locals and tourists alike. It's obviously a must-see site for all trekkers travelling to Japan. So don't miss the chance to climb it!

Good news: the trails that lead to the top of Mount Fuji are accessible to all hikers, irrespective of level! So don't delay! Slip on your walking shoes and pitch yourself against this giant, following one the trails that lead to the summit.

Before embarking on your adventure, please note that Mount Fuji is only open to the public during the official season from 1st July to 31st August. The ascent is divided into 10 "stations," and most hikers begin their trek at the 5th station, where there are four main paths leading to the top.

The most popular route is the Fujinomiya trail. The round trip takes roughly 8 hours. However, over the course of the season, more than 60,000 hikers frequent this route. Needless to say, it is crowded and you'll rarely be alone.

We strongly recommend that you take the Yoshida trail which is longer and a lot quieter.The round trip takes approximately 10 hours, but it's worth the effort. You'll pass through magical forests of tall trees. Ideal for a bit of quiet reflection before you reach the summit!

mount fuji japan trek

Trekking in the middle of the countryside: Daisetsuzan National Park

> Environment: mountain, volcano
> Difficulty: difficult
> Suggested season: May to September
> Average duration: 5 to 8 days
> Total distance: 74,4 km
> Total elevation gain: 5 248 D+

Daisetsuzan National Park is located on the island of Hokkaido and is home to Asahidake, the highest mountain in the land of the rising sun. Its name comes from the snow that covers its peaks throughout the year. This vast outdoor playground, which extends over more than 230,000 hectares, is a paradise for trekkers looking for wide open spaces. None of the hiking trails in this mountain range are below 1,800 metres and all, naturally, boast incredible panoramic views.

We recommend the Daisetsuzan Grand Traverse, a 5-8 day hike that traverses the entire national park.It's quite an iconic itinerary which starts at the foot of Mount Asahidake (2,291 metres) and ends on the slopes of Tokachidake (2,077 metres), an active volcano.

The Kamuy Mintar mountain range is ideal for self-sufficient hiking but is a demanding route. This trek is reserved for experienced hikers and fans of the great outdoors who enjoy bivouacking at high altitude. Let the outdoor adventure begin!

hiking on a trip to japan daisetsuzan

Spiritual trek the Kii peninsula

> Environment: mountain, forest, temple
> Difficulty: easy
> Recommended season: May to September
> Average duration: 4 to 5 days
> Total distance: 60 km
> Total elevation gain:  1625 D+ e and 1900 D-

The Kumano Kodo trails, which link major Shinto and Buddhist sanctuaries throughout the peninsula, are over 1,000 years old. These ancient pilgrimage trails lead you through pristine mountains where you can feel the energy of Shugendo and the power of the spirits of nature.

The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage consists of a number of different trails:7 in total. Possible routes include: Nakahecki (main route), Ohechi, Kohechi, Iseji, Choishi-michi, Yoshino and Omine. Since 2004, these trails have all been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Nakahechi trail is a 4-day walk which extends over 60 kilometres, through the countryside, across the peninsula. It's a popular itinerary which can be walked either in stages or in its entirety. En route, you'll pass Mount Tamaki, the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, the famous gate of Oyunohara gate and Nachisan Seiganto-ji temple.

spiritual trek

3-day trek: hiking itinerary through the Japanese Alps

> Environment: mountain
> Difficulty: difficult
> Suggested season: May to September
> Average duration: 3 days
> Total distance: 38,5 km
> Total elevation gain: 2798 D+

Do you want a taste of high-mountain life in Japan? The Tsugami Shindo, which extends over 38 kilometres, links the Sea of Japan to the Japanese Alps, a unique itinerary which takes you from 0 to 3,000 m above sea level in just 3 days. The trail climbs along Mount Kikuishiyama which is renowned for its many fern and ammonite fossils from the Jurassic period.

Gradually,  the mountain ranges unfold and as you start gaining altitude, you'll spot more Alpine flora and a variety of plants that mainly bloom in spring and summer. Here you can admire the Kometsuji, azaleas with large colourful flowers that carpet the lush meadows of the Japanese Alps, extending as far as the eye can see.

Along the route, you'll come across several lodges and mountain refuges - 3 to be exact. Just enough to get you to the end of this absolutely magical trek! Don't miss the panoramic view of the Noto Peninsula and the Northern Alps, from the top of the mountains.A beautiful reward after 3 days of energetic walking.

Trek from monastery to monastery: the way of the 88 temples

> Difficulty: difficult
> Suggested season: May to September
> Average duration: 50 to 70 days
> Total distance: 1,130 km

The way of the 88 temples is a pilgrimage route which here, in the land of the rising sun, has the same spiritual importance as the Santiago de Compostela routes in Europe. This trail, popular with both Japanese and foreign hikers, encircles the island of Shikoku, following in the footsteps of the Buddhist monk Kūkai.It's time for an in-depth exploration of traditional, rural Japan.

Although the 88 temple pilgrimage is very popular in Japan, very few people complete the trail on foot. Which is lucky for you as you'll get to enjoy beautiful views of the countryside without encountering huge crowds. Except as you approach the temples, of course! It is traditional for pilgrims to dress in white with a sedge hat and staff.

Traditionally, the trek starts with a visit to Mount Koya temple located in the extreme south of the island of Shikoku. This is where Kukai, the monk who visited the 88 temples during the 18th century, is buried.

This trek is aimed at long-distance hikers who wish to walk for several weeks, following a route that extends over 1,000 kilometres.Generally speaking, it takes two months to walk the entire circuit. If you want to stop off at all the temples, you will have to factor in extra time to climb to the sites, in addition to the total duration of the trail. En route, you can bivouac, stay in temples, in hotels or traditional accommodation such as minshukus or ryokans.

trek monastery Japan

Nomadic trek: backpacking in Japan

After roaming the country on foot, take advantage of your trip to Japan to go backpacking and discover more must-see sites! In two weeks, you can visit the imperial cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. Continue towards Hiroshima, before stopping off at the Japanese Alps with their Buddhist temples and national parks. You can relax in an onsen, a traditional hot spring, or spend the night in a ryokan, a typical wooden inn.

2 weeks in Japan: must-visit sites

Your 2-week tour of Japan starts in Osaka, a vibrant metropolis renowned for its gastronomy and the historic district of Nanba. From here, you can easily reach Mount Koya where you can spend a night in a Buddhist temple and bathe in an onsen. In the evening, don't miss the amazing spectacle of the illuminated pagodas. After a hike in the forest, head to the city of Nara, the starting point for a pretty hike leading to the wooden temple, Todai-ji, one of the world's most unique architectural gems.

The next day, head to Kyoto, a superb city (the most beautiful city in Asia, some say) with an incredibly rich history and architectural heritage. The mountains around Kyoto are the perfect place for a trek and a chance to discover the Tenryu-ji temple, a UNESCO-listed world heritage site. Next head towards Hiroshima; make sure you don't miss the White Heron castle and then the Peace Memorial. From here, you can reach the Island of Miyajima for an ascent of Mount Misen.

Then take a train to Nagoya where you can hike the Nakasendo trail. And obviously from Mount Ashiwada you will get to enjoy a fabulous view of Mount Fuji. Kamakura, on the Pacific coast, is nicknamed Little California due to its permanently mild climate. Don't forget to visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura Daibutsu.

Pass through Kekko and then head to the capital, Tokyo, a city full of contrasts which offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in modern-day Japan. Spend a few days exploring this amazing megalopolis before then heading back home.

2 weeks in Japan

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