Japan

Description

Sanbyakumeizan

Japan is an exciting country for hiking. Walking comes in all flavors: volcanoes, pilgrimages, trails thousands of kilometers long, alpine hikes and climbs. Main difficulty is the language. Information in English is hard to find. You might get the impression that hiking in Japan is no option. Totally wrong - read on!

Let's do a little research first: what's the geography like? Japan is about the size of Germany, a bit larger, but the population is 1,5 times as large. 127-million people are crammed together on 35% of the land surface, 65% being rugged mountain area. You've got the opportunities, right?

The country counts four large islands and countless smaller ones. These main islands are, from northeast to southwest:

  • Hokkaidō, the mountainous island in the north. This island tips the Russian Island of Sakhalin
  • Honshū, the main island in the middle, including Osaka and Tokyo
  • Kyūshū, the westernmost island
  • Shikoku, the island that squeezes in between Honshū and Kyūshū

These islands span some 20 degrees in longitude, from the chilly north to the subtropical south! Nature imposes itself mercilessly. On the one hand, Japan exists thanks to the collision of continental shelves. This means, on the other hand, exploding volcanoes and earthquakes. Also, in everyday life Japanese have to cope with typhoons and tsunamis. Nature has enjoyments to offer as well: exuberant colors in autumn, blossoming in spring, wild animals like bears, wild fruits and vegetables...

Hyakumaizan

Politically Japan is divided into 9 regions and 47 prefectures. Let's have a closer look at them. In the centre of the country lies Tokyo, on the main island of Honshu. The Greater Tokyo Area houses 35-million people. This region, Kanto, is rather flat, but even here hiking trails can be found. To the west of Kanto lies the Chubu region, not far from the population centers. This is the region with the highest and wildest mountains, known in the West as the Japanese Alps. Mountains do not rise up higher than 4.000 m in Japan, but their often volcanic origins makes them wild and varied. Not far south of the capital is famous Mount Fuji – Fuji-san, 3776 m – Japan's highest. To the north of the country's mountainous centre lies Tohoku region and finally the island of Hokkaido, the second largest island. Its relatively cool and dry climate, quiet and mountainous, makes it interesting for hiking. To the south of Tokyo and the Chubu region, the main Honshu island continues for a while, less mountainous though. Then we reach the island of Shikoku, island of pilgrimages, half enclosed by Honshu. And in the far west is the island of Kyushu, again mountainous, the elements from below causing havoc (and nice hot springs!). This makes for good hiking, but with a warm and humid climate.

Talking about the climate: the north of the country and the mountains are snow covered in winter. Hiking in this season is still feasible in the south. In summer, Hokkaido in the north is pleasant and not too wet, whereas the rest of Japan is hot and humid. Between June and July, a monsoon works its way from south to north. In large parts of Japan, spring and autumn are best for hiking. Summer is best for the mountains.

Shikoku 88 Temple Trail

Hiking comes in different shapes in Japan. Let's start with the traditional pilgrimages and old imperial roads. These are popular with foreigners. The two months hike on Shikoku, passing 88 temples, is well known, as is the old highway between Kyoto and Tokyo, the Nakasendo Trail. Tour operators will offer their services like luggage transportation and hotel reservations.

But don't forget: the country has an extensive system of long distance trails, the so called Nature Trails, 自然歩道. Popular with Japanese, hardly known abroad, there are nine of them, totaling to 26.000 km. The system was an initiative of the central government dating from around 1970, with the purpose of providing a means for experiencing nature and culture in a healthy and safe manner. The prefectures are upkeeping the trails and providing hiking maps. Usually, the Japanese use Nature Trails for day trips, picking out sections, often around 15 km. These sections are situated in such a way that they can be reached by public transport. The different sections do not always form a continuous trail. On the contrary, in places the system looks more like a fragmented chromosome. Completing all the sections is an honorable goal, rewarded with a medal if proper proof is submitted to the prefecture. The trails are well marked, but mainly in Japanese of course. Hiking the Nature Trails is a perfect way to explore all the corners and backyards of the country, cities and mountains alike.

Nihyakumeizan

Mountain tramping is popular with the Japanese and foreign visitors. Main focus is reaching the top. The Japanese variant of peak bagging is very popular indeed: the 100 Famous Mountains - Hyukameizan 百名山. To check them all, and possibly fast, is a major achievement. Should you run out of mountains, there is always a list of 200 and even 300 famous mountains. Hiking maps are available in the larger bookstores (see below) Many mountain huts are at your service. Generally these are private huts, not cheap, but good, offering linen (blankets) and dinner. They might be crowded, but not full. The day starts early in these huts. Breakfast sometimes as early as 4.30 am and dinner at 5.00 pm.

Talking about accommodation, it's time to mention some other options for the night. The long distance hiker often uses the Minshuku, a kind of private accommodation, like B&B with often dinner included. Another popular choice is the Ryokan, the traditional Japanese hotel. Popular, especially on the pilgrimage ways, are the temple lodges, Shuboku, offering good value. In any case, do make reservations in advance! Your host will appreciate this very much. Remember dinner is normally included and will be prepared unless explicitly agreed otherwise.

A strategy guide for hiking in the mountains

If you are amidst the noise and chaos of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, it is hard to fancy how to ever get out into the countryside. Information in English on hiking in the Japanese mountains is scarce and the people around you will speak little if any English. So, how to get started ? Just try the following strategy:

  1. First, determine where you want to go, which island, which mountain area. Use Traildino for a rough idea, or consult the excellent Lonely Planet Guide for Hiking in Japan. The hikes described in the Lonely Planet are a small selection of the many possible trails in the mountains. Mountain areas have a network of trails, like in the European Alps.
  2. Now, buy the 1:50.000 map of the area of your choice. Best known are maps of Mapple (http://yamachizu.mapple.net/) and you will find them in the larger bookshops of the larger cities, who usually have the complete series on stock. Sometimes you can also find the 1:25.000 topographical maps, but even if they show more detail, they do not provide any specific hiking information.
  3. Run into the nearest Starbucks and relax while giving the map a thorough study. These maps are great: trails are marked, hiking times are indicated, huts are marked, difficult passages are indicated. Now, try to imagine your own multi day tramp.
  4. With this rough idea of your hike - your destination, the time you will spent there, your trailhead - you have to figure out how to get there, and get out in the end. The area overview on the back of the 1:50.000 maps will come in handy. Somebody has to help you now, and this somebody is of course the helpful Tourist Information Centre. You will find these great English speaking people in most cities, often also in a railway station, and they love to help you. Ask them how to get to your destination, whether there are any connecting buses, how much time the journey will take. If you need a stop halfway your starting point, the TIC is glad to arrange your hotel. Also ask them whether the huts are open (they will Google it for you) and maybe they will contact the first hut as well (always a good idea).
  5. Things can't go wrong now. So rush into the green ticket window of Japan Railways and buy your ticket. If there are more traveling options, the counterman will help you out.
  6. Last but not least: take lots of cash with you. You will spend more than 10.000 Yen (100 euro, 115 dollar) per person every day in the mountains, because the huts are expensive.
  7. Just some last advice. Compile a neat table for your own use. On the left side, write down your complete itinerary, including huts, lakes, mountains you will pass etc. On the right site, put down the same information in Japanese (that is: Kanji characters). You can do it using internet, copying and pasting the Japanese names into some text document. This list will come in handy if you need to ask someone the right way, if you want to explain where you're going or if you like to understand the signs on the trail. Once in the mountains, you will find all kind of brochures and information in the huts themselves, including opening times, ski lifts, etc. etc.

Strategy guide for Nature Trails

Hiking in the Japanes mountains is something you will be able to figure out in the end, because people will understand what you want. However, if you rather hike some parts of the Nature Trails system, information is harder to get. Basically, the problem is that foreigners never take these trails, and people will not understand your intentions. Nonetheless, the Nature Trails will be a fine alternative in winter and spring, when mountains are snow covered, or any time of the year if you like to become acquainted with a different Japan.

So, how to get started on the Nature Trails?

  1. It is pretty useless to inquire in bookshops or the Tourist Information Centre on these Nature Trails. The probability they will understand you, is low. A better idea is to make a print of the website of the Ministry of Environment on these nature trails (http://www.env.go.jp/nature/nats/shizenhodo). This makes communication much easier.
  2. Be aware that the maps of the Nature Trails are the responsibility of each individual Perfecture. So, if you want to hike near Tokyo, the place to find the maps is the administration of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
  3. But better not go there straight away. You run the risk that nobody will understand you. Better you find someone to help you contacting the Prefecture administration. And this someone of course is the Tourist Information Centre. Armed with the website printout, ask the TIC if they will contact the administration and ask for the department responsible for the Nature Trails and the publication of the maps. Most likely, this introduction will be sufficient to get entry to the right department and right person, who will collect the necessary maps for you.
  4. Since the maps are in Japanese only, you will need a good deal of fantasy to figure out what all the symbols mean, how to interpret the distances, how to recognise the waymarking. Part of the fun.
  5. But in the end, once you've got a basic visualisation of your hike, you will need help again. So return to the kind people of the TIC, and ask them to contact the hotels en route, and let them make reservations. It's unwise to just knock on the door of your night address on arrival, without notice.

We will be delighted to get feedback from you on this issue, to make this page even better.

Opinions

Rate 10.0 | 1 vote | No 1. in Asia
  • Muresco September 2011
  • Rate 10
  • Positive I liked the Variety , the people we met & the friendly nature of JApan
  • Negative September was very hot & at times wet.
More opinions…

Map

Japan North

Japan South

Trails

Regions

Mountains

Books

The Book Depository
United Kingdom
The Book Depository
United Kingdom
Kompass
Germany
  • MARCO POLO Reiseführer Japan
  • Kompakte Informationen, Insider-Tipps, Erlebnistouren und digitale Extras: Entdecken Sie mit MARCO POLO Japan intensiv von der Millionenmetropole Tokio bis zu den Tropenstränden auf Okinawa - mit dem MARCO POLO Reiseführer kommen Sie sofort in Japan an. Erfahren Sie, welche Highlights Sie neben dem heiligen Gipfel des Fuji und dem Friedenspark... Read more
Kompass
Germany
  • Lonely Planet Reiseführer Japan
  • Mit dem Lonely Planet Japan auf eigene Faust durch das Land der aufgehenden Sonne. Etliche Monate Recherche stecken im Kultreiseführerfür Individualreisende. Auf mehr als 900 Seiten geben die Autorensachkundige Hintergrundinfos zum Reiseland, liefern Tipps und Infos fürdie Planung der Reise, beschreiben alle interessanten Sehenswürdigkeitenmit... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • A Learning Curve
  • Do you enjoy reading about myths and legends, ancient cities, Asian culture and cuisine? A Learning Curve takes readers on an interesting series of adventures through Southeast Asia. With a carefully selected amalgam of different stories from the author's own amusing expeditions to tales of ancient history, famous travellers, and legends that... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • A Learning Curve
  • Do you enjoy reading about myths and legends, ancient cities, Asian culture and cuisine? A Learning Curve takes readers on an interesting series of adventures through Southeast Asia. With a carefully selected amalgam of different stories from the author's own amusing expeditions to tales of ancient history, famous travellers, and legends that... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Japan Outdoor Scenes 2015 Calendar - U.S.A. Version
  • A 2015 Calendar showing 12 photos of Japan Outdoor Scenery, primarily mountain scenery. This U.S.A. Version shows the National Holidays for the United States and is therefore designed for use in the U.S.A.Full Moon dates are shown for each month as a symbol similar to a "smiley". The full moon dates shown could be off by a day for your specific... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Japan Outdoor Scenes 2015 Calendar - U.S.A. Version
  • A 2015 Calendar showing 12 photos of Japan Outdoor Scenery, primarily mountain scenery. This U.S.A. Version shows the National Holidays for the United States and is therefore designed for use in the U.S.A.Full Moon dates are shown for each month as a symbol similar to a "smiley". The full moon dates shown could be off by a day for your specific... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2016
  • Reisgids ANWB Ontdek Japan | ANWB Media
  • Een nieuwe ANWB reisgids: deze titel is een vertaling van de Duitstalige Dumont reeks. Ze staan bekend als zeer degelijke en behoorlijk complete reisgisden in compact formaat met uitklapkaart. Met zowel veel achtergrondinformatie, maar ook veel tips over bezienswaardigheden en adressen voor bijvoorbeeld eten en drinken. Het boek is ook nog... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • My Son the Soccer Player
  • The Must-Have Book for Soccer Players, Coaches, Fans & Parents! Never before has there been a book that contained such “game changing” information. In “My Son the Soccer Player” you’ll find in-depth interviews filled with amazing advice and tips straight from the parents of the greatest soccer players in the world today. These parents have... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • My Son the Soccer Player
  • The Must-Have Book for Soccer Players, Coaches, Fans & Parents! Never before has there been a book that contained such “game changing” information. In “My Son the Soccer Player” you’ll find in-depth interviews filled with amazing advice and tips straight from the parents of the greatest soccer players in the world today. These parents have... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Reisgids Eyewitness Travel Tokyo | DK
  • Prachtig geillustreerde reisgids met o.a. 3D tekeningen, fraaie kaarten en geweldige foto’s. Daarnaast uitgebreide achtergrondbeschrijvingen. Echt om in de stemming te komen! Groot formaat gids. Engelstalig The DK Eyewitness Tokyo Travel Guide will lead you straight to the best attractions Tokyo has to offer. The guide includes unique cutaways,... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
2017
  • Lonely Planet Japan
  • #1 best-selling guide to Japan* Lonely PlanetJapan is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore a bamboo grove in Arashiyama, marvel at Shinto and Buddhist architecture in Kyoto, or relax in the hot springs of Noboribetsu Onsen; all with your trusted travel... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
2017
  • Lonely Planet Japan
  • #1 best-selling guide to Japan* Lonely PlanetJapan is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore a bamboo grove in Arashiyama, marvel at Shinto and Buddhist architecture in Kyoto, or relax in the hot springs of Noboribetsu Onsen; all with your trusted travel... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Reisgids Japan | Lonely Planet
  • De perfecte reisgids voor zowel de georganiseerde als de zelfstandige reiziger. Naast een algemene inleiding van het land / streek vol met praktische informatie over hoe je er het beste kunt reizen: slapen, eten, vervoer, excursies ... alles kun je er in vinden. Engelstalig. Lonely Planet Japan is a world apart - a cultural Galápagos where a... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • On The Romany Road
  • To Friends Who Endure Through Verses and Reverses My idle dreams the shadow-lace Upon the looms of day, That fairies dust with daffodils While shuttles play. The Romany Road Ho for the road-the Romany road . The road that lures away From heart 0 town To copse of brown Atoss with laurel spray. Bleak Winter wooes the Springtime December weds with... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • On The Romany Road
  • To Friends Who Endure Through Verses and Reverses My idle dreams the shadow-lace Upon the looms of day, That fairies dust with daffodils While shuttles play. The Romany Road Ho for the road-the Romany road . The road that lures away From heart 0 town To copse of brown Atoss with laurel spray. Bleak Winter wooes the Springtime December weds with... Read more
» Click to close
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2017
  • Reisgids The Monocle Travel Guide to Kyoto | Gestalten Verlag
  • Monocle reports from around the globe. As its Edited bys and correspondents dart from city to city, they get to know the best places to rest their heads, stretch their limbs, and kick back with a contact in a hard-to-find cocktail bar. That information is now available in The Monocle Travel Guide Series: a line-up of titles that speaks to... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2018
  • Reisgids City Guide Kyoto | Lonely Planet
  • De perfecte reisgids voor zowel de georganiseerde als de zelfstandige reiziger. Naast een algemene inleiding van de stad vol met praktische informatie over hoe je er het beste kunt reizen: slapen, eten, vervoer, excursies ... alles kun je er in vinden. Nu met pull-out map! Kyoto is old Japan writ large: atmospheric temples, sublime gardens,... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2018
  • Reisgids Japan (Engels) | Marco Polo
  • Handige en overzichtelijke, kleine reisgids voor een eerste kennismaking met Japan. Globale uitklapkaart achterin, makkelijk binnenzakformaat. Explore Japan with this handy, pocket-sized, authoritative guide, packed with Insider Tips. Discover boutique hotels, authentic restaurants, the country's trendiest places, and get tips on shopping and... Read more
More books…

Maps

Kompass
Germany
  • MARCO POLO Kontinentalkarte Japan, Korea 1:2 000 000
  • Entdecken Sie mit dieser MARCO POLO Karte das Land der Tradition und Moderne . . . Die Karten bestechen durch eine leicht lesbare, neue Kartografie, in der durchgängig landschaftlich schöne Strecken und Orte markiert sind. Schon in der im Kartendeckel befindlichen, ausklappbaren Übersichtskarte sind die schönsten Orte mit Highlightsternen... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
  • Wandelkaart Asahi - Dake, the heart of Daisetsuzan National Park | Gecko Maps
  • Recently, Japan welcomes rapidly increasing number of international tourists from all over the world. Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest mountain national park in Japan, located in the center of Hokkaido, northern part of Japan, is not the exception. There are increasing numbers of international tourists, hikers, climbers and skiers. On the... Read more
More maps…

Walking holidays

Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Kumano Kodo - Kyoto to Osaka Self Guided Walking Holiday
  • Self guided village to village walk on the Kumano Kodo trail to the Kumano shrines on the Kii Peninsula. Walk the 11th century Kumano Kodo pilgrim’s trail through rural Japan , staying overnight in traditional Japanese minshuku and ryokan. To complete your experience of Japan your trip begins with two nights in Kyoto, and finishes with a night... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Nakasendo Trail Self Guided Walking Holiday
  • Walk the Nakasendo Way through rural Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo. Walk The Nakasendo Trail, a route used since feudal times and part of a network of ancient highways which links Kyoto and Tokyo through the central mountains. This tour includes only the walking section of our longer Nakasendo Trail from Kyoto to Tokyo and starts on day 1 when... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail
  • Self guided walking on thhe Shikoku 88 Temple trail including time spent in the cities of Kyoto and Osaka. Walk the highlights of the 88 Temple pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku. Starting in Kyoto and ending in Osaka, this tour brings together the best of Japan; city life and peaceful rural walking. Follow trails to ancient Buddhist... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail Walk Only
  • Self guided walking on the Shikoku 88 Temple trail. Walk the highlights of the 88 Temple pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku. This tour includes only the walking section of our longer Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail itinerary. Catch the train/bus from Osaka or Kyoto to Tokushima, where your 5 day walk on Shikoku begins. Follow trails to... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Kumano Kodo Trail (Walk only) Self Guided Walking Holiday
  • Self guided village to village walk on the Kumano Kodo trail to the Kumano shrines on the Kii Peninsula. Walk the 11th century Kumano Kodo pilgrim’s trail through rural Japan to the three grand shrines of Kumano, staying overnight in traditional Japanese minshuku and ryokan. Perfect if you are making your own arrangements as part of a longer... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Nakasendo Trail, Tokyo, Kyoto, Mount Koya & Nara
  • Combine four days of walking along the Nakasendo Trail with time to explore Japans' highlights; vibrant Tokyo, ancient Nara, Mount Koya & Nara. Combine four days of walking along the Nakasendo Trail with time to explore Japans' highlights; vibrant Tokyo, ancient Nara, Mount Koya & Nara. You’ll discover the highlights of Japan over 11 days,... Read more
Macs Adventure
United Kingdom
  • Nakasendo Trail - Kyoto to Tokyo Self Guided Walking Holiday
  • Walk the Nakasendo Way through rural Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo. Walk the Nakasendo Way through rural Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo. A route used since feudal times the Nakasendo Trail, one of a network of ancient highways, linked Kyoto and Tokyo through the central mountains. Travellers would rest each night at juku - post towns - and today it is... Read more
Snp Wandelreizen
Netherlands
  • Japan - Kumano Kodo Wandelreis
  • Ruim duizend jaar lang maken Japanners de inspannende Kumano Kodo pelgrimage over het dunbevolkte, groene en bergachtige Kii schiereiland. De heiligdommen van Kumano zijn het doel van de pelgrims en de wegen daarnaartoe staan, net zoals de Camino naar Santiago de Compostela, op de UNESCO- Werelderfgoedlijst. Tijdens deze reis treden we in de... Read more
More walking holidays…

Forum

  1. Cancel
  • henson 2018-11-06 16:20:10
  • 購入高品質のリアル/偽のパスポート、運転免許証、ID カード、偽造銀行のメモ (Whatsapp: + 14703449379)
  • 購入高品質のリアル/偽のパスポート、運転免許証、ID カード、偽造銀行のメモ (Whatsapp: + 14703449379)

    籍を変えようとしているのですか?仕事の書類は必要ですか?旅行しますか?あなたはカントを持っている論文が必要ですか? はい、その後、適切なタイミングで適切な場所に我々は専門の IT 専門家や passpo などの高品質の本物と目新しさのドキュメントの生産に特化されているデータベース技術者の独立したグループですrts, ドライバのライセンス, id カード, 切手, ビザ, すべての国のための非常に高品質と他の製品の卒業証書: アメリカ, オーストラリア, 英国, ベルギー, ブラジル, カナダ, イタリア, フィンランド, フランス, ドイツ, イスラエル, メキシコ, オランダ, 南アフリカ, スペイン, スイス,.
    お問い合わせ一般的なサポート: 追加情報を取得し、注文だけで電子メール携帯電話を介してお問い合わせください。

    詳細についてはお問い合わせ: petersonhunt1@gmail.com
    Whatsapp: + 14703449379
    籐: karl5555
    KiK ID: karl5554

    我々の文書の13million 以上の世界を循環してマシン。
    -IDs のスキャン-はい...
    -ホログラム: 同一
    -バーコード: IDS のスキャン
    -UV: はい
    リアル & 偽の ID の高速配送と-電子メールのサポート

    詳細についてはお問い合わせ: petersonhunt1@gmail.com
    Whatsapp: + 14703449379
    籐: karl5555
    KiK ID: karl5554

    50以上の状態ドライバのライセンスカードと状態 ID
    カードをご利用いただけます。状態の運転免許証のホログラムおよび磁気ストリ
Cancel
More questions…