All About Hiking in Japan: Travel Guide
Hiking is a daunting task enjoyed by enthusiasts around the world. Hiking enthusiasts enjoy traveling around the world seeking the thrill of a new trail. Japan has many trails and mountains that will live up to the expectations of the seasoned hiker, as well as introduce beginners to the joys of hiking. If you are to truly immerse yourself in the hike, the experience will definitely change your perspective on the country's history and culture, which combined with the Japanese landscape, can be an awe-inspiring experience.
Here are a few tips for those thinking of climbing the trails of Japan. It would be ideal if you dress light and wear proper hiking shoes. Of course, if the weather is cold then layer up. There are not just extreme high peaks and low points in the mountain. There are also tricky rocks and precipices, which may cause you to slip. Also, do not ever forget to bring something to drink and eat with you. This will help you feel revived along the course. Although, some trails have replenishment booths along the routes. Always have a map of the trail with you! Also, make sure that you know what you are getting into. It is best for you to research some details about the hike before proceeding. You should know what the weather will be like during your hike so that you can plan your clothes accordingly. You should also know the difficulty level of the trail so you know if you are apt to take the trail. Lastly, you should know the terrain of the trail whether it is forested, rocky, or if it is full of acres of marshlands and grassland. Gather all the information you can get before hiking!
Hiking in the Trails of Okutama Tokyo
If you are in Tokyo and would want to take a day off from the city to go hiking, Okutama is the best place for a hike near the city! Okutama is mountainous on the west side of Tokyo Nishitama District. To get to Okutama, you would just need to take a 75-minute train ride from Shinjuku station, which is the ultimate shopping destination of Japan, to Ome station of the JR Chuo line and then a 45-minute train ride from Ome station to Okutama station of the JR Ome line.
In Okutama, you can make the most out of its rich nature. You will see a lake, valleys and limestone caverns. There are also various activities you can do aside from hiking; you can go cycling, rafting, and canoeing in Okutama as well. All of these activities are easily available for a certain fee. For example, a cycling tour in Okutama would cost around 8,500 to 9,000 yen. The package includes rental of a bike, helmet, insurance, English speaking tour guide, and tours to in breathtaking mountains, rivers, and various trails of the area. To cap it all of, your day will end in a relaxing trip to an onsen. How amazing is that? The other activities such as rafting and canoeing have package offers as well. Below are some of the hiking spots of Okutama Japan:
The Tamagawa River
Tamagawa river is definitely a piece of nature in the heart of Tokyo. This river separates Tokyo prefecture from Kanagawa prefecture. It is best to visit Tamagawa river during spring time and get impressive views of cherry blossoms.
Lake Okutama is beautiful! Strolling the entire lake, despite the fact that it is very little, would take a day or two because of its irregular shape – long and with heaps of gulfs and valleys. The hiking here in Lake Okutama is very easy, thus making it advisable for beginners. There are also pathways, which are big enough for cars. So if you get tired, you can easily opt to ride a vehicle instead. There is also a nice floating bridge made up of oil drums in the middle of the trail. But this is not accessible during drought season. It is suggested for visitors to go in lake Okutama during summer or autumn season when all the beautiful colors are out! To get to Lake Okutama from Okutama station, ride a bus to Lake Okutama bus stop.
Mount Mitake is one of the many beautiful destinations to go to in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, which covers more than a thousand square kilometers of forested mountains, slopes, canyons and some provincial towns in the prefectures of Yamanashi, Saitama, Nagano and Tokyo. Other than a famous shrine, Mount Mitake offers different strolling and climbing openings in pure nature.
Hiking in Kamakura Japan: Explore the Medieval Political Core in Japan
Kamakura Japan is also a hiking place of medium distance to Tokyo. You have three options to get to Kamakura from Tokyo. Taking the train through JR Yokosuka Line will get you to Kamakura in less than an hour. This is the fastest way to get to Kamakura from Tokyo. You may also opt to take JR Shonan Shinjuku Line for one hour from Shinjuku station to Kamakura or you may avail of the Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass. It is most practical to get the Enonshima Kamakura Free Pass because it includes round trip train passes from Shinjuku to Kamakura via the Odakyu Railway plus it also serves as an unlimited pass to the Enoden line, which is one of the main transport to get around the Kamakura area. Below are some of the hiking trails in Kamakura Japan:
Daibutsu Hiking Trail
A short hike will take you from Kita-Kamakura Station to the Great Buddha. There is a bunch of fascinating shrines to see in transit and a substantial park where you can have a cookout lunch. A pleasant other option to the swarmed vacationer regions in Kamakura. From Kita-Kamakura Station, take the southwest exit and take off to the main street. In fact, you can actually access the Engakuji Temple, which is part of Kamakura's top Zen temples, from the station. Proceeding on the west side of the tracks, take a left and continue walking straight for a few minutes. You will pass Shokozan-Tokeiji Temple on your right. This used to be an abbey that was additionally a haven for ladies looking for a separation. Grounds incorporate a garden and Treasure house, and the passage through is a 100 yen. An additional 5 minutes along the street, and you will see Jochiji Temple. Jochiji Temple is the trailhead of the Daibutsu hiking trail. It will take you around an hour to three hours to finish the trail. As you go along the course, you will see Kotoku-In and The Great Buddha.
Tenen Hiking Trail
There are a few climbing courses in Kamakura, a city encompassed by mountains and the ocean. On the off chance that you are the sort of individual who does not want to hike the same course because you have traveled to Kamakura before and you think you would love to get the chance to explore new territory, then this course is ideal for you! You may opt to start your hike in Kencho-ji Temple or in Zuisen-ji Temple.
Gionyama Hiking Trail
The Gionyama Hiking Course interfaces Myohonji Temple, Yagumo Shrine and the Harakiri Yagura, a tomb where the remaining parts of the last Hojo official are buried. Some decent viewed of the city can be experienced in this trail. This trail is comparatively shorter than Daibutsu Hiking Trail and Tenen Hiking Trail.
Hiking in the Charming Chichibu Japan of Western Saitama
Chichibu, which is located in the western area of the Saitama prefecture, is one of the best places to experience the perfect unison of the history of Japan and the natural landscapes that it has to offer. The area is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range as well as many large rock beds. With its long history as a trading center for silk fabrics as well as the presence of shrines, well over a thousand years old, gives this area a spectacular hiking trail for any enthusiast! The best trails are located within the town of Nagatoro, located to the north of Chichibu city. The entire town has been designated as a national park and the government has done a stupendous job of keeping the natural landscapes intact. Going through the trails in this park might be considered easy by the seasoned hiker, but it offers views that will be appreciated by anyone. Hiking in this region will revolve around going about the Ara-kawa river, which evidently will also lead you back into town as it rounds the center of it. One will definitely not have any difficulty in finding their way back home. Another naturally formed landmark that is eagerly visited is the five-kilometer long rock bed that is a few minutes walk from the river bank near Chichibu station.
Hiking in Oze Japan: One of the Country’s Highest Marshland
Oze national park is another famous hiking destination in Japan as it is just shy of 150 kilometers away from Tokyo city. The two most known features of this park are the Ozegahara Marshland and the Ozenuma Pond. Most of the trails present in this park will lead you towards the two features. The trails in this park are also well known in Japan for the importance of maintaining safety and the quality of them.
The Ozegahara Marshland is filled with numerous small bodies of water. This area, which is about six kilometers long and one kilometer wide, is set between the Shibutusan and Hiuchigatake mountains. Going to the eastern part of the Ozegahara Marshland will lead you to the Ozenuma Pond. A six-kilometer path allows trail-goers to circle the pond and bask in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. The full trails can be done in about six to eight hours without any difficult inclines present and will allow you to see most of the must visit areas of the park. The best trail in the park is by far the hatomachitoge trail as it is long enough to be fun and goes through all the features of the park.
Japan Hiking Tour: A Map to Long Distance Hiking in the Country
For those looking for the best areas for long distance hiking, you need not pay for a map of hiking in Japan nor a travel agent. These areas are considered to be the best trails in the island country.
Starting off with the biggest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji in the Shizuoka prefecture will leave you breathless with the natural wonders it holds and the difficulty of the trails it contains. Altitude sickness is a common problem for hikers here, so it was recently recommended by many to split the hike into two days. It contains four trails and is easily accessible from Tokyo City.
Mount Hiei, located near the metropolitan city of Kyoto, is also considered one of the best places to hike in the country. The mountain is 850 m above sea level and is well known for the wildlife that people encounter along the trails. Trail-goers will experience the company of hiking up with monkeys and tanukis, a type of Racoon native to Japan as they are present on every road in the area.
Shiretoko, in the Hokkaido region, is the last area in the list that is recommended for long distance hiking. The thing that sets the trails here apart from the rest is the presence of the rare Japanese brown bear. Hikers that choose to go through these trails often wear cowbells to ward them off.
Difficulty Level of Japan’s Hiking Trails
Just like any other trails in other countries, there are also different difficulty levels in Japan’s hiking trails. There are easy ones with fewer ups and downs and there are difficult ones that are only open to seasoned hikers. But there are places that welcome hikers in all experience levels such as Kita Alps where Japan’s third highest peak is located. You will never go wrong in visiting this place.
If you are a beginner, do not hike at night and do not hike solo as you would need support from a group as a newbie.
Never forget to always be alert and safe during hiking trails regardless if the trail is easy or not.
Japan offers a lot of hiking trails all year round that for sure won’t disappoint. Happy Hiking in Japan!