In such a mountainous country, hiking is the natural choice of outdoor activities for visitors to Japan. Hiking the endless mountain ranges is a fantastic way to appreciate the country's true beauty - from the changing seasons (autumnal leaves and cherry blossom trees) through to the hospitality of the people in the rural prefectures.
Every year in July and August, thousands of Japanese and international visitors alike make the climb to the top of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest and most revered mountain. From hiking the picturesque trails of UNESCO World Heritage listed Yakushima in Kagoshima prefecture, through to the Japan Alps in Nagano, there is no shortage of mountains to conquer nor trails to follow.
If it is a religious pilgrimage you are interested in, there are 88 Buddhist temples that form part of a 40 day hike around Shikoku Island. Or travel to the spiritual Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, a set of World Heritage listed trails around Wakayama prefecture. The tranquil ambience will carry you away to another world.
Where to go:
Japan’s Mountains & Highlands
Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail
Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route
Recommended guidebook: “Hiking in Japan” published by Lonely Planet