5 Of The Best Multi Day Hikes in Japan
Japan is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and rich culture, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and trekkers. With its towering mountains, pristine forests, and sparkling lakes, Japan offers a wealth of multi-day trekking opportunities that will satisfy even the most seasoned hikers. Whether you’re looking for a challenging ascent or a leisurely stroll, you’ll find what you’re after in Japan. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top five multi-day treks in Japan.
- The Mount Fuji Trek
Mount Fuji, the tallest and most iconic mountain in Japan, is a popular destination for trekkers from all over the world. The trek to the summit of Mount Fuji takes around two days and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. With its well-maintained trails, rest stations, and scenic vistas, the Mount Fuji Trek is an ideal trek for those who are looking for a challenging and rewarding experience. The trek can be completed between July and September, when the weather is mild and the trails are clear of snow.
The Mount Fuji trek can be completed in a single day for experienced and physically fit hikers, although some trekkers choose to hike over two days, spending the night at one of the mountain's huts or lodges.
A two-day hike allows for a more relaxed pace and gives trekkers the chance to acclimatize to the altitude, as well as to take in the views and enjoy the mountain's natural beauty. It also offers a safer option, as the weather on Mount Fuji can be unpredictable, and starting the hike early and allowing for extra time can reduce the risk of being caught in inclement weather on the mountain.
However, a two-day hike also requires more planning and preparation, including booking accommodation in advance, as the huts and lodges can fill up quickly during peak season. It also requires carrying additional gear and supplies, including a sleeping bag and food.
Ultimately, the choice of whether to hike Mount Fuji in one day or two days will depend on individual circumstances, including fitness levels, experience, and preferences.
The Mount Fuji trek is a popular and challenging hike in Japan, with the following key statistics:
- Distance: The typical round trip from the 5th Station to the summit and back is approximately 20-22 km (12-14 miles), depending on the starting point and route.
- Elevation Gain: The hike has a significant elevation gain, with the summit standing at 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) above sea level. The total elevation gain is around 1,200 meters (3,937 feet).
- Duration: The typical round trip hike takes anywhere from 7 to 10 hours, depending on the pace of the hiker and trail conditions. Most hikers start the hike early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
- Difficulty: The Mount Fuji trek is considered a challenging hike, with steep and rocky terrain, as well as thin air at high altitude. It's important to be in good physical condition and to have proper gear, including sturdy hiking shoes, warm clothing, and enough food and water for the journey.
- Best Time to Hike: The official climbing season for Mount Fuji is from July to September, when the trails are open and weather conditions are generally favorable. However, the weather on the mountain can be unpredictable and can change quickly, so it's important to check the conditions before starting the hike.
2. The Nakasendo Way
The Nakasendo Way is a historic trail that winds its way through the Japanese Alps and was once used by feudal lords and their retainers during the Edo period. The trail is a network of ancient trade routes that connect the former capital of Kyoto with Tokyo, and it passes through the scenic Kiso Valley and the Nagano prefecture.
Today, it offers trekkers a chance to experience the rural heart of Japan and to discover its hidden temples, post towns, and remote mountain hamlets. The trek runs for around 330 km and can be completed in around 10 to 14 days, with numerous options for overnight stays along the way. However most travelers opt for the 5 day shorter vision, hitting the highlights.
The trail is relatively easy to hike, with mostly gentle gradients and well-maintained paths. It's suitable for a wide range of trekkers, from first-timers to experienced hikers. Along the way, you'll pass through charming post towns, traditional inns, and rural villages, offering a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Japan.
One of the highlights of the Nakasendo Way trail is the post towns, which were once used as rest stops for travelers. Today, these towns have been preserved, and they offer a unique glimpse into the past, with well-preserved merchant houses, traditional inns, and shrines. The trail also offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including lush forests, rolling hills, and pristine lakes.
Another highlight of the Nakasendo Way trail is the opportunity to sample traditional Japanese cuisine, including dishes such as soba noodles and miso soup. The trail also passes by several hot springs, known as onsen in Japan, offering trekkers the chance to soak in the warm waters and relax after a day of hiking.
Hiking the Nakasendo Way trail is a unique and memorable experience that offers a glimpse into the traditional rural life of Japan. With its scenic views, cultural heritage, and serene atmosphere, the Nakasendo Way is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty and culture of Japan.
- The Kumano Kodo
Hiking the Kumano Kodo trail in Japan is an unforgettable experience that takes you through the heart of rural Japan and offers a unique blend of cultural and natural beauty. The trail is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that lead to the sacred Kumano Sanzan shrines in the southern part of the Kii Peninsula. It's dotted with hot springs, shrines, and temples and is a great way to experience a side of Japan that is often overlooked by tourists.
The trail itself is a mix of well-maintained paths, rocky terrain, and steep gradients, so it is best suited to experienced trekkers who are looking for a challenging adventure. With its remote mountain passes, the trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including lush forests, rolling hills, and tranquil lakes.
The trek runs for around 165 km and can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to complete the entire length of the trail. However most travelers opt for the 6 day shorter vision, hitting the highlights. With its steep gradients, rocky terrain, and remote mountain passes, the Kumano Kodo is best suited to experienced trekkers who are looking for a challenging adventure.
One of the highlights of the Kumano Kodo trail is its hot springs, known as onsen in Japan. After a day of strenuous hiking, soaking in an onsen is a great way to relax and recharge for the next day's journey. The trail also passes by several shrines and temples, offering trekkers the opportunity to experience a unique blend of cultural and natural beauty.
Overall, the Kumano Kodo trail is a great way to experience the heart of rural Japan and offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With its scenic views, cultural heritage, and serene atmosphere, the Kumano Kodo trail is a great destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty and culture of Japan.
- The Shikoku Trek
The Shikoku Trek (also known as the - 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail) is a multi-day hiking trail that runs through the Shikoku region of Japan and is considered one of the most challenging and rewarding treks in the country. The entire trail covers over 1,200 km (746 miles) and takes around 40-50 days to complete, passing through rugged mountain ranges, remote forests, and scenic villages. Travelers opt for the 8 day version of the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Trail, which can be booked guided or self guided.
The Shikoku Trek offers a unique and immersive experience, as it takes trekkers through some of the most remote and scenic areas in Japan. The trail offers a range of landscapes, from rolling hills and lush forests to steep mountain passes and rugged coastline. Along the way, trekkers can encounter ancient temples, traditional villages, and hot springs, providing a glimpse into the rich culture and history of the region.
The Shikoku Trek is considered a challenging hike, with steep and strenuous sections, as well as remote and rugged terrain. It's important to be in good physical condition and to have proper gear, including sturdy hiking shoes, warm clothing, and enough food and water for the journey.
The trail is well-marked and well-maintained, with accommodation options ranging from traditional inns and lodges to camping sites. Trekkers can choose to hike the entire trail or just a portion of it, depending on their time and physical ability.
- The Nara Ancient Capitals Trail
The Nara Ancient Capitals Trail is a scenic trek that takes you through the heart of Japan's ancient capital city, Nara, and offers a glimpse into the country's rich cultural and historical heritage. With its lush forests, serene temples, and charming old towns, the Nara Ancient Capitals Trail is an ideal trek for those who are looking for a more leisurely and culturally rich experience. The trail runs for around 35 km and can be completed in around 2 to 3 days, with numerous options for overnight stays along the way.
Japan is a trekker’s paradise and offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for a challenging hike to the summit of Fuji, or an easier walk immersed in culture and food, Japan has it all.