Mountaineering & Hiking/登山とハイキング

Japan's Amazing Mountaineering & Hiking

In Japan, a country where about 70% of the land is covered in forest, there are countless spots to enjoy mountain climbing and hiking. Majestic mountains, misty valleys, soaring skies, divine sunsets and sunrises, lovely flowers, and star-filled skies are sure to help you forget the stresses of day-to-day life. Unless you climb mountains regularly, we recommend hiking as the more carefree option. Many trails are much easier to complete than summiting a mountain, and even first-time hikers can feel reassured about engaging in this enjoyable outdoor activity because only minimal equipment is required.

What to Prepare for Mountaineering & Hiking

Clothing for mountaineering differs from your everyday wear. Clothing should be able to cope with extreme temperature fluctuation and long hours of walking. You should wear layers in order to adjust your body temperature and ensure that you dry quickly when wet from perspiration or rain. In addition to hiking shoes, a backpack, and rainwear, you will need to bring an ample supply of water and food. Other necessities will vary depending on your specific destination. Plan carefully and prepare accordingly. In the case of mountain climbing, you will need to submit a mountaineering application. The method of submitting this document differs by region, so be sure to check in advance.

In the case of hiking, the objective is not to climb a mountain but rather simply walk while appreciating the scenery. If the course is easy to walk with little elevation change, even those who don't hike regularly should find the experience enjoyable. Although you do not need as much equipment for hiking as you do for mountain climbing, you will be spending a lot of time in the wilderness, so be sure to wear clothes that are quick-drying and allow you to adjust your body temperature in case you get wet from perspiration or rain. Also, wear comfortable shoes, a well-fitting backpack, and be sure to bring rainwear and sufficient food and water if there are no stores or restaurants along the route.

Basic Rules & Etiquette for Mountaineering & Hiking

Climbing and hiking are safer when we show consideration toward our fellow lovers of the Great Outdoors. Here are some basic rules and etiquette bound to enhance your experience.

Basic rules and etiquette for hiking and climbing
- Greet when passing each other.
- Don't overtake too quickly.
- When passing on a trail, the person descending gives right of way to the person ascending.
- Don't litter.
- Don't collect flora.
- Don't touch or feed wild animals.
- Don't take even a pebble home with you.
- Don't cause rocks to fall.

In addition, please be sure to observe these common rules; do not enter prohibited areas, take a portable toilet as there may not be a restroom available, stay on wooden paths and pavements if provided, take extra care not to cause accidents, and do not be a nuisance to others by getting carried away taking pictures. Finally, remember that certain locations may have their own specific rules, therefore be sure to check in advance and observe them.

Recommendations for Mountaineering & Hiking in the Chubu Region


Mt. Chausu Plateau (Toyone Village, Kitashitara District)
Mt. Chausu Plateau is a plateau spreading out from Mt. Chausu, the highest mountain in Aichi Prefecture at 1415 meters above sea level, and Mt. Hagitaro at 1358 meters above sea level, located to Mt. Chausu's south. In the springtime, "Shiba-Zakura-no-Oka" (moss pink hill) bursts out in all its glory near the summit of Mt. Hagitaro, offering a spectacular scene made up of as many as 400,000 moss pinks in full bloom. In winter, Mt. Chausu Plateau transforms into Aichi Prefecture's one-and-only ski resort.


Mt. Fuji (Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures)
Mt. Fuji is Japan's tallest peak with an elevation exceeding 3,700 meters. This awe-inspiring mountain offers varying views of the Kanto Plain, Hakone, Izu, the Southern Alps, the Northern Alps, and the Yatsugatake Mountains depending on the angle at which you are standing. Watching the sunrise from the summit is a touching experience guaranteed to remain with you for life. While well worth the effort, those who wish to summit this majestic mountain must keep in mind that the oxygen level is about two-thirds compared to that of the plains, and the temperature drops by about 20°C. Altitude sickness can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms. If you plan to climb Mt. Fuji, make sure you are adequately equipped and plan accordingly. The "Fujinomiya Route" starts at the highest elevation and is characterized by a short distance to the summit, but there are many steep sections, and the ascending and descending routes are the same, so it can be crowded and difficult to walk. Also, you will spend the night at a lodge in a location suited to your fitness level, but it is advisable to make reservations in advance due to Mt. Fuji's overwhelming popularity.
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Kamikochi (Matsumoto City)
Kamikochi is a scenic area located approximately 1,500 meters above sea level in the upper reaches of the Azusa River in western Nagano Prefecture. Although 1.2 million people visit the area annually, much unspoiled nature remains, including Taisho Pond, which was created when Mt. Yaki erupted in 1915, Kappa Bridge, a suspension bridge symbolic of Kamikochi, and Myojin Pond, which is surrounded by coniferous trees and offers impressive scenery. It takes about one hour on foot from the Kamikochi Bus Terminal — the starting point of the tour — to Myojin Pond. You do not need to bring full-scale mountaineering gear to Kamikochi, so please just be sure to wear adequate clothing, and bring sufficient supplies and equipment to enjoy hiking safely.
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Mt. Norikura (Takayama City)
At 3,026 meters above sea level, Mt. Norikura's highest point, Kengamine, is Japan's 19th highest mountain located on the border of Gifu Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, near Matsumoto City. From the summit, you can see big-name mountains such as Mt. Yake, the Hotaka Mountains, and Mt. Yari. Mt. Norikura's starting point is at an elevation of 2,720 meters and is accessible by bus or taxi, so even first-time climbers can easily make the ascent. If you do not have time to climb to Kengamine or if you are with small children, try climbing Maōdake — a mere 15-minute climb one way. You can enjoy a spectacular view of the Northern Alps from here. During the summer season, there are many people waiting in line for the bus, so plan your descent well in advance.


Kumano Kodo (Shingu City, Tanabe City)
Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage route that has been followed by generations of Japanese since times of old. There are five routes: Nakahechi, Iseji, Kohechi, Kiiji, and Oheji. The routes range from relatively short and easy walks to more advanced routes over several mountains, and include many spiritual spots based on myths as well as scenic spots with spectacular views. The Iseji route is popular as it begins at Ise Jingu Shrine and heads to each of the three major shrines of Kumano Sanzan. There are many walking trails, but the Matsumoto Pass Road connecting Odomari and Kimoto in Kumano is paved with cobblestone along most of the route, and the 5-km stretch surrounded by bamboo forest is an easy walk for beginners.
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Mt. Ibuki (Maibara City)
Mt. Ibuki is located on the border of Sage and Gifu Prefectures and has long been revered as a sacred mountain. Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, spreads out to the west of Mt. Ibuki, and the observatory at the summit area offers a spectacular view of Takefu Island and the Hira Mountains beyond. There are several routes to Mt. Ibuki, the most popular being the Omote trail from the Sannomiya Shrine at the foot of the mountain. During the summer vacation season, a bus service runs from JR Maibara Station to the ninth station, so those who are not confident about their physical strength can take this route.


Ariso Trail (Sakai City)
Tojinbo is a famous sightseeing spot in Fukui Prefecture. Giant columnar rocks stretch along the coastline for a distance of around 1 kilometer, and the sight of the rugged waves of the Sea of Japan crashing against these sheer cliffs is bound to leave you in awe. Ariso Trail is an excellent hiking course where you can walk while admiring the cliffs of Tojinbo. It is a 4-kilometer walk from Komegawaki in Mikuni-cho, through Tojinbo to near Oshima, where you can enjoy the view of the powerful coast, the blue sea, thick black pine trees, Japanese wild radish flowers in early summer, and monuments of writers and artists associated with Mikuni. There is also a place where you can walk to the tip of the cliff and look down — a moment where anyone and everyone will be mesmerized by the force of nature. Don't forget, the sunset from Tojinbo is not to be missed.
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Hakusan (Hakusan City)
Located on the border between Ishikawa and Gifu Prefectures, Hakusan is known as one of Japan's three most famous mountains (on par with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tate). The highest peak in Hakusan, "Gozengamine" (Gozen Peak) is 2,702 meters above sea level, and the views of the famous peaks of the Northern Alps visible from its summit are nothing short of spectacular. Hakusan offers a variety of routes for both beginners and advanced climbers, and although it is possible to walk the mountain on a day trip, we recommend staying in a mountain lodge or tent for a longer hike. The "sunrise," when the sun emerges from the sea of clouds, is a poignant sight as the morning sun shines in all its divine glory. If you want to see this special sunrise, stay at a lodge in Murodo and bring a headlamp and warm clothes in addition to the usual mountaineering gear.


Murodo (Tateyama Town, Nakashinagawa County)
Murodo is located 2,450 meters above sea level on the Tateyama Mountain Range in the northern part of the Northern Alps. It is a waypoint along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, and is the best vantage point from which to view the Tateyama Mountain Range. It takes about one hour from Tateyama Station by cable car and Kogen Bus to reach Murodo, where visitors can make the most of the many tourist facilities such as inns, stores, restaurants, and hot springs. A well-maintained walking trail from the Murodo Terminal to Midagahara, a precious wetland registered under the Ramsar Convention, allows even beginner hikers to enjoy the challenge. As the altitude is over 2,000 m, be sure to wear appropriate seasonal clothing and prepare your belongings and equipment for the hike.
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Nagoya Travel Guide