Even though Japan is better known for the technology and its traditional culture, there are also a couple of good hiking spots for those of you who love adventure. There are more than 60 percent of volcanic mountain which is covered by volcanic peaks and snow summits. These mountains have the religious story behind them. Japan has naturally built a hiking culture because of the advantages that its geography has. If you are looking for long treks which have taken a couple of days or you are looking easy treks from the city, Japan offers a couple of good hiking spots through a couple of different set of difficulty levels and climates.
Good Places To Go Hiking: Shikoku Henro
This an important place for those of you who have an interest about the religion and tradition in Japanese culture. You will get the best experience when you hike this mountain because it offers spiritual and physical journey. You will have to take a couple of time in the smallest main island on Japan. If you want to challenge the whole route, you will have to hike for more than 1000 km. It can be done in just a couple of months, but most of experienced hikers take not less than two. You can use public transportation in order to cut out a couple of parts and skip a couple of temples.
This is another best route which is highly rated that a couple of temples have been claimed by World Heritage List of UNESCO. There are three main routes that you have to take. Those three routes are challenging but you will get the reward once you finish the challenge.
This one of the famous mountains in the world that you will not disappointed to go there. This is the most iconic peak in Japan that you will not miss if you go to Japan. The height of the mountain is 3776, which is popular for sometime being capped with a snow dust that is not perfect condition for hikers. You have to keep in mind that Mount Fuji is opened for trekking between July and mid-September. You can tackle Fuji in a day trip even though sickness can be a problem even when you take the trip an overnight in the place, so it is perfect for you to take care of your body.
The most impressive mountain in Honshu has the beautiful scenery which comes from the dramatic Japan Alps. This is one of the best place to go hiking in Japan. There are a couple of options that you can take in order to go there. You can use the valley for your starting point. The route of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine uses public transportation and walking in order to cover a couple of views in the Alps.
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Some people consider hikes in Japan as an interesting end exciting thing to do. It could just be hiking in other parts of the world while at the same time it is not like that at all. Different regional elements and factors alongside different culture and habit are amidst some of the things that affect someone’s experience when hiking in Japan. So, just before you decided to go hiking in Japan, get through this following list of things to know.
Many Over-Prepared Hikers
It is common that you will see many other hikers go on in a state that can be considered to be over-prepared. Imagine going on a hike during a time of the year that is a transition from winter to summer. You have considered everything else properly first and then decided to go on a somewhat summer hiking outfit. On site you will highly possible to find other hikers in a fully loaded outfit for winter hiking. Soon enough you will find out that you have done the right thing by wearing summer hiking outfit since the snow has gone. That happens as well during the transition to winter in which hikers will already be wearing winter typhoon hiking outfit.
Beware of Bear Bells
Despite the fact that the infamous Asian black bear can be found in some hiking sites in Japan, every hiker has a bear bell. It is said that the area of Shikoku, Kyushu, and Honshu are the areas where the black bear can be found. Meanwhile the so-called Ussuri bear is said to be located at Hokkaido. In a year it is less than one death in terms of the average of hiker mauled and eaten by those mentioned bears. So, just be sure not to get too terrified when you hear the jingling sound of bear bells within the area. It has become a kind of hiking accessory in many ways.
Giant Hornet to be Afraid of
Bear is not the one to be afraid of when hiking in Japan but giant hornet is. In terms of the size, this so-called giant hornet can be up to 4.5 cm long and 6 cm wide while opening the wings. That does not seem to be a big size but try to imagine the size of a normal or common hornet around you. That is just the size. The strength of the giant hornet is no kidding. About 30 giant hornets can easily wipe out 30.000 in its hive within 3 hours. In short, the number is between 30 and 40 people of people killed by giant hornets. So, that is something to be afraid of when it comes to hikes in Japan.
Hikers Yield to Rest
There is a code of conduct between hikers that those moving down should yield or simply step aside to give way for those moving up. Well, the thing is in Japan mostly hikers will do it as fast as they could once they saw other hikers in front of them. So, regardless the fact that they are going up or down, they will yield once they see someone closing in.
Expensive Footwear Around
It is common for employees at mountain huts in hiking spots in Japan to tell you that you do not have the required spec of footwear to go hiking there. Basically, if you are not wearing boots, that message will be delivered to you. That is amidst the reasons that many hikers in Japan are actually wearing almost identical boots. They are considerably expensive as well. It is possible that they were just taking that message of the mountain huts employees seriously and get new pair of expensive boot first before start hiking.
Mountain Lodges are Hotels
How do you imagine a mountain lodge? Is it a terrible wooden based building that can only be functioned to rest? Well, in Japan the so-called mountain lodges are considerably hotels. The lodges are not just the place to rest and refill their water bottle. The rather expensive lodges provide anything from expensive souvenirs, beverages, internet connection, fresh meals, flushing toilets, and they accept cards as payment method. Can you imagine that kind of mountain lodge?
In some hiking sites around Japan there are vending machines that you can actually found along the trails. Pacific Crest Trail is amidst the trail of hiking in Japan that offers a vending machine in its trail. Clearly with the previously mentioned hotel-like mountain lodges and now vending machine within the hiking trials, hiking in Japan is somewhat luxurious.
Enjoy the Onsen
There is a place called onsen in Japan in which it refers to a fresh hot spring. It is available in many cities but the most enjoyable and refreshing ones are those found in hiking spots. Once you are descending the mountain you should look for one onsen and make the most of it. You can enjoy the freshness of air and hot spring there while enjoying the view of the mountain at the same time. You just have to bring a new set of clothes to get changed afterwards.
Learn and Understand some Kanji Characters
It is important that you learn to understand some characters of Kanji. You should start from those basic elements you need such as direction and names of areas within your choice of hiking spots in Japan. You can write them down on a piece of paper along with the Romanization. Terms like rivers, valleys, and mountains are important as well so that you will be able to at least read and understand some messages and signs around the hiking spots.
Those are the 9 things that you should know first before going to hike in Japan. The hiking probably will just be the same as in other areas though. Yet, certain things make it quite different as mentioned before. The thing is that hikes in Japan could be fun and enjoyable as long as you prepared well and keep those things in mind.