Photo: GaijinPot

5 incredible mountains to hike in Japan


Mountain Day is a holiday for the sole purpose of giving you time to appreciate Japan’s mountains. What better way to celebrate the occasion than a hike up some of the best that the country has to offer?

Of course, there’s Mt. Fuji, but to only have climbed Fuji during your time in Japan is a shame. Hundreds of other peaks provide drop-dead gorgeous views, are more accessible and are located just around the corner from wherever you are—no matter what prefecture you’re in. Let’s start with five of them.

Here are five incredible mountains to hike in Japan.

1. Mount Shibutsu, Gunma

Mt Shibutsu Gunma

If you’re up for a picturesque and challenging hike, head to Mt. Shibutsu, just a few hours from Tokyo. Shibutsu, which is perennially on lists of the “100 best mountains in Japan,” is located within Oze National Park in Gunma Prefecture.

A nature retreat in the Kanto region, Oze is covered in preserved marshland areas with crystal-clear streams and wooden walking paths. You could go to Oze for a light hike, but the nearly 400-kilometer park also includes several other peaks. Stay in a nearby mountain inn and get an early start to your hike, but bring plenty of water as it can take up to five hours.

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Sadly, none of the "incredible" mountains listed include any in Shikoku, which is what the title cover photo for this article is showing.

Yes, that mountain in the main pic is of Mt Nishikumori 東黒森 on the border of Ehime and Kochi prefectures (I have a similar picture from when I went, which why I recognized it).

It is along the "UFO line" road which is a stunning road that swerves along the ridge line between the peaks and full of views. Awesome to both drive and bike, and way more "incredible" than a couple of the spots listed.

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Sorry, its Mt Nishikuromori.

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A bit of a meh selection. For a superlative like "incredible", I would recommend getting above tree line into something rocky and otherworldly. Like the Northern and Southern Alps. Not fighting crowds on Mt. Takao.

For full points, stay on the mountain for the sunset and sunrise. All mountains get sunrises, not just Mt. Fuji. If you are in an actual mountain range, the sunrise will light up the surrounding mountains in pinks and oranges, something you don't get on a large volcano.

Shikoku is far from me, but I've wanted to cycle along the UFO line ever since it was on that Corolla commercial.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mt Takao is only a crowded hill, nothing more. And I second kohakuebisu, spend a night out hiking up there for an incredible experience ( I did a Yatsugatake range traverse south to north last year). The sunset can be beautiful with pink clouds turning red, than dark. But even better is the hour before sunrise: darkness turns to light and the birds start to sing, ending the long, quiet, darkness of the night

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