If you’re planning a vacation to Japan you should plan on visiting some of the amazing mountains in Japan. There are more than 100 famous mountains in Japan where tourists can marvel at the beauty of the Japanese landscape. The mountains in Japan are great for hikers who want to challenge their abilities or just say that they have attempted to do some of the most famous hikes in Japan. Getting to most of the mountains in Japan is easy too because there is plenty of public transportation.
10 Amazing Mountains In Japan
It’s a good idea to practice your hiking skills on some mountains in the United States before you try hiking the mountains in Japan. And if you’re not certain that your hiking ability is going to be good enough to get you up the mountains in Japan you can always hire a local guide. Local hiking guides and travel guides can give you a lot of interesting and valuable information about the mountains in Japan as you hike them. Some of the most amazing mountains in Japan that everyone should visit are:
Located in: Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Height: 12,388 feet
Nearby City: Tokyo
Known For: Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. When people think about Japan they usually envision Mount Fuji. But, Mount Fuji isn’t just one mountain. It’s actually three separate volcanoes that together form one massive mountain. It’s still an active volcano even though it hasn’t erupted since the 1700s.
Mount Fuji can only be climbed during two months of the year because of the weather in Japan. More than 300,000 people travel to Japan in July and August each year to climb Mount Fuji. Because this is one of the most popular mountains in Japan and there are so many people trying to climb it in a short period of time there are four trails to the peak.
Every one of the trails that you can take to the peak of Mount Fuji has thoughtfully placed rest areas where you can get a drink, have a snack, and rest if you need to. It’s strongly recommended that people who aren’t experienced hikers stick to the Yoshidaguchi Trail, which is the easiest trail to the summit of Mount Fuji.
Located in: Shizuoka Prefecture
Height: 10,476 feet
Nearby City: Hirogawara
Known For: Mount Kita is the second tallest of all the mountains in Japan. It’s part of the Southern Japan Alps mountains. Many serious hikers who don’t like fighting the crowds at Mount Fuji choose to hike Mount Kita instead. And if you hike Mount Kita you will actually get one of the best possible views of Mount Fuji. Mount Kita is a little rougher terrain than Mount Fuji but if you’re an experience hiker that shouldn’t bother you too much. It takes most hikers 2-3 days to hike Mount Kita, but it can take longer if you’re not in great physical condition. Because the terrain can be rough hikers should bring equipment like hiking poles if that helps them get over rough ground. It’s also helpful to have a local guide that will make sure you get up to the peak safely.
Located in: Chūbu-Sangaku National Park
Height: 10,466 feet
Nearby City: Matsumoto
Known For: Mount Hotaka is the third largest mountain in Japan. It’s also the largest mountain in the North Alps chain of mountains in Japan. Getting to the trailhead of Mount Hotaka is fairly easy because there are trains and buses that will take hikers almost to the trailhead. From base of the mountain it’s just a short walk to get one of the trails that will lead to the summit.
You can expect a lot of company on your journey to the summit. During the summer months especially hikers come to the North Alps in droves. It will take a couple of days to get to the summit. However, just like on Mount Fuji you will find carefully spaced rest cabins that are staffed with people. You can rest, buy water and snacks, and get ready to keep going.
Located in: Chūbu region
Height: 10,062 feet
Nearby City: Kiso
Known For: Mount Ontake is regarded as a sacred mountain. The primary trail to hike to the top is the Kurosawa Trail. It’s not a difficult trail, but you may want to take your time climbing the mountain so that you can stop at each of the religious shrines and huts that you’ll see as you travel up the mountain.
Ontake is a volcanic mountain that last erupted in 2014. Many people were killed, and since then the Japanese government has limited access to the summit of the mountain. Depending on what time of the year you visit Mount Ontake you may or may not be able to hike to the summit. If there are a lot of hikers the summit may be closed to protect everyone’s health and safety and to protect the sanctity of the site.
If you have the time to spare it’s worth stopping to talk with some of the Buddhist monks that you will encounter during your hike. They have some interesting stories about the mountain’s history and religious significance.
Located in: Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Height: 9,997 feet
Nearby City: Lido
Known For: Mount Shiomi is one of the more challenging mounts in Japan to hike. The path to the summit is a 17 mile out and back trek. Most people need at least two days to complete the hike to the summit. The summit itself is a helmet shaped dome on top of a mountain filled with the rich greenery and flora of the Alps. If you start at the Torikura Trailhead at the base of the mountain that trail will take you all the way to the top. Hikers can attempt to make this hike anytime between June and October but this mountain isn’t accessible in the winter months.
Located in: Toyama prefecture
Height: 9,892 feet
Nearby City: Hokuto
Known For: Mount Tate is one of the three holy mountains in Japan that are considered sacred. It’s not a difficult mountain to climb but there are almost always crowds of people on this mountain. Especially if you visit Mount Tate on a holiday be prepared for many people on the trail with you.
The most difficult part of the climb to the top of Mount Tate is at Chinokoshi, where you are faced with a very steep climb up loose rocks. You may need to do some rock scrambling to get up to the next resting point on the ascent. If you get up over the rocks it’s just a very short walk from there to Sannokoshi, which is a flat rest area.
There are small shrines all the way up Mount Tate. It’s very interesting to stop and look at the inscriptions at each religious shrine and learn more about the religion. There may also be Buddhist monks at some of the shrines who will talk to you about the importance of the shrines.
Whether or not there is a monk depends entirely on the day so there’s way to tell if you will encounter one or not. If you make it to the summit of Mount Tate you can pay the monk at the shrine on the top of the sacred mountain for a cleansing.
Located in: Minami Alps National Park
Height: 9,734 feet
Nearby City: Hokuto
Known For: Mount Kaikoma is known for its unique peaked ridgeline which people can hike across and for the number of people that hike here during the year. It’s one of the easier mountains in Japan to hike so people who don’t have a lot of mountain hiking or mountain climbing experience can do well on this hike. The trail to the summit is pretty easy and it doesn’t take that long to get to the summit. An experienced hiker can get to the summit in a day. The best trail to take for people who want to reach the summit in the easiest way possible is to take the Kitazawa Pass on Minami Alps Gravel Road and follow that to the summit.
Located in: Shizuoka Prefecture
Height: 10,305 feet
Nearby City: Shizuoka City
Known For: There are some spectacular views to be seen from the top of Mount Warusawa. But getting up there can be quite challenging. The trail to the summit is extremely rocky and the rocks are loose and gravelly. Often it’s recommended that hikers have poles or other supports with them on this trail so that they don’t end up twisting an ankle or breaking a leg trying to scramble over the loose rocks. Wear excellent footwear and go slow on this hike. Getting to the summit is worth the effort, but only if you get there in one piece.
You should also make camp well before dark or stay in a cabin that is located close the trail. Some hikers have reported strange happenings and a general feeling of unease and dread in the forest on Mount Warusawa after the sun goes down.
Located in: Nagano Prefecture
Nearby City: Matsumoto Shi
Known For: Mount Norikura is known best for winter hiking. If you’re going to Japan in the winter your winter hiking options are very limited because mountains like Mount Fuji are inaccessible in the winter due to large amounts of snow and because of the cold. But Mount Norikura is open and accessible in the winter. The largest hiking crowds you’ll encounter on this hike are from November through February.
Bring plenty of cold weather gear if you’re hiking Mount Norikura and make sure you have lots of warm dry socks. The summit of Mount Norikura is easy to reach. The primary trail up the mountain is the Mount Kengamine Trail. It’s about eight and a half miles out and back and it will get you to the summit and back out again the same day. But camping is available on the mountain if you don’t want to push through the summit trail all in one day.
Located in: Akaishi Mountains
Height: 9,949 feet
Nearby City: Nagano
Known For: Mount Senjo will provide a uniquely Alpine hiking experience. This mountain is one of the mountains in Japan that has flower fields, mountain meadows, and dense forests as well as craggy cliffs at the summit. To start the ascent to the summit you will need to get to Kitazawa-touge, which is the trailhead for the summit trail.
From there you will wind your way up the mountain passing through primeval forest, mountain meadows, and alpine lakes. The path is easy and there is no rock scrambling or difficult climbing. It’s a great mountain hike for beginner or intermediate hikers.
10 Tallest Mountains In Japan
- Mt. Fuji
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Goryu
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are there active volcanoes in Japan?
Mount Fuji isn’t just one mountain. It’s actually three separate volcanoes that together form one massive mountain. It’s still an active volcano even though it hasn’t erupted since the 1700s. Mount Ontake is a volcanic mountain that last erupted in 2014. Many people were killed, and since then the Japanese government has limited access to the summit of the mountain.
Where can I hike in Japan during the winter?
Mount Norikura is known best for winter hiking.
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