The Most Iconic Mountains to Climb and Hike Up in Japan

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The Most Iconic Mountains to Climb and Hike Up in Japan

There's nothing quite like conquering a mountain, feeling the accomplishment while taking in stunning views from the summit. With most of Japan's landscape covered by dramatic mountains, enchanting forests and sloping valleys, there's plenty of places that make for the perfect hiking routes.

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The Most Iconic Mountains to Climb and Hike Up in Japan

Mt. Haku

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One of the three major 'holy' mountains of Japan, along with Mount Fuji and Mount Tate, Mount Haku has been the site of religious pilgrimages for hundreds of years. However even if climbing a holy mountain is not your thing, there are plenty of reasons to make Mount Haku your next goal. The surrounding scenery as you make your way up is fantastic and trails are dotted with picturesque ponds along with incredible views across the national park.

Its name in Japanese translates to 'white mountain' due to the mountain retaining its snowy peak for longer than its surroundings when viewed from the coast.

Height: 2,702 meters.
Travel time to the summit and back: 8 hours

Mt. Miyanoura

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For the true nature enthusiasts, taking a trip to the southern island of Yakushima is a no brainer. This subtropical island off the coast of Kyushu is famous for its ancient ceder forest, with many trees said to be thousands of years old. Standing at 1936 meters, Mt. Miyanoura the highest mountain in the Kyushu region and not a climb for the faint-hearted. While it's much lower than many summits in Japan, the heavily forest lower areas and unpredictable weather of the island add to the difficulty. If you're not so experienced, it's recommended to take a guide with you. You'll also need to get a hiking pass first which costs 1000 yen for the day.

Bringing a raincoat is a must for Yakushima, it rains almost everyday on the island so there's a very high chance you'll be outside during a downpour here.

Height: 1936 meters.
Travel time to the summit and back: 6 hours (however most people choose to continue hiking onwards to Jomon Sugi, the oldest tree on the island, for a two day hike).

Mt. Yotei

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Often referred to as the 'Mount Fuji of Hokkaido', Mount Yotei is a similarly-shaped cone volcano a couple of hours drive from Japan's northern capital of Hokkaido. The mountain might be much shorter than Mount Fuji, however don't underestimate the hike. It's less traveled compared to the country's most famous peak and you won't find shops and vending machines like on Fuji, so bring your own food and water. Much like Mount Fuji however, the view of Mount Yotei is beautiful when you're not standing on it. Plan for some extra time to head to Niseko. One of Japan's most famous ski resorts, the view of the mountain from here is incredible.

Height: 1,898 meters.
To the top and back: 8 hours.

Mt. Takao

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If you're short on time but looking for a hike while in Tokyo, fear not, the west of the city boundaries is actually full of mountains and forests, with a number of wonderful hiking trails. Perhaps the easiest to reach and climb is Mount Takao, to the peak takes a little over two hours, but there's plenty to stop and appreciate along the way. If you're traveling during a festival, of which there are numerous throughout the year, the route might be a little crowded. However there will be food and sake stalls, festivities and more along the way that make it worth traveling to during this time.

Height: 599 meters.
Travel time to the summit and back: 4 hours.

Mt. Fuji

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Mt Fuji needs no introduction. The highest mountain in Japan, this beautiful conical-shaped volcano is usually the first on most hiker's 'to climb' list. Apart from the boasting rights of climbing Japan's tallest mountain and most iconic peak, there are a number of other great reasons Mt Fuji can't be missed. Despite it's height it isn't such a difficult climb, there's no rock scrambling needed and there's not really any steep inclines. As the mountain has no neighboring peaks, the view is uninterrupted for miles, if it isn't cloudy.

Note that Fuji should never be climbed off season unless you are highly experienced and have been given the green light from local authorities. Snow and ice covering the top of the mountain make it highly dangerous to attempt.

Height: 3,776 meters.
Travel time to the summit and back: 9 hours.


If climbing some of the country's iconic peaks is a must for you when visiting Japan, these mountains are all highly recommended, offering much more than just the beautiful views from the top.

Note that the given travel time is an approximation and may take longer or shorter, depending on your hiking speed and how long you spend at the summit. If you're a beginner and not so experienced with hiking, plan for adding an hour or two to the estimates.