All About Japan

12 Great Hikes in Japan's National Parks

| Hiking , Great Outdoors

You can follow the trails through Japan's national parks to mountain peaks and coastal views—and sometimes both at the same time! Here are 12 great options to get you started!

Mt. Io (Hokkaido)

We keep the Ubushinotta River valley to our left as we approach the peak of Mount Io. From the end of June to early July, rare Shiretoko violets (Viola kitamiana, or ‘Shiretoko sumire’ in Japanese) bloom in the region. Shiretoko violets are a very rare variety of flower that grows only on the Shiretoko Peninsula and Etorofu Island. It’s said the Mount Io area is the only place where casual mountain-climbers can have a chance to spot them! #NationalPark #Hokkaido #Flowers #知床国立公園 #nationalparks #nature #findyourpark #instafollow #japan #landscape #landscape_lovers #ourplanetdaily #landscapephotography #hiking #outdoors #traveling #travel #explore #Hokkaido #Shiretoko #日本 #國家公園 #일본 #국립공원

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The Ubushinotta River (ウブシノッタ川・Ubushinotta-gawa) valley lies to the left on the approach to the peak of Mount Io (硫黄山・Io-zan).

Mt. Rausu (Hokkaido)

The Osawa (大沢) valley lies on the way to the peak of Mt. Rausu (羅臼岳・Rausu-dake) in Shiretoko National Park.

Mt. Meakan (Hokkaido)

Mt. Meakan (雌阿寒岳・Meakan-dake) is found southwest of the Shiretoko Peninsula, but still safely ensconced in northeastern Hokkaido.

Mt. Chausu (Tochigi)

Mountain climbers flock to Ubagadaira (姥ヶ平) as Mt. Chausu (茶臼岳・ Chausu-dake) approaches its prime season for autumn colors. The site is accessible within about an hour on the Nasu Ropeway in Nikko National Park.

Mt. Shirouma (Toyama/Nagano)

Tsugaike Nature Park stands at an altitude of 1,850 meters. Accessible from the top of the Tsugaike Ropeway, here you can find the trailhead for the roughly seven-hour climb to the peak of Mount Shirouma. 1. We’re almost at the peak of Mount Shirouma. You can enjoy a refreshing walk along the mountain ridge on a clear day. 2. The view down the eastern slope of Mount Shirouma (2,932 m). Below we can see Hakuba Daisekkei Gorge, counted among the Three Great Snowy Gorges of Japan. 3. Primula cuneifolia var. Hakusanensis, seen in late July by Hakuba Oike Pond (altitude 2,379 m). The surrounding area is a treasure trove of alpine plants, many of which will be approaching their peak around this time. 4. Found on the shore of Hakuba Oike Pond, both camping sites and lodge facilities are available at Hakuba Oike Mountain Lodge. #NationalPark #Hakuba #Camping #Mountains #中部山岳国立公園 #nationalparks #nature #findyourpark #instafollow #japan #landscape #landscape_lovers #ourplanetdaily #landscapephotography #hiking #outdoors #traveling #travel #explore #日本 #國家公園 #일본 #국립공원

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It takes about seven hours to climb to the peak of Mt. Shirouma (白馬岳・Shirouma-dake), which stands at a height of 2,932 meters (9,619 ft).

Mt. Jukkoku (Nagano)

Mt. Jukkoku (十石山・Jukkoku-yama) is just one of many climbable mountains in Nagano.

Mt. Hakusan (Ishikawa/Gifu)

2017 marks the 1,300th anniversary of Taicho Daishi's reported climb to the top of Mount Hakusan. Simply known by the mononym Taicho, this Buddhist monk from Echizen made his ascent in 717. With its long history as a sacred site, this holy mountain saw many climbers this summer. 1. Midagahara (roughly 2,350m elevation) was created by the eruption of the Shin-Hakusan Volcano. From here you can see Gozengamine, Mount Hakusan’s highest peak. 2. Many alpine plants flower during Mount Hakusan’s brief summer. #NationalPark #Mountains #Flowers #白山国立公園 #nationalparks #nature #findyourpark #instafollow #japan #landscape #landscape_lovers #ourplanetdaily #landscapephotography #hiking #outdoors #traveling #travel #explore #日本 #國家公園 #일본 #국립공원

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Midagahara (弥陀ヶ原) is located at an elevation of 2,350 meters (7,710 ft). It can be found on the way to Gozengamine (御前峰), the highest peak of Mt. Hakusan (白山・Haku-san), which lends its name to Hakusan National Park.

Mt. Sanbe (Shimane)

Every year, a prayer for safety marks the opening of the climbing routes up Mt. Sanbe (三瓶山・Sanbe-san) in Daisen-Oki National Park.

Mt. Misen (Hiroshima)

Located on the island of Miyajima, Mt. Misen (弥山・Misen) stands above the famed Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima.

Mt. Yashima (Kagawa)

The north side of Mount Yashima (屋島北嶺・Yashima Hokurei) can be found in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture.

88-Temple Pilgrimage (Kagawa)

Shikoku's 88-temple pilgrimage (四国遍路・Shikoku Henro) traces 88 holy sites (四国八十八箇所・Shikoku Hachiju-hakkasho) located around the smallest of Japan's four main islands. Here we see a pilgrim setting out from Shiramine-ji Temple (白峯寺・Shiramine-ji) in Sakaide City.

88-Temple Pilgrimage (Kochi)

The Shikoku pilgrimage follows the steps of the monk Kobo Daishi, also known as Kukai. Here we see a segment on Cape Ashizuri (足摺岬・Ashizuri Misaki) at the southern end of Kochi Prefecture, part of Ashizuri-Uwa Sea National Park.

Ready to pull on your hiking boots—or are you perhaps in need of more inspiration? Check out more from Japan's national parks on Facebook and Instagram!