With 73% of Japan’s land mass being mountains, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts certainly have their pick of gorgeous terrain to explore throughout the country. Of course there are some popular highlights that should remain repeat offenders on your Japan bucket list, like Mount Fuji. But if you’re interested in some seasonally-specific hikes that are sure to satisfy your natural cravings, there’s no better time than the warming season of spring. As the winter wears away and the vibrant greens and fragrant blossoms emerge, these gorgeous hikes will surely make their way into your spring schedule.
Mount Yoshino (Nara)
As far as spring hiking in Japan goes, no list would be complete without including Mount Yoshino. Notorious for its unparalleled views of over 30,000 sakura trees, this hike may be crowded during cherry blossom season, but the beautiful scenery makes it well worth the crowds. The hiking route along this temple-laden world heritage site is paved to make for a stress-free nature experience.
Where: From Abenobashi station (in Tennoji), take either a Limited Express or Express train on the Kintetsu line to Yoshino station, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture 639-3115
Mount Takao (Hachioji)
Located just an hour south of Tokyo, Mount Takao makes for a perfect spring day trip from the city. Standing at 1,965 feet with eight different hiking paths to choose from, this mountain is a popular destination for hikers of all ability levels. Boasting over 1,200 different species of plants and animals that are just beginning to re-emerge from the winter, this mountain is a prime spring hiking destination.
Surrounded by mountains and the sea, Sendai is home to many gorgeous hiking destinations. Kamakura is one such destination, and the hidden temples, lush forests, and historical figures that line the varied trails give this nature destination unique character.
Mount Kobo (Kanagawa)
Standing at 775 feet, this mountain is good for all experience levels of hikers. Just two hours south of Tokyo by train, this mountain provides the perfect views to complement your next spring day trip. As an added bonus, if you make it to the top while the sakura are in bloom, you’ll get a chance to see the cherry blossom trees that line the peak in all of their glory.
Located in the Alps, this spring hiking destination might be your best bet to beating the crowds. Due to the lingering cold temperatures, not many visitors make their way to this national park before summer. However, spending your day in the sunshine and solitude along trails where the warmer weather is beginning to preview the beauty of spring is an experience in Japanese hiking not to be missed!
Where: Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture