Explore the most popular birding trails in Japan with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Just hiked Fujisan last night! I hike in the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle about once a week and stay quite fit, and I’ve gotta say this was harder than I expected. I really liked the challenge though. The altitude makes a big difference, but I was sure to take several small breaks, especially when feeling light headed, and didn’t get sick at all. It was SO cold, especially around 2am with the wind blowing. I did not stay in the huts after all the reviews of terrible sleep, and I was fine - but it may have been nice to get out of the cold and refresh for a couple hours, even without the sleep. If you’re not staying in the huts, know that there is nowhere to take reprieve from the cold and wind so prepare to be out in it for the entirety of your hike. For some reason, I had the misconception there would be somewhere to sit inside and have a meal or coffee. but not true unless you are an overnight hit guest. Overall, I’m glad I did it. But it will take some years before I’m willing to do it again :)

Hiked in one straight shot, but I would not recommend it simply due to the altitude change and need to acclimate: many others, including myself, get sick closer to the top. I missed the crowds going up by starting the hike at night, and made it to station 9 for the sunrise (it is a better chance of seeing the sunrise here, those at the top didnt witness it due to fog). If hiking at night, make sure you have a headlamp because you will need your hands. IMPORTANT: there is nowhere to get water on the way down, so buy more if you need it at the top, and use the facilities as it will be at least 1.5 hours before there is another opportunity. unless you run down, which I highly discourage due to mud and loose dirt. 2 hiking sticks will make this trek down mich easier as well. I did not stop to rest at a station, but if you plan to then you need to make reservations ahead of time.

Hiked alone. Met folks along the way. Sunrise was incredible. Rested at Basecamp 9.

Amazing hike at a slow pace makes this doable by almost anyone. Definitely recommend climbing it in two days. Would love to come back!

100% worth it. I hiked alone but made friends along the way. There were often bottlenecks due to crowds in August. Bring plenty of yen because everything on the climb up is extremely expensive. To stay the night and finish the hike in the AM for the sunrise book a hut in advance - reservations run out far in advance.

Full blog post: https://thejourneyofmyfeet.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/idiots-guide-to-hiking-mt-fuji/

We chose to forgo the sunrise and climb up and down in one day. We took the first bus from Fujisan Station to the fifth station and arrived about 7:30 am. The station was kind of chaotic and we didn’t start hiking until about 8 am. We reached the sixth station in about 35 minutes. We found the times listed on the trail markers to be accurate, maybe a little generous. After the seventh station, there is a section that’s very rocky. We were glad we had hiking poles for this especially (and the decent). Most of the trail is loose lava rock on wide paths.

We arrived at the top about 1:45 pm and only stayed long enough for a few photos and a bathroom break before we started down.

Going down for us was much harder than going up. Its almost the same kind of trail as going up but it’s so steep and the rocks are so loose that everyone is sliding around trying to stay up. Everyone fell at least once. Japanese people were mostly running down which seemed to work well if you have the energy/nerve. We got to the bottom before 5 pm.

Overall, I recommend doing it all in one day, but I wish we could have started earlier. We had amazing views on the way up that were nonexistent on the way down. We had fewer people hiking with us and most of them seemed to be Japanese. The weather was great. We didn’t have any rain and it was barely chilly at the top. Finally there were sections that were scary enough with full sunlight; I wouldn’t want to be trying to do it in the dark.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is what hiking is all about. I was intimidated by the description of "experienced hikers" because I tend to minimize my experience. Yes it is challenging but I will now officially call myself experienced because it was not intimidating. However if you think hiking is mostly flat terrain or gentle inclines then this might not be for you. I missed the summit because I didn't realize I was there. When you get to the restaurant at the road, zoom in on the map, I think you need to follow the road around the curve for the view. I am disappointed I missed the view but it was definitely an excellent hike.

hard, windy, cold at times, but the views..... amazing

hiking
2 months ago

A beautiful walk through bamboo and forest. I was able to find the multiple geocache hidden here. I didn’t make is all the way to the far end since the geocache was towards the middle of the hike. Will definitely come back to explore.

hiking
2 months ago

Kurama trail done the reverse way as this path shows. Starting in the steep stairs of the temple, this is where most of the photos should be taken. It's first going up and then down. The reverse path is easier than the one this guide shows.
Both starting and finishing areas are kind of expensive, so prepare food on advance. There is no water between Kurama temple and the kaiseki restaurants near Kibuneguchi.
However, at the entrance of the path you can get wooden walking staffs which help a lot.
Landscape is beautiful, specially nice so close from Kioto, but nothing spectacular.

trail running
2 months ago

One of my favorite routes to run! We currently have it marked with purple arrow painted rocks (from the Explore Okinawa free group on Facebook) but it’s fairly manageable to find, even if someone swipes a rock! Enjoy the views !
Be sure to take the extra set of stairs closer to Onno no Eki market to get to see more ruins, an amazing view, and a hidden cave!
Kids and dogs can conquer this hike even though the full route is around 4 miles, just pack plenty of water for the Okinawa heat!

This is a great route, but is paved and along the side of one of the busier routes in Okinawa. Hence why I chose to run it versus a leisurely hike (I didn’t want to be bored)
Still really cool to cross off the bucket list and will probably do it again with friends, but not my favorite route due to the road and lack of actual “trail”

2 months ago

Great trail... great view at the observatory. There are a few narrow spots and a few places where the forest is overgrown a little. We took an 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 year old; they all did fine.

A ton of stairs, beware. Still beautiful and serene, though. Really recommend it, especially since there's more than one way up and back down. Not to mention the base of the mountain has a swarm of wild deer that love people and let you pet them.

A lovely walk up and down the canyon past many waterfalls. There is an entrance fee (I remember 200 yen), and it costs money to park your car. There is bus service to the trailhead. This is a very popular trail especially for photographers.

Kumano Kodo is partner with Camino de Santiago. This was a great lifetime experience for both of us, spiritually and physically. The hike gave us opportunities to meet people from different countries, sharing stories from east to west. The Onsen was awesome, great foods, and of course very respectful and sincere Japanese folks from all over Japan!

You gotta do this once in your life!!!!!!

I actually did this trail when I was 17 years old! My parents took me there and remembered how hard it was for me to get all the way up without any hiking experience or fitness background. Now, I do lots of workouts, hiking and want to do it again with my teens. Gotta go home first- and will see you, Fuji-san, soon!! xx

Going up was great and not as hard as I first anticipated. Going down was...wow!...talk about having to endure something. You can’t opt out either because you have to get down, lol! Definitely glad I did it!!! It did give me a craving to climb more mountains now

hiking
5 months ago

This trail can be difficult with some technical rock climbs/descents. It was very busy when I went (the weekend) with people of all ages, including many impressive older people charging it. Views of Osaka can be glimpsed throughout with an impressive panoramic view at the very summit. The trail includes several small stream crossings.

The first 1/4 mile is all rock climbing but then becomes a typical trail, so don't get discouraged as I did by.
The trail is well worn and well defined. There are a couple of forks with no English on the trail markers, so prepared.

Note: that this trail as listed doesn't go to the summit and it's only about another 1/4 mile. Make sure you do that to get the summit view!

I have hiked on 4 continents, hundreds of miles and hands down this was the hardest hike I have ever done, also the most worthwhile. I did this halfway through a deployment so my fitness was way down, but it is still a long, steep and super challenging hike, very crowded at the beginning of the trail but the closer to the peak the smaller the crowd. It is very steep with sharp rocks, lots of facilities along the way to get your hiking staff branded (for a price of course) or grab a snack or water. Once you get to the ridge it is another mile or so to the peak and even steeper. I heard a proverb “a wise man climbs Mt. Fuji, only a fool climbs it twice” and it is true, a challenge, worthwhile but not for the faint of heart.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail and a great little workout! It's a bit steep on the way up but once you reach the peak it's an easy trek down to the Arima area. Stopped in at the Kin no Yu onsen to soak in the natural, mineral enriched waters - absolute must! Trail signage is all in Japanese with multiple forks, so make sure your GPS device or phone is charged to last the distance.

We did this as a family, the day after a typhoon hit Okinawa. It’s an ok outing, but other than some very overgrown parts there wasn’t much to write home about.
The children found the crocodile meets that we found fascinating, but were disappointed that there wasn’t anything more interesting on the hike.
They definitely enjoyed the waterfalls at Henan River more.

10 months ago

Beautiful well maintained trail between Kibune and Kurama. Good inclines and declines. We walked it with backpacks but we saw ladies in dresses on the trail. Gorgeous area!

hiking
10 months ago

Not too bad! You can get to the Waterfall in like 30-45 minutes if you don't stop. Water is nice and cold and super clear. There's a lot of steps you need to climb.
Beautiful place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

on Hiji Falls Trail

hiking
10 months ago

This is a nice trail, lots of steps. However it doesn’t allow pets. So don’t bring your dog they will turn you away.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail with amazing views and challenges. Absolutely loved it!

hiking
11 months ago

At the center of the North Japan Alpes. The view is very good. The last part is rock climbing and fun.

hiking
11 months ago

My wife and I did the Kurama Hike this morning. We started at 9 am. We reached the Kurama Temple , the birthplace of the Reiki practice. There are lots of stairs and cedar trees throughout the trail. It took us 1 hour to the top and 1 hr down. I did stop a few times to take pics and vids w/ my GoPro 5 and smartphone. Fun and amazing. You will embrace the Japanese spirit and culture.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail that provides a great workout climbing. Note that there are two ascents to make it to the top. If you want to return to Kobe instead of Arima, then follow the trail along the road to the right. It will take you to the top of the cable car for a descent. There is some up and down hiking through here, but avoids the road with traffic and no road shoulder.

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