hiking in japan

Hiking In Japan

With trails that stretch for thousands of miles and an incredible volcanic landscape, hiking is the most rewarding activity in Japan  Japan is roughly Germany's size, but has fifty percent more people.  The amazing thing is that these people only occupy a mere thirty-five percent of the country's land.  That means that sixty-five percent of Japan is rugged mountain terrain that's just sitting there to be hiked.           

There are two main types of hiking trails that are found within the country of Japan.  These are old imperial roads and nature trails.  Old imperial roads are the favored trails of many foreign hikers.  One of the more popular old imperial roads to hike is Shikoku.  Shikoku offers a long hike that takes over two months to complete on average and passes by eighty-eight temples.  Another well-known old imperial road that people enjoy hiking is Nakasendo Trail, which connects Tokyo and Kyoto.    

Nature trails are more popular with the native Japanese hikers.  There are nine of these that run throughout the country.  Most foreign hikers don't even know about them.  The combined length of all of the nature trails is more than twenty-six thousand kilometers.  Starting as a 1970s-era initiative by the Japanese central government, the original purpose of creating this system was to provide the means for people to experience culture and nature in a safe and healthy way.  Prefectures provide maps of these trails and perform periodic upkeep to keep them looking nice.  Most Japanese people use these trails to take short day treks.  Many of them like to hike fifteen kilometer sections and take public transportation back to their vehicles.  Many of the different sections of these trails do not meet up with one another.  If a hiker can provide a prefecture with acceptable proof that he or she has hiked every section of these nature trails in their entireties, that hiker will be awarded a special medal.