Mountain in Tochigi
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Deep Japan: 7 of the Country’s Best Hikes
- If you’re looking for a city escape, or want to really embrace the untouched beauty of Japan, be sure to add a mountain hike to your itinerary. The landscape of the country is incredibly volcanic, which makes for an otherworldly scenery and fertile ground for diverse foliage. Here are just a handful of the nation’s most stunning treks. Kirifuri Kogen Kirifuri Kogen Just eight kilometers north of the of beautiful Nikko city is where you’ll find Kisuge-daira, a lush highland nestled on the side of Mt Akanagi. Breathtaking mountain range views, an altitude of 1300-1600 meters and home to the picturesque Kirifuri Falls, a hike around the Kirifuri Kogen is unforgettable. Lush green in summer, dotted with colorful floral displays in spring and awash in fiery shades of red and orange in autumn it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in witnessing Japan’s natural beauty first hand. Takachiho No Mine Takachiho No Mine Positioned in the northern corner of Miyazaki Prefecture sits Takachiho, an area rich with mystical history and a stunning mountain called Takachiho-no-mine. Standing at 1574 meters tall, the mountain is a popular hiking destination for those who want to explore the country’s more unique landscape, complete with moon-like volcanic rocks. It may not be the easiest hike, but from the summit, the views of the neighboring city of Miyakonojo and the smoking silhouette of Mt. Sakurajima in the distance make it all worthwhile. Nishizawa Ravine Nishizawa Ravine Yamanashi is home to some of Japan’s most beautiful hikes, making it an excellent day or weekend trip from Tokyo or Chiba. If you only have the time to go on one adventure, make the journey to Nishizawa Ravine. Dotted with waterfalls this looped walking trail is relatively quiet, incredibly picturesque and easy for casual hikers too. About 10 kilometers in total, the hike takes between three to five hours and is less than a two-hour journey from central Tokyo. Mt. Takao Mt. Takao Another lush city escape is the ever popular Mt. Takao. Only around 50-minutes from Shinjuku by train it’s one of the more leisurely day trips from the city, but offers some incredible natural scenery, including views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day, an impressive traditional temple and a variety walking paths to explore the mountainside. There is a network of different trails that weave their way up the side of Takao for those of varying hiking levels. The number one hike is the most accessible. Here, autumn is the most beautiful time of the year, but be warned it’s also the most popular. Dewa Sanzan Dewa Sanzan Known in English as ‘the three mountains of Dewa’ Dewa Sanzan is a family of three sacred mountains located in Yamagata Prefecture. Each mountain represents a different stage of life; birth (Haguro-san), death (Gas-san) and rebirth (Yudono-san), and each features a shrine at the mountain peak. In winter the mountains are rather inaccessible given Yamagata’s heavy snowfall, however during spring, autumn and summer they’re a popular and stunning hiking destination for both pilgrims and tourists. The Jomonsugi Trail The Jomonsugi Trail This trail is named after Yakushima’s favorite attraction, Jomonsugui, a wide cedar tree that’s estimated to be somewhere between 2000-7200 years old. Dating all the way back to the Jomon period, and discovered by loggers in the Edo-period, today hikers, adventurers, and tourists make the pilgrimage to the top of Miyanoura mountain to marvel at this time-defying phenomena. Mt. Fuji Mt. Fuji There’s little to say about Mt Fuji, that hasn’t been recited time and time before. In the warmer months Mt. Fuji is a popular hiking route for countless visitors who often make the overnight journey to the top to admire the unforgettable view of the sunrise. Sitting at 3776 meters, it’s Japan’s highest mountain peak and is inhabitable in the colder months. If you do plan climbing it’s worth noting that the main trails the Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya Trails only open between July and September. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Hiking Kirifuri Kogen
- Sitting 8 kms north of the heart of Nikko city is Kisuge-daira, home to some of the area’s most beautiful parks and mountain views. Towering about 1,200 meters above sea level, and stretching all the way from the southern slopes at the base of Mt. Akanagi-yama to the north-western part of Tochigi, these highlands are worth a visit for anyone interested in really immersing themselves in Japan’s incredible natural beauty. Beyond stunning mountain ranges, the highlands also accommodate Kirifuri-no-taki Falls, the spectacular 75 meters high waterfall that’s commonly regarded as one of the three most beautiful falls in Nikko. Hiking Kirifuri Kogen Of course like so many other pockets of Nikko, Kirifuri Highlands offer something for visitors all year round, however during the months of spring to summer and early autumn is when the grounds are at their most breathtaking. The highlands’ field hosts a variety of different kinds of flowers that transform throughout the seasons. If you’re in town during the hot summer months of late June to mid-July don’t miss the opportunity to witness the broad dwarf day lily (Nikko Kisuge) flowers as they bloom and paint the entire field a glowing yellow. Hiking Kirifuri Kogen The lily coated fields aren’t the only areas that see seasonal transformation here on the Kirifuri Highlands. When you’re in the area make your way to Kirifuri-no-taki to witness firsthand the transformative effects of the famous koyo (autumn) season during October. At an impressive 75 meters high, the fall is divided into upper and lower tiers that roar down the mountainside. In Japanese, Kirifuri is said to mean “falling mist”. In spring the trees that surround the falls are a rich lush green, in winter the falls are partially frozen and become carpeted in white, however during autumn you’ll swear you’re visiting a completely different place as the surrounding foliage turns a glowing red, orange and gold. It’s this sight that makes Nikko one of the most impressive seasonal sightseeing spots in all of Japan. Hiking Kirifuri Kogen ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Most visits to Tochigi revolve around Nikko, a small city home to the spectacular, lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine and Nikko National Park with its mountains, lakes, waterfalls, onsen, and wild monkeys. Neighboring Oku-Nikko is an extension of the fantastic scenery famous for its autumn leaves, while Tochigi's capital, Utsunomiya, is the only place in the world where you can find oya stone beautifully exhibited in temples and the Oya History Museum.
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