Japan Wanderlust: 5 Freaking Incredible Mountains to Climb

Source: Gaijin Pot

Today, Aug. 11, is a holiday for the sole purpose of giving you time to cozy up to Japan’s mountains.

Of course, there’s Mt. Fuji, but to only have climbed Fuji during your time in Japan is a shame. Hundreds of other peaks (more than 350!) provide drop-dead gorgeous views, are more accessible and are located just around the corner from wherever you are — no matter what prefecture you’re in.

Though Mountain Day is only a few years old, it’s refreshing to have time off work to appreciate some nature. In my three years in Japan, I was lucky enough to befriend a yama (mountain) mama. In a practical yet whimsical ode to Japan’s love for that John Denver song, if you don’t have a mountain mama, I highly recommend it. My friend, who is a Japanese teacher of English in Chiba Prefecture, got me into the hobby of mountain hiking — something I didn’t have much access to in my previous life in the U.S.

Photo by Victoria Vlisides

Mt. Miyanora in Kagoshima.

Find a yama mama

With her (and because of her), my other friends and I were able to hike more than a few mountains all over Kanto. Plus, we took on the tallest in Kyushu, Mt. Miyanora, a 12-hour hike in the rare and purifying nature of the secluded isle of Yakushima.

Japan’s mountains and mountain culture are nothing short of exquisite. It’s also well organized if you’re looking to get into it — sasuga (as expected), Japan! I’m dying to introduce a couple of mountains to get you (even if you don’t yet have a yama mama) to try a summit climb while in Japan.

1. Mt. Shibutsu, Gunma

Photo by <a target=_blank href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Mt.Shibutsu_16.jpg" …continue reading