Mountaineering in Japan has a long history in one form or another, be it a form of religious devotion dating back many centuries or just for recreational purposes. For the untrained, mountaineering could be a dangerous pastime, but for trained thrill-seekers, Japan is the place to conquer great heights.
Japan features three magnificent mountains for tourists, and both beginner and advanced mountaineers. They are Mount Fuji, Mount Haku and Mount Tate. Though there are other high peaks to explore, these mountains show a grand view of the different plant species every season that are found in Japan’s forests. And these three are reason enough for beginners to be inspired to visit the country.
Mount Fuji needs no introduction. This dormant volcano is one of the most famous mountains in the world, having been featured in countless photographs and art over the years. Towering at 12,388 feet above the ground, there are four major routes to the top, each featuring old shrines, teahouses and of course, a wide variety of flora and fauna. About 200,000 people ascend Mount Fuji every year, because of the cold climate and the spectacular view from the top. Its peak is covered in snow for several months in a year and mountaineers advise visitors that the best season for climbing is from 1st of July to the 27th of August.
Mount Haku, also known as Hakusan National Park, is also a dormant volcano standing 8,783 feet tall and the tallest mountain in the Hokuriku region. Aside from the wide selection of flora, Mount Haku is also home to the Golden Eagle. The trails of Mount Haku are said to be easier to climb, which can be a great option for beginners. Hakusan’s best seasons are late summer and fall when the mountain is at its most picturesque.
Then there is Mount Tate. It measures 9,892 feet above the ground and is located in the Toyama area. It features the country’s deepest gorge called the Kurobe Gorge, found on the eastern part of the mountain, and the Oyama Shrine found at the peak where tourists and climbers can take part in sake and receive a blessing from a priest of the shrine. Also, there is public transportation that takes hikers up to the Murodo Plateau. There are stores and onsen baths present in Murodo Plateau where tourists can try. On clear days, hikers can see the Shomyo Falls while climbing up the mountain on their way to the Murodo Plateau.
If you ever decide to travel around Japan to experience these exceptional peaks, please keep in mind the simple rules of mountaineers and let it serve as your guide in all your adventures:
“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints,
kill nothing but time.”
Photo by Tim Eyles via Flickr