Did you know that 73% of Japan’s land area is either forested or mountainous? With nine forest eco-regions and more than 90,000 species of wildlife, Japan has one of the most unique biodiversities in the world.
Hundreds of parks, heritage sites, and mountain trails are scattered across Japan, which makes it an ideal place for tours and vacations. The mountains are particularly spectacular, with combined views of the magnificent cityscape, lush forests, and snowy peaks and plains.
For some of the most beautiful mountain views in the Japan, here are some places you should visit.
- Mt. Fuji
You can’t talk about a tour in Japan without talking about Mt. Fuji. It is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” and is also among the country’s historic sites. In 2013, it was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site. It is also the highest peak in Japan, at 3,776 meters high.
There are four routes to take from the foot of Mt. Fuji: Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama. All these routes have old shrines, teahouses, and traditional Japanese huts along the way, which contribute to the authentic Japanese experience when you climb Fuji. Meanwhile, the Subashiri and Gotemba routes aren’t as popular as the other routes when climbing the mountain, but it several climbers choose these roads on the descent due to their ash-covered paths.
Once you reach the summit, one of the most popular things to do is walk around the crater of Mt. Fuji. Apart from the breathtaking sunset, you might also spot some paragliders taking off from the Gotemba route, between the Subashiri and Hoei-zan peaks.
- Mt. Asari
Those looking for some of the best snow in Japan should definitely check out Mt. Asari in Hokkaido. While the greenery is also a sight to behold during the summers, it’s the winters on this mountain that are highly popular, with powdery, sparkling snow that’s ideal for skiing.
The beautiful mountaintop views from Mt. Asari include glimpses of the Ishikari Bay, the Shakotan Cape, Mt. Yotei, and the Niseko Mountain Range. And because the scenery changes with the seasons, you will want to come back again and again to experience all the picturesque views Mt. Asari has to offer.
- Mt. Haku
Mt. Haku is also known as “Hakusan” and is one of the three “Holy Mountains” of Japan. There are very few trails on the mountain due to its status as a protected national park and the rather steep terrain. The limited human intrusion, however, makes Mt. Haku’s diverse plant life that much more wonderful to behold as you make your way to the top of the mountain.
Because it is a dormant volcano, there are several onsen or hot springs in the area. You can also view the surrounding outcroppings where most of Japan’s dinosaur fossils were found. If you’re lucky enough you might catch a glimpse of the golden eagle, Ishikawa’s prefectural bird, taking flight from Mt. Haku’s slopes.
- Mt. Hiei
With a height of 850 meters, Mt. Hiei can be easily tackled as a day hike, with views of the surrounding Kyoto and Shiga prefectures and Lake Biwa. The plant life is also quite pleasant in Mt. Hiei, with an abundance of brilliant azaleas in the spring, while Japanese maples add color to the trails in autumn.
While the main attraction of Mt. Hiei is the temple complex of Enryaku-ji, the more adventurous hikers can also see monkeys, Japanese nightingales, boars, and tanuki (the local Japanese raccoons) along the trails on your way up the summit.
- Mt. Tateyama
Mt. Tateyama is the third of the “Holy Mountains” of Japan. With sweeping views of the surrounding meadows and valleys, including Jikogudani or Devil’s Valley, Mt. Tateyama is quite easy to climb, with the trails carefully maintained for tourists.
Yukino-otani, the famed snow walls flanking the roads leading to Murodo Station, can be viewed from April to June. Meanwhile, tourists can also explore the Kurobe Dam and the alpine wetlands of Midagahara as they climb the mountain. The Shomyo Falls, the tallest water falls in Japan, can also be seen on clearer days.
With more than 18,000 mountains on record, Japan’s peaks can provide some truly unique and fantastic views around the country. Take your pick and enjoy the sights and culture that Japan has to offer.