Japan’s most famous mountain, Mount Fuji, is only one of many spectacular hikes the country offers. Read on for the ten best hiking trails near Tokyo, Japan.

Hiking in Japan is a delight: March and April bring beautiful cherry blossoms, while October and November strew forests with stunning autumn colours. Its rich history and culture is interwoven with hiking trails as they often lead to traditional inns (ryokans) and hot springs (onsens). Here are ten of the best hiking trails near Tokyo and farther out.

1. Mount Fuji

Japan’s most iconic mountain, the snow-capped Mount Fuji, is 3 hours away from Tokyo by bullet train. The mountain has four trails to choose from: the Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri and Gotemba trails. Out of the four, Yoshida is the easiest, which also means it is the most crowded. However, it has excellent support facilities, including mountain huts and food shops en route, making it the best choice for beginner climbers. The trail is divided into 10 stations, and most people start climbing at the 5th station so they can arrive at the top by sunrise for a phenomenal view. There is even wifi available on the summit for an Instagram social media achievement post. 

Best For: A challenging hike on an iconic mountain

Distance: 19 km 

Estimated Completion Time: 10 hours 

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Mount Fuji_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

2. Kamakura

An hour away from Tokyo, there are many sites to visit in Kamakura: its Great Buddha statue, bamboo grove at Hokokuji, and beautiful coastline. The region also has three main hiking trails: the  Gionyama, the Daibutsu, and the Tengoku. After a long day of trekking, hikers can head to Enoshima’s beaches of Enoshima to cool down, and even go fishing or crab-catching.  

Best For: A quick hike while visiting a seaside city

Distance: 6 km

Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Kamakura_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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3. Takao

Only a 50 minute train ride from Tokyo, Mount Takao is easily accessible. Ever-popular with hikers, the mountain offers a stunning view of Tokyo. Different trails are available, but trail No. 1 brings hikers past Takao’s major attractions like its Yakuoin temple, used for worshipping the Tengus (mountain gods) in order to protect the Kanto region, as well as its Monkey Park, home to 60 macaque monkeys and 500 different plant species. After your hike, visit the Keio Takaosan Onsen behind the railway station to properly relax, or visit the Takao 599 Museum to learn about the mountain’s ecosystem. Visitors can also experience Mount Takao via cable car ride, and camp and barbecue there.

Best For: a nature-filled hike with many sightseeing spots

Distance: 3.8 km

Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours 

Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Takao_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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4. Mount Mitake

In the Oku-tama region is the sacred Mount Mitake, where Musashi Mitake Shrine sits. Moss and algae covered trails wind through rare wildlife and bring you past ryokans where you can have a rest, eat vegetarian dishes, and wait for the sunrise. Visitors can also catch a cable car up most of the way. 

Best For: An easy hike with family

Distance: 5 km

Estimated Completion Time: 3 hours

Difficulty Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Mitake_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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5. Hinode

An easy 40-minute trail connection from Mount Mitake, is Mount Hinode, which translates to “Sunrise Mountain.” In Japanese culture, Hinode was traditionally the place to see the first sunrise of the New Year, the summit offering stunning views of the Tokyo skyline and scenic Akiruno City. From the summit, you can also hike down to a nearby plum park, Yoshino Baigo, where a thousand plum trees bloom in March. May 8th is the day of the Hinode Matsuri, the annual spring festival of the Musashi Shrine, and visitors can enjoy cultural celebrations, which include Shinto processions and traditional Japanese court music. 

Best For: seeing the Tokyo skyline 

Distance: 10 km

Estimated Completion Time: 3.5 hours

Difficulty Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Hinode_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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6. Kumotori

977 metre-high Kumotori is the highest mountain in Tokyo- perfect for a hiking challenge. While different trail options are available, all of them are quite long so it is common to stay overnight in the mountain’s many lodges. Many routes pass by the Mitsumine Shrine dedicated to worshipping Izanagi and Izanami, the two gods of creation in Japanese myth. A breathtaking panoramic view awaits hikers at the top.

Best For: An intensive workout

Distance: 20 km

Estimated Completion Time: 6 hours

Difficulty Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kumotori_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan


7. Tsukuba

The double-peaked Mount Tsukuba has been worshipped for over a thousand years. The twin peaks are traditionally said to represent two genders, granting those who climb it a healthy relationship. Different trails lead to the mountaintop, with most starting at the Tsukubasan Shrine (for example, the popular Miyukigahara and Shirakumobashi routes), and the two peaks are separated by a 30 minute hike. The mountain changes colour from indigo in the morning to green in the afternoon to purple at night, abundant in flowers shifting colours depending on the time of day. Hikers can see plum blossoms in early spring and colorful leaves in autumn.

Best For: A soul-touching journey with a good hike

Distance: 5 km 

Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Tsubaka_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan


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8. Kumano Kodo

The Kumano Kodō is a pilgrimage route that spans across the beautiful woodlands of Japan’s Honshū island, and one of its most popular treks. The route is a series of seven different trails that lead hikers to the famous Kumano Sanzan trifecta of UNESCO World Heritage-recognised Shinto shrines. Its most iconic hiking trail, the Nakahechi Trail, starts at Taikijiri-oji and ends at Hongui Taisha (one of the three shrines). Follow in the footsteps of the ancient emperors and nobles who used to travel this trail, and stay in traditional ryokans en route, where you will bathe nightly in onsens.

Best For: taking a pilgrimage to a UNESCO World Heritage site

Distance: 40 km

Estimated Completion Time: 2 to 3 days

Difficulty Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kumano Kudo_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan


9. Japan Alps

Honshu island is home to a series of dramatic mountain ranges, collectively known as the Japan Alps. There are relatively gentle hiking trail options in Kamikochi Valley, but visitors can also use the trail as a starting point for difficult, technical ascents. For example, the Kamikochi-Yari-Hotaka Circuit takes hikers through the northern Japan Alps, giving glorious views and ending on the towering summits of Mount Yarigatake and Mount Okuhotaka-dake. The trail is highly demanding, involving steep climbs, narrow mountaintop ridges, and boulder-climbing. After the hike, relax at the Kamikochi Onsen Hotel, where you can soak in an open-air bath with a spectacular mountain backdrop. 

Best For: An exhilarating alpine adventure

Distance: 34 km

Estimated Completion Time: 3 days

Difficulty rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Japan Alps_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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10. Nakasendo Trail

An ancient highway connecting Kyoto to Tokyo, the historic Nakasendo trail is an exceptional way to explore Japanese history and culture. The route has been walked since the 8th century, including by Tokugawa Shoguns (Japanese military chiefs) during their military campaigns. Wind through lovely mountain countryside, ancient forests, and charming towns where hikers can rest in traditional inns before resuming their journey. The entire trail is 530 km long, but trekkers can stop off at any one of the 69 towns that line the way, or take a bullet train to various points of the trail. Hikers can decide the start and end points of their hike depending on what you want to see and duration. 

Best For: Exploring the history and heritage of Japan on foot

Distance: 530 km

Estimated Completion Time: 30 days

Difficulty rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Nakasendo Trail_10 Best Hiking Trails Near Tokyo, Japan

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