Japan is recognized for its natural wonders and landscape, but the best approach to experience the elegance of Japanese nature is to escape from the crowd of the cities and go for a hike because everyone can truly enjoy this venture, despite the experience and age.
Additionally, the country of Japan is most frequently associated with pictures of cities like Osaka and Tokyo, with their futuristic music, neon lights, packed subways, and steaming pots of ramen. But, that is not Japan’s entire picture.
There is a remedy to all that metropolitan chaos, and it is Japan’s rural side which you can call as a hiker’s paradise. Between the changing colors of the lakes and storybook forests, there is truly a side of Japan we didn’t know.
On the bright side, listed below are some places you need to venture to explore Japan’s adventurous side on foot.
Visit Wonderful Temples in Ohara
Ohara is a rural farming community, only a 45-minute travel by bus from the central Kyoto. This place has to be soaring on the schedule for an midday of hiking along with relaxing hot springs.
Popular for growing shiso as well as offering the most mouthwatering Japanese pickles (tsukemono), Ohara has a lot of amazing temples..
Sanzen-in temple is the most renowned, it is particularly captivating during autumn when its terrains, a grounds full of leaves of maple trees whose leaves glow in a vermillion color, are at the peak of their beauty. The temple is also the best starting spot for the three-hour Ohara to Kurama trekking trail.
Start in the day with an hour in the terrains of Sanzen-in temple. From here, head towards Jakko-in, where you’ll engage in the mountain path crossing the Ebumi Shrine. Now, follow the Ebumi Ridge on to the Shizuhara village where you can move into a silent appreciation for the marvelous scenery.
From Shizuhara, the path guides to another ridge to the ancient Kurama village, including hot springs where you can unwind in the healing, relaxing hot waters.
The way can be reversed and a hot spring enjoyed in Ohara too. There are dayspring and overnight choices possible and the Kurama Day Spa’s outdoor bath is a remarkable feature.
A Temple Abundant in History in Mount Hiei
Escaping from the mainstream, touristy inner city temples, and hiking Mount Hiei offers guests with not only stunning natural scenery.
It also has famous scents and cedars that have been selected as one of the ‘Best 100 Scent Sceneries’ or ‘Kaori Fukei 100 Sen’ in Japan.
The Enryakuji temple, which spreads graceful beauty amongst a sea of nature, is also a part of its main features.
There are several hiking paths to the peak and a cable car is alright for people who don’t like the walk. However, the best route begins from Shugakuin Station. From here, it will be about a 15-minute hike, traveling east beyond Shirakawa Dori and beside the canal, towards the trailhead.
The first hour is steep and several sections of the trail are formed with an uneven surface and huge rocks. Sturdy shoes and best hiking shoes for wide feet are advised.
Even though the route is difficult and steep, it is straight and very simple to follow, having new hikers with you will take not more than a couple of hours to get to the summit.
The energy you will be spending is totally worth it to breathe the fresh air along with the scent of cedar and notice the mixture of bright vermillion formations snuggled into the dense greenery.
Trekking down on the Shiga part of Hieizan will bring you to Ogoto Onsen where you will have your time to take a breather at one of the several hot springs. For something special, try spending the night at Yomotokan Ryokan and relax in their hot spring on the rooftop.
Discover an Ancient Forest in Kameoka
Going west from Kyoto, through Arashiyama you’ll find a gorgeous mountain range called Kameoka. Ride the JR line train to the station of Hozukyo where you can join the Akechigoe path of the Hozukyo Hiking Trail.
After you leave the station, go north and follow the stream of the river heading to the Old Mizuo Road, and this will guide you to the trailhead. From here, turn east heading to Doyo no Reisen and go east on the apparently signposted mountain route, which will help in taking you to Kameoka through awesome Shinto shrines which are hidden in the ancient forest.
This location is popular for growing yuzu (a well-known citrus fruit in Japan), along with the Mizuo Yuzu Farm, take a quick detour from the Old Mizuo Road, and here you can indulge yourself in the area’s popular yuzu chicken sukiyaki and bathe hot springs infused with yuzu.
Forget the futuristic cityscapes because Japan is actually a dream stop for outdoor travelers. Spending time exploring the tracks of Kyoto is truly an unmissable opportunity from typical city exploration.
Routes are filled with magnificent temples indicating that you can still experience Kyoto’s famous culture while relaxing in the stunning natural attraction of the neighboring mountains. A midday of hiking and a resting in hot springs are the best way to experience and explore an entirely different side of Japan.