When you think of mountains and climbing in Japan, one comes to mind above all others - and that's Mt. Fuji. In saying that, maybe you're coming to Japan and you're not necessarily in the area to climb Fuji, or you just want a different challenge that isn't as well known. Here are three other great options for you that you may not have considered!
Mount Tateyama is located in Toyama Prefecture, and is one of the three sacred mountains of Japan. The great thing about Tateyama is that it's accessible - the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route will get you there. You might have seen the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route in pictures before - it's that road that looks like two gigantic snow walls in the wintertime.
Many people rave about the beauty of Tateyama in autumn time, when the leaves are changing in all their glory. The mountain is recommended as being best to climb between mid April to late November - in saying that, people are able to hike it in the winter months but it's said to be a very long and arduous climb (with meters of snow to contend with). I think that unless you're incredibly experienced it would not be a good idea to try the winter months - play it safe!
Mount Hiei is steeped in Buddhist history, and has the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Enryakuji Temple at the summit. Enryakuji was founded in 788 and is a temple where a lot of influential monks have studied.
If you want to take the quicker and less intense route to the summit of Mount Hiei (whilst still getting to enjoy the beauty of the area!) there's a cable car that runs up and down the mountain - when my husband visited Hiei, he and his friends hiked up, but took the cable car down.
Mount Hiei is also a great spot to check out if you're into flora and fauna - there are beautiful flowers during the spring months in particular, and you can even catch a glimpse of some native wildlife such as monkeys, tanuki and boar.
Hakusan is the third of the sacred mountains of Japan (along with Fuji and Tateyama) and is located on the border of Gifu, Fukui, and Ishikawa Prefectures. The mountain itself is classed as a "potentially active volcano", having last erupted in 1659.
Mount Hakusan is preserved as part of the
Hakusan National Park
, and as a result, hiking this mountain gives you more of an untouched experience than some of the other ones in Japan. There are three main trails on the mountain - the Kankō Trail, the Sabō Trail and the Hirase Trail.
And here's an interesting fact for you: the area around the mountain contains outcroppings from the Jurassic period, and is where a lot of Japan's dinosaur fossils were found!
Hopefully this provides a bit of inspiration for other options to explore! Japan is such a mountainous country that there's absolutely more to see than just Mt. Fuji (although let's be honest - Fuji is rather breathtaking!)
Enjoy the outdoors and happy travels!