Autumn is one of the best times to get outside and enjoy the nature that surrounds us. The weather tends to be pleasant, with blue skies and sunny days, but a cooler temperature. The picturesque autumn foliage is a delight for your eyes. Heading out to areas where you can enjoy the momiji is so popular for a good reason!
Whether it’s the mountains closest to your apartment, or if you are planning a trip to visit somewhere further afield, heading outside can have so many benefits. Going for a brisk walk or hike is great for both your physical and mental health, and exercising outside has many additional benefits.
Here are some of our all-time favorite hikes across Japan.
One of Chiba prefectures’ most popular mountains, Mount Nokogiri stands at 329 meters high. It’s located between Futtsu and Kyonan in the Awa area of Chiba.
One of the most characteristic features of Mount Nokogiri is the sawtoothed profile, hence why it is called “saw mountain”. The area is made up of jagged cliffs and unusually shaped rocks.
Mount Nokogiri is also known for the giant granite Buddha, carved in 1783 into the side of the mountain. It is one of the largest Buddhas in Japan, standing 31 meters high. The Buddha is located in the Nihon-ji temple, at the southern base of the mountain.
The ascent to the peak takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is a long stairway leading to Nihon-ji temple. Many visitors also choose to take the ropeway and then explore from the top of the ropeway station. At the top there are a few services, you can even enjoy food at the nearby restaurant.
Around an hour away from Tokyo, this is one of many hikes near Tokyo that you can enjoy this autumn.
Another popular hiking area close to Tokyo is Mount Oyama. This mountain, located in Kanagawa prefecture, stands much taller at 1600 meters. It’s quieter in comparison to some of the other popular peaks near the big city.
The autumn leaves are particularly breathtaking around Mount Oyama, where you’ll be able to catch a beautiful landscape of golden yellows and deep reds on a hike. You’ll also walk past multiple power spots since this sacred mountain has significant religious importance.
Like Mount Nokogiri, you can also choose to take a ropeway if the hike isn’t accessible to you. There are different stops so you can skip the tougher parts of the hike and walk from the ropeway station. Alternatively, you can get off at the Oyama Afuri Shrine.
Expect to have to walk up plenty of stairs – but that is part of the fun too! There are various walking trails you can choose to reach the peak. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete.
Ozegahara, also known as the Oze Marsh, is a unique hiking area in the Oze National Park in Fukushima prefecture. It’s one of the best spots for autumn colors in Fukushima when the grasses turn yellow and red. With various hiking trails, it is a great place for hikers of all abilities, you can take long day hikes or choose a shorter trail.
Hiking in Ozegahara feels like you are on another planet at times due to the marshlands. There are wide boardwalks helping hikers cross the marshes and walk around the Ozenuma pond.
The marshland is about 1400 meters above sea level. At each end of the large marshes, you can see the impressive mountains of Shibutsusan and Hiuchigatake.
Those looking for a hiking challenge will certainly find one in Mount Tanigawa. Known as the ‘Everest of the East’, Mount Tanigawa stands at 1977 meters. It is located on the border between Niigata and Gunma prefecture. The mountain has also been named the ‘mountain of death’ due to the number of lives that have been lost on the mountain.
Thankfully there are some safer routes you can climb in the summer months and early autumn. There are some day hike routes accessible from Doai station for those wanting a more simple route. You can also take the Tanigawadake Ropeway to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors without walking!
The views from around Mount Tanigawa are particularly stunning in the autumn months. It’s a place where you can truly take in the vastness of the trees and foliage as you look out to seas of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. The colors are at their best in mid-October.
Another area that is wonderful for hikes in the autumn is in Tochigi prefecture. Located in the northeast part of Nikko National Park, Mount Nasu is the name of a group of volcanoes including Sanbonyari Peak, Chausu Peak, Asahi Peak, Minamigatsusan, and Kuro-oya Peak. The Chausu Peak, often called Mount Nasu, is one of the most popular areas for hiking.
The contrast between active volcanic land and the autumn foliage is a dramatic sight. There are a variety of different trails across the different peaks that suit all levels of ability. You can also choose to make use of the ropeways in the area. If you take the ropeway to the summit of Mount Chausu, you can walk around the crater and take in the views of the highlands. The best time for the autumn colors is in early and mid-October.
No matter where you are, there are probably some nice walks nearby you can take to spend time outside appreciating the change of seasons, so please make the most of it! If not, then maybe you are considering moving somewhere closer to nature. If you are, please have a look at our rental apartments available across the country.
If you are looking for more hikes, please have a look at some of the top hiking places in Shizuoka, Nagano, Kyushu, and Kansai. Happy hiking!