HIKES IN JAPAN
Japan is an excellent country for hiking and we are spoiled for choice when trying to decide which mountain to climb next. There are hundreds of famous hikes and innumerable books describing routes. Even in Fukuoka Prefecture, where I live, we have at least 50 mountains that offer good walks and several longer-distance hikes along mountain ranges. The highest mountain in this area is only around 1,200 meters, and the distances are obviously nothing like those in the USA, but the views are often spectacular and most places are convenient to reach (even by public transport). In addition, the paths are usually well marked and it’s quite difficult to get lost. Many mountains have local preservation groups that maintain the paths and put up new signs or clear away fallen trees.
When I go hiking, I usually go alone because I like to have complete freedom about where to go and when to stop. I will sometimes run along a path if I feel the urge and I will often stop for 10 or 20 minutes to take photos of some bugs! However, Japanese people seem to like hiking in groups and it’s not unusual (in fact it’s very common) to meet groups of 20 or more elderly hikers. The average age of hikers in Japan seems to be pretty old and some of them are in their seventies and eighties – very impressive!!
I’m slowly trying to put together a collection of hiking reports and, as and when I finish each one, I will add a link to it on this page. Most of the hikes I do are in Fukuoka Prefecture, but there will also occasionally be a hike somewhere else in Japan. I will try to include information on getting to the mountain and a general guide to the route. I will also put links to other information on the Internet (usually in Japanese). However, the best sources of information are mountain guidebooks in Japanese such as the excellent series by Yamakei Publishers (www.yamakei.co.jp). The only book that I’ve come across in English is the Lonely Planet book Hiking in Japan, but it just covers the most famous walks and has only one hike in Fukuoka Prefecture! However, it is a really excellent book and well worth purchasing.
Jouyama (369m) : Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture
Kasagiyama (425m) : Miyata, Fukuoka Prefecture
Yukawa-san (471m) : Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture