JULY 2017 – With a wild side so diverse and a fascinating culture to match, the far rural corners of Japan provide an adventurers paradise. From the rugged landscapes of Hokkaido to the sub-tropical reefs of Okinawa, Japan makes the top of travel bucket lists throughout the year, and here are five reasons why:
1. Stunning scenery
Japan’s stunning landscapes offer breathtaking seasonal views. From treks across Hokkaido’s fresh powdery snowscapes with the Hokkaido Snow Tour, to the summer Hokkaido Hike journey from Lake Akan through central Hokkaido to the Daisetsuzan National Park and onto Lake Shikotsu-ko, the vast regions of Japan present us with wonderful experiences against some iconic backdrops. Travellers on the Hokkaido Hike trek across Japan’s wilderness, passing through remote verdant forests to mountain peaks to witness the panoramic views stretching for miles around. Travellers in search of less remote regions can join the Izu Geo Trail, which showcases the scenic Izu Peninsula and features views of the spectacular Mt. Fuji.
2. Oceanside Escapades
From the finest and freshest sushi on the planet to immersive waterborne experiences, Walk Japan offers a number of unique oceanside experiences. The Yaeyama: Okinawa Voyage tour is perfect for those who enjoy being in and on the water; where the primary mode of transportation is swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding. For the freshest seafood, a visit to Japan’s coastal city of Izu with Walk Japan’s Izu Geo Trail showcases the local fishermen’s daily catch including spider crabs, lobster, red squid, red snapper and the splendid alfonsino, a delicious if curiously named fish. Walk Japan’s expertise and personal connections with the locals built over the years offers guests the most authentic experiences while wandering Japan’s seaside villages.
3. Active Volcanoes
One tenth of the world’s volcanoes are found in Japan and many of which are active. The Winter Nakasendo Way tour leads walkers to spectacular views of Mt. Ontake-san, both a sacred peak and an active volcano. The Hokkaido Hike involves an ascent of two active volcanoes, Mt. Asahi-dake and (2,291m) and Mt. Tokachi-dake (2,077m), while the East Hokkaido Walk takes us to one of Japan’s most beautiful crater lakes, Mashu-ko.
4. The Wildlife
From tropical fish and birds of prey to uncommon feline species and wild bears, Japan is an environement rich in wildlife. The forests and mangroves that cover 90 percent of Iriomote feature in the Yaeyama: Okinawa Voyage tour and are home to the Iriomote-yamaneko, one of the rarest wild cats alive today. Ishigaki, Iriomote’s neighbouring island, is surrounded by sub-tropical waters inhabited by more than 120 types of coral and over 300 species of tropical fish. In the far north, at the other end of the Japanese archipelago, the East Hokkaido Walk presents an abundance of wildlife including the deer, foxes, seals, dolphins, sea eagles and numerous other species of bird.
5. Walking for Thrills
A range of Walk Japan tours offer travellers the opportunity to experience Japan’s striking high altitude mountain trails. Thrill seekers looking for a challenges at higher altitudes can set the heart racing by climbing one of Japan’s highest peaks, Mt. Asahi-dake (2,290m), on the Hokkaido Hike. The Kunisaki Trek does not reach high altitude but the rock scrambling to high ridge walks and precipices in the footsteps of ascetic monks challenges both the heart and mind.