When most people think of Japan, they don’t immediately think, outdoor paradise. They likely imagine the glittering lights of Shinjuku or Dotonbori, or perhaps the ancient temples of Kyoto. But make no mistake, Japan is an outdoor destination worth visiting. With 70% of the country mountainous, over 6,000 islands, 326 significant rivers and a unique climate that absolutely dumps snow on the Northwestern mountains, Japan is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Here are some of the reasons you should put Japan on your outdoor adventure travel list.
Japan is a 2,000 kilometer long chain of volcanic islands going from 26 to 43 degrees latitude. It’s the size and climate of a thin strip of the United States from Florida to Maine. It’s also extremely mountainous and wet. Combined, this creates a series of micro climates across the country, each with their unique merits, flora and fauna. It’s no exaggeration to say that on one side of a mountain it could be dumping snow, while the other side is sunny and warm. Areas specialize in their unique activities and culture, influenced heavily by the climate. Though it’s a small country, having so many diverse areas makes Japan feel larger.
There are many incredible outdoor destinations around the world. Japan’s unique selling point is that on top of beautiful scenery and fun activities, it offers a cultural depth and refinement that many locations lack. On top of that, each area’s unique food culture offers different cuisines and specialties as you travel across the country. A hot spring onsen at the end of a long day of skiing or hiking is a must, as well as a traditional Kaisei style dinner in a traditional inn wearing your yukata (kind of like a kimono). There is so much to learn about Japan that it keeps you coming back for more.
Diversity of Activities
The micro climates also add to the diversity of activities year round. In the Winter Japan’s entire Northwestern side is covered in snow, offering skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and other winter activities. In the summer, there are beaches, surfing, snorkeling, sea kayaking, diving, camping, rafting and more. The summer also offers the most events such as festivals so make sure to check them out. The spring, of course, is famous for its cherry blossoms, and an array of beautiful flowers blooming from February to May. Autumn, perhaps lesser known is gorgeous in its own right with the mountains painted red, orange, yellow and brown. Weather-wise, the best time for hiking, walking or just general sight-seeing are the Spring and Autumn because of the milder weather. All this means that any time you visit Japan, you are certain to find something awesome to do!