Whether you’re strolling a seaside trail near Cape Kamui in Hokkaido
, a zen pathway in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo
or any of the myriad of tracks in the ancient capital of Kyoto
, there’s no denying the country of Japan has some of the most beautiful walking trails on earth. The act of walking comes with its own lore in Japanese culture: monks were known to walk 50 miles on narrow paths to chant sutras on mountaintops; Shikko
is a traditional method of knee walking used by the Samaurai as a grappling technique; and walking meditation (aka Kinhin
) is still done by Zen practitioners today.
There’s also a healthy hiking culture in Japan – from Yakushima’s giant cedar forests to the Yoshida Trail on Mt Fuji, the country’s highest mountain, locals and visitors alike love to hike Japan for its stunning scenery, unique culture and, of course, well-maintained pathways. The photos below depict different walking trails in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Osaka, and Yakushima. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to hire a local walking guide or hiking guide and see all the secret sites along the way.