Long Distance Hiking in Japan

I have spent a significant amount of time in Japan, at this point I have hiked various trails from Yakushima all the way to Akita. The parts that I love most about Japan are the small country towns, and the places that are off the beaten path. In 2016 I decided that I wanted to see more of Japan, and experience the beautiful scenery that Japan had to offer. I had done a little hiking in Japan previously, but always along the more popular trails. On these trails I would usually encounter groups of Japanese hikers who were very friendly.  

As a woman, traveling alone can be dangerous. Upon coming back from my trip people were divided into two groups, those that thought I was crazy for hiking alone and the other who understood that my journey was quite safe. This is what I experienced in Japan as well, people where shocked that as woman I was hiking alone. This didn’t surprise me, because even on extremely popular day hikes when I lived in Japan people became surprised that I was willing to hike alone. Constantly I was asked in concerned tones if I was alone, and told how pitiful I looked.

 

Hiking can always be dangerous; I hurt my ankle and leg on this trip. The first time I slid down the mountainside and had to rest for about four days to give my knee time to heel. The second time I had to end my trip because of how badly I hurt my ankle. That being said, I have always felt safe in Japan. I felt safe camping alone at night, trekking alone and even walking to my hotels in the red-light district at night.