Set foot on pathways forged by pilgrims and roads paved by merchants as you explore the rugged wilderness of Japan’s lesser known locations. Our Japan walking tours combine the best of cultural destinations with off-the-beaten-path walking and hiking. From village-to-village discovery through the Kiso Valley, to climbing the volcanic landscape of Kyushu, allow the diversity of Japan’s countryside to unfold before your eyes.
Oku Japan has hiked some of the best routes and compiled them into amazing journeys for you to try for yourself - be they hikes in less trodden corners of the country, or pilgrimages teeming with centuries of history. Journey into the heart of the country as you walk from the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto to the modern metropolis of Tokyo using the Nakasendo Trail. You can also discover the sweeping vistas once inhabited by the indigenous Ainu people of the northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido.
Or why not walk with Kobo-Daishi along the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage, experience spiritual reawakening on the Dewasanzan in Tohoku, or learn the importance of inclusivity on the Kumano Kodo trail? Walking in Japan is made all the more comfortable thanks to the abundance of natural hot springs, and the freshest Japanese food, beautifully prepared by hosts with a fantastic level of service. Anyone can explore Japan off-the-beaten-path.
Fully Tailored Itineraries:
We can also arrange tours to suit your dates or even put together a trip customised to your needs, with or without an element of walking or hiking. Please fill out our enquiry page to discuss your requirements.
In the footsteps of Emperors, our small-group guided walking tour starts in imperial Kyoto before exploring the highlights of the ancient Kumano Kodo Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Enjoy the slow island life on the Setouchi Inland Sea with cycling, kayaking and walking
From Ancient Pilgrimage to Samurai Trails
Walk along the wonderful Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo Trail ending at Hayatama Shrine.
Experience the Nakahechi route walking from Takijiri to Nachi waterfall, visiting the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi along the way
Travel along the full Nakahechi route on the enchanting Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, experience Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi and bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring Ryokan
Volcanic wonders of Kyushu
Dramatic peaks and soothing hot springs of the north
Explore the Nakasendo trail before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore the biodiverse Kamikochi, ending with excellent hiking and Onsen in Oku-Nikko
Enjoy the best forest walks and Juku post towns of the Nakasendo Trail, before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore Kamikochi before arriving in iconic Takayama.
Highlights of the old Edo road through the Kiso Valley region, enabling you to walk from village-to-village along forested trails, overnighting in traditional inns, with excellent local cuisine and baths.
Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai over 3 days of walking in the picturesque Kiso Valley
Walking over 4 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley with overnight stays in Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
Village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail, before visiting Matsumoto with it's historic castle and onward to picturesque Karuizawa
From Tokyo, visit the 'road through the mountains' once traveled by feudal lords, staying in traditional country inns, enjoying exquisite regional cuisine and soak in natural hot springs before ending in Kyoto
Explore the historic and culturally significant hiking trails of lesser-known Kansai
Explore historic Nikko and hike in the beautiful Oku Nikko plains around Yumoto Onsen
Walk on the loveliest parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodgings and the natural baths of Dogo Onsen and Iya Valley
The trail towards enlightenment
Walks parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodging with days of up to 8 hours of hiking
A small-group guided walking tour to Sacred Mount Koya & The Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail, visiting remote Iya Valley, hidden temples and bathing in the natural thermal waters at historic Dogo Onsen
Japan's rugged and remote wilderness
Experience the tranquil magic of winter on the Nakasendo trail with this small-group guided winter tour, visiting beautifully-preserved old post towns in the snowy Kiso Valley
Follow scenic Wakasa bay; the central gateway to the Japan Sea, learning how the flow of water has informed the flora, the fauna and the way of life here, with five gentle hikes or cycles of two to four hours
Learn the festival culture of Tokushima, the Awajishima Island creation myth, and the historic trade route to Kobe, with four gentle hikes of 3-5 hours
Trail walking in the mountains of West Shiga and Fukui prefectures, with four hikes of 1-6 hours