Hiking Distance: 4 - 13 km
Time: 1-2 Days
Elevation Gain: 220m - 610m
The Best Multi-day Hikes Near
Kyoto & Osaka
Kyoto and Osaka are major destinations for expats, students, and travellers, but most of us don't own a car, so here's a list of the best multi-day hikes accessible by public transport. There are a lot of mountains in Kansai, so we'll update this page if new contenders are found, this list is showcasing our favourite multi-day Kansai hikes after exploring the region for many years.
Weather & Seasons
Generally speaking, the best seasons for hiking are mid-spring, summer and autumn. These seasons offer the best scenery as the forests are full of life, with vibrant green landscapes during summer and colourful mountainsides during autumn. Winter can offer some beautiful snowy hiking, but often requires extra gear and knowledge.
The Best Multi-day Hikes Near Kyoto & Osaka
The Kumano Kodo trail is a famous and ancient pilgrimage route in the mountains of Wakayama, located south of Kyoto and Osaka. The trail is over 1000 years old and is said to have been used by all levels of society including Emperors and Warlords. The Nakahechi route is the most popular among pilgrims and features many beautiful shrines and temples, most notably the grand shrines called Kumano Hongu Taisha and the Kumano Nachi Taisha. It also features an ancient onsen town and many accommodation options in between the hiking trails, with regular busses connecting all the routes.
The entire Nakahechi route runs from Tanabe city and ends in Nachi-katsuura, it takes roughly 7 days, but you can view the most famous attractions by hiking just half of the route.
Note: Accommodation often needs to be booked more than 1 month in advance.
Hyonosen is 1,510m tall and the highest mountain in Hyogo prefecture. It's great for hiking year round but is especially beautiful during the autumn period and features a nice mountain hut that hikers can sleep in for free, as well as some lovely campgrounds around the area. There are a few hiking trails, but we will focus on the one that can be most easily accessed with public transport from Kyoto or Osaka. The hike is quite out of the way for most visitors of Japan, so you won't find large crowds or foreigners here.
Mt. Hakkyo is the highest mountain in Kansai and part of the Omine mountain range, accessible from Dorogawa onsen or Tenkawa. It features the Mt. Misen mountain hut for camping and has a variety of trail options. We'll cover two trails here, one is for the bus stop and the other is only accessible with a car. If you're taking the bus you will need to spend at least one night here due to the logistics of public transport. We've included other options but the main focus is on an amazing 3 day hike starting in Tenkawa and finishing in Dorogawa onsen.
One notable mention, the second night is spent camping on Sanjogatake, which is a religious mountain with an ancient custom of not allowing women to enter a specific area. But don't worry, there's an alternative trail for camping on the second day.