Yes we all know the international borders are closed to us but there's no harm in dreaming. And one place we are dreaming about is Japan. And not the Japan you night know – of futuristuc cities and high speed trains.
We're dreaming of a slower Japan, one where you can get back to nature and we think we just found the perfect spot.
Gifu Prefecture – just a few hours from Tokyo – is home to the North Japanese Alps, hundreds of waterways, and some of the most stunning hiking trails across all of the country. Here are our top three picks.
Hike Mt. Norikura, North Japanese Alps Mt. Norikura is the collective name of the 23 mountains that make up a portion of the North Japanese Alps in Gifu Prefecture. The highest peak – Kengamine – sits at 3,026M.
Hikers can make the full climb from the base of the range, but in actuality, the Kengamine can be reached easily from the highest road in Japan - the Norikura Skyline. The hike from the Tatamidaira, at the end of the Norikura Skyline, only takes about 1.5hr, but the views are well worth the effort.
Traverse Hida Osaka Falls, Gero City Located at the foot of live volcano, Mt. Ontake, is Osaka-cho, a 'Forest of Water' that forms part of Gero City. This dense forest area is famed for being the town with the most waterfalls in Japan.
Home to 216 waterfalls, all stretching over 5M tall, the area makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy novel. There are 14 hiking trails to take you deep into the lush forest, over half of which are considered advanced and require the hiring of a guide to traverse.
Explore the mystical forests of Goshikighara, Chūbu Sangaku NP Goshikigahara Forest lays at the foot of Mt. Norikura and covers an expansive 3,0r00 hectares of the Chūbu Sangaku National Park’s southernmost edge.
The forest is home to a diverse ecosystem with enormous waterfalls, ravines, clear rivers, ponds, and even wetlands. In order to preserve the precious environments of the forest, visitors must be accompanied by an official guide, and tours are offered from mid-May through the end of October annually.
Three walking courses serve up 8hr hikes, including the Kamoshika (antelope) course that connects seven waterfalls, the Shirabiso (silver fir tree) course that meanders a landscape of water and mossy rocks, and the Gosuwara (lava plateau) course that traverses the primeval forest.
For more info on Gifu click here.