Hiking in Aomori: What percentage of Japan is mountainous?

26 Sep
Nakuidake (名久井岳)

Nakuidake (名久井岳)

What percentage of Japan is mountainous?  About 75 percent.  When I grew up in Tokyo, it was hard to believe that.  Tokyo is very urban, crowded, and busy, as you’ve seen on TV.  But the majority of Japan actually looks more like Aomori, a prefecture I now live.  Japan is a country where the mountains cover the majority of the earth surface.

As you drive around Aomori, you see mountains in all directions.  Nakuidake (名久井岳)is one of many mountains in Aomori, located in south-east of the prefecture.  It has long been considered as “shintaizan” (meaning a sacred mountain) by the locals, and there are several temples at the foot of it.   When you look at the wide and beautiful mountain range, you can see why it has been a special mountain to the people of this region.

The other day I decided to climb Nakuidake (615m) from the bottom-up, although there was an option to drive to the half way point and climb from there.  Among the several trails I chose the one starting from Hōkō-ji, a historical temple built in 1669.


As soon as the hike began, I realized that it’d not be an easy hike.  The trail was very steep and slippery.  Soon the wooden steps disappeared, but the steep climb continued for the next 2 hours.

Nakuidake 5

The view from the half way point was pretty.  The sky was clear and the pale blue mountain range in the distance reminded me of West Virginia.  After another hour of climbing, I finally arrived at the summit.  Two Japanese men were there, looking as exhausted and relieved as I was.  One of them asked me to take a photo of him with the view of Aomori in the background.  Smiling widely at the camera, he seemed very happy to have reached the summit.  So was I.





One Response to “Hiking in Aomori: What percentage of Japan is mountainous?”


  1. Japanese Love of Kouyou, Autumn Leaves in Aomori | Discover Japan - October 31, 2013

    […] Hiking in Aomori: What percentage of Japan is mountainous? ( […]

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