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Walking Holidays in Japan

Self-guided walking holidays in Japan are an amazing way to discover authentic Japan. There is so much to discover and so many highlights that people are often overwhelmed with choice.  While visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are a must, there is nothing like getting off the train high in the mountains after a week in Tokyo and experiencing the serene, deep calm.  Walking allows you to slow down, experience rural life and a more traditional side of Japan, staying in some of the most beautiful and simple guesthouses you will ever stay in. 

Walk the 11th century Kumano Kodo pilgrim’s trail through rural Japan to the three grand shrines of Kumano. There is also the immensely popular Shikoku Pilgrim Trail, where you walk from temple to temple on one of Japan's stunning islands. Alternatively, walk the Nakasendo Trail through rural Japan through the central mountains of Japan. A hiking route used since feudal times as an ancient highway that linked Kyoto and Tokyo through Japan's central mountains. 

Since 2013, Macs Adventure has been helping hikers head to walk the trip of a lifetime in Japan. With the freedom to create your own itinerary and the knowledge that our team have the expertise to tailor-make this trip to perfectly suit you, you can book your Japanese walking holiday with confidence. 

Our Japan Walking Range

Discover Japan

  • Why Book your Walking Holiday in Japan with Macs Adventure
    Why Book your Walking Holiday in Japan with Macs Adventure

    Macs Adventure has been running self guided walking holidays in Japan since 2013.  Japan has such a unique culture and customs, but also a completely unique terrain that we wanted to find trips where hikers could immerse themselves and find the Japan of their dreams. 

    We now send over 300 walkers to Japan every year, tailoring their trips to get exactly the experience they would like. We provide the freedom to choose your route, itinerary and travel companions and to discover Japan at your own pace.  

    We know how daunting it can be, heading out to a country with such different ways, but we knew from experience how important it is to have amazing partners on the ground in Japan to deal with any issues that you might come across.  We are proud to say that our Japanese team are outstanding and should you have the slightest issue, they will fall over themselves to help you out, whether it is simply asking which bus to take or something more serious. 

    We offer a flexible, tailor-made Japanese walking experience that gets you in comfortable, friendly overnight accommodation in a mix of hotels and traditional Japanese Minshuku and Ryokan (guesthouses). We plan out as much as we can, so that you can spend your time exploring exactly what you want to see in Japan. You can book with confidence that we have it all covered for you. 

    We want to showcase our expertise, by giving you all the resources you will ever need.  In the planning stage, we have free guides, comprehensive videos and a host of staff with their own Japanese walking experience, waiting to answer your questions. On the route, we use high-quality digital mapping as well as the best maps and guidebooks to make sure you find your way.  

    We love Japan and our main aim is to make sure that you do too.  

  • Cultural Tips for Visiting Japan
    Cultural Tips for Visiting Japan

    People often worry about causing offence and upset when visiting Japan. While the Japanese people are incredibly kind and forgiving, here are a few cultural tips to get you started.  

    Shoes - Removing your shoes when entering someone's house, or the occasional place of business is good manners. When you are on a walking holiday in Japan, in the more traditional accommodations, Minshuku and Ryokan, you will remove your shoes at the front door and be provided with slippers for the duration of your stay.  You wear these everywhere indoors, with the exception of the toilet, where there is a special pair of toilet slippers.  It sounds very rigid and complex but is actually great fun.  

    Bowing - Shaking hands is not really a thing in Japan.  Some people will offer to shake hands out of respect for your culture, but in general, bowing is the way to go. It is a lovely experience to step onto the streets of Tokyo for the first time and see groups of people bowing to each other. It makes you realise where you are and it shows great respect when a foreigner takes on aspects of Japanese culture. It is generally only a short bow from the waist, but deeper bows show more respect. 

    Chopstick Etiquette - Chopsticks or Hashi (箸) in Japanese are used everywhere.  You can always ask for a fork if you are struggling (Fōku フォーク) but it is a good idea to learn to use chopsticks before you go. However, just being able to use them is not all you need to know! There are a couple of things to keep in mind.  The main ones are to never stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice/noodles.  If you are taking a break from eating, place your chopsticks on the little rest provided, or on the side of your plate.  The other major no-no is to not pass food from one set of chopsticks to another. Both of these are linked to Japanese funeral rites, where large chopsticks are used and the last thing you want to do is compare the meal someone has cooked to a funeral!

    Mindfulness - Ingrained in the culture of Japan is a wonderful sense of mindfulness. Nobody in Japan does two things at once, everyone focuses on the task at hand.  So, nobody eats and walks at the same time, or smokes and walks at the same time.  There are designated smoking areas and places outside 7-11s where you can eat. Don't speak on the phone and walk, or ride public transport, focus on your phonecall, then carry on with what you need to do.  Small things, but worth replicating in the Western world.  

    Onsen Etiquette - Onsens are the (often natural spring) hot baths that Japanese people love. Onsens are a deep part of the culture and while we could write a book about Onsen rules, there are some basics to always obey.  Intense showering must be done before entering the bath.  The purpose of the bath is to relax, not to wash, so take a seat on the little stool and get washing. While everyone showers together (separated by gender of course) you do have a tiny towel with you should you wish to protect your modesty, and when you bathe, it is good form to sit this little towel on your head.  It also comes in handy to wipe away sweat while in the bath, they are HOT, usually 40-43 degrees centigrade, but after the first couple of uncomfortable minutes, it becomes an act of pure bliss, particularly after a day's walking.  

    Japan is a cultural experience and there genuinely is no better way to experience it than to take a hike out into the less-travelled parts of the country.  

  • Whistlestop Tour of Japan

    Laura visited Japan, taking in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and parts of the Nakasendo Trail and Kumano Kodo. This video shows you a little bit of what it is like to experience the crazy and calm side of this multi-faceted, wonderful country. 

  • Walking the Nakasendo Trail

    The Nakasendo Trail is the old road between Tokyo and Kyoto. This video shows you what it is like to walk this glorious trail, to escape to the serenity of the mountains and walk through tiny feudal towns, experiencing rural Japan, its outstanding hospitality and its incredible beauty. 

  • Walking the Kumano Kodo

    The Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrimage through the mountains south of Osaka, to the Pacific Ocean.  The route takes you through some incredibly scenic parts of rural Japan, allowing you time to walk at your own pace and drink in the natural, untouched beauty of the Japanese Countryside. 

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