There are a lot of hiking trails around the Izu peninsula of varying degrees of difficulty.  The highest point in Izu is in the Mount Amagi range at 1406 meters.

I have done the majority of the hikes in the Izu peninsula and done a large number of hikes in other parts of Japan.  Although other parts of Japan (e.g. Nagano) have more challenging mountains, in Izu you can go for a hike and relax in a seaside hot spring at the end of the day – not a bad way to spend a day.

A hiking trail in the central part of the peninsula.

Hiking trails in Japan can be challenging depending on your background.  Most of it is strictly up / down and many trails are on the narrow site.  Some spots are tricky enough that you have use a ladder, or chain, or rope to continue on.  Most trails around the Izu peninsula are not very difficult compared to elsewhere in Japan but there are some tricky spots.  Check with a local tourist office to be safe.

Generally speaking, the Izu peninsula has fairly mild weather but there are occasionarl storms, typhoons etc. that you need to look out for.  The Japan Meteorological Society’s English website  is quite useful.

Snow is fairly rare in winter and the temperature does not dip below zero that often around the coasts although it is a bit colder in the central mountains. Even at the highest point of the peninsula in the Mount Amagi range (1406 meters) there usually only snow for a few days in winter.  Having said that, the last time I climbed it was a week or go after it had snowed and the snow had melted and re-frozen which was a bit tricky.  This is not a regular occurrence though. 

The rainy season in June is actually not day after day of heavy rain. It is cloudy and rains quite often but there are days where there is no rain or only a bit or rain.

 After the rainy season ends the temperature and humidity ramp up and you need to make sure you stay hydrated especially if you are active.  Some places like the north / south hiking trail that passes by Darumaya are quite exposed to the weather in many spots and you need to take bit more care in summer and winter.

Hiking in the Darumayama area.

There are a few basic maps available from local tourist offices.  If you want to purchase a better map the gold standard by far is the YamaMountain and Plateau (Yama to Kougen) Map series (やまと高原地図) which has maps for all of the major hiking areas of Japan.  Map number 31 (山と高原地図 伊豆 天城山) is the hiking map that covers the Izu peninsula.  These Japanese-language maps can be purchased at many major bookstores and at some outdoors stores.   There is also an app made by the same company – each map is 500 yen each.  The app can show you where you are on the map and there is also a function to trace your progress on the map – it basically highlights the route you have taken until you turn it off.  The app may not be available outside of Japan though. Both the map and the app are only in Japanese – there is just not enough demand to publish the maps in other languages.

If you scroll down the page on this website you will find a list of commonly-used words on maps in Japanese and in English. 

There is a highly detailed topographical map of the whole country online.  This link shows the Izu peninsula (in Japanese).  You can switch the map to English and some places are labelled but the map has far less resolution with this setting unfortunately.  Changes some of the other settings also reduce the resolution.

Some trails have great views of Mt. Fuji.

The All Trails website has some information as well.

As far as the hiking trails, many of the major trails have signage in English. 

There are additional signs along some trails that are not translated and there are a few minor trails where everything is written only in Japanese. Having some basic outdoor navigational skills becomes more important if language may be an issue -don’t get in over your head.

The hiking gear you need in Japan isn’t much different from what you might expect anywhere else with a few exceptions. 

  • You will see far fewer full leather hiking boots in Japan.  Most people (including myself) rely on boots that are a combination of Gore-Tex / leather.  The humidity is pretty rough on leather and breathability is important. Given the steep nature of some hikes (most of the flatter land in Japan is occupied by people ) good grip is essential.  Hiking poles can help too.
  • The heat and humidity of the summer means wicking clothing is a must.
  • If you are hiking in the rainy season (which is certainly doable although not that popular) rain gear and solid footwear is essential.   
  • Even in warmer times of the year a set of hiking gloves can come in handy.  Some hiking trails have ladders / chains / ropes that need to use to get up and down and a bit of extra grip is worth the cost and weight.  The majority of hikes around the peninsula are not that demanding but check with a local tourist office beforehand.

More detailed hiking trip information will be posted in blog posts but there are a few main hiking areas around the Izu peninsula:

  • The Numazu Alps
  • Around Panorama Park / Katsuragi Mountain
  • Darumayama – Nishina pass – Hatcho lake
  • Amagi mountain range trails
  • Jogasaki coast
  • Coastal trails on the west part of the peninsula