16 Easy Kid-Friendly Trails For Hiking In Japan

Wanna take your kids out on a hiking adventure? We’ve curated a list of kid-friendly trails for hiking in Japan so you can go hiking in Japan with kids. Check it out!

Embarking on a hiking adventure with your children can be an unforgettable experience that connects them with nature and fosters a love for outdoor exploration. 

Japan, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, is home to a variety of hiking trails suitable for families with young kids. 

From enchanting bamboo groves and iconic shrines to picturesque waterfalls, these easily accessible trails offer an opportunity for children to learn, discover, and appreciate the natural wonders around them. 

In this article, we will delve into the details of some of the best kid-friendly hiking trails in Japan.

Which is the best kid-friendly trail in Japan?

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine trail is the best kid-friendly trail in Japan. The hike winds through thousands of vermilion torii gates, creating a magical atmosphere that kids will love exploring. The path is mostly paved and steadily inclined, making it manageable for young children. There are plenty of rest stops and stalls selling snacks and drinks scattered along the way. The main shrine offers stunning views of Kyoto and a sense of accomplishment for reaching the top.

Best Kid-Friendly Trails For Hiking in Japan

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Trail, Kyoto

Nestled within the scenic Arashiyama district of Kyoto, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Trail presents a magical experience for both young adventurers and adults alike. 

As you wander through the trail, you’ll be enveloped by towering bamboo groves, creating a serene and otherworldly ambiance. The pathway is flat and well-maintained, making it ideal for strollers and young hikers. 

Along the way, families can explore nearby attractions such as the ancient Tenryuji Temple and the charming Arashiyama Monkey Park.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Trail, Kyoto

The Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for its thousands of vibrant red torii gates, offers a unique hiking experience that will captivate the imagination of children. 

Although the entire trail is quite long, the initial section leading up to the halfway point is relatively easy and suitable for kids. 

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The path is paved, providing a comfortable and accessible journey. As you stroll beneath the striking torii gates, children will be enchanted by the mystical atmosphere and the adorable fox statues believed to be the messengers of the Shinto god, Inari.

Takao-san Trail, Tokyo

Situated just outside Tokyo, Mount Takao (Takao-san) is a favored hiking destination that boasts a range of trails suitable for families. 

Well-marked and offering varying levels of difficulty, these paths cater to the preferences of young hikers. Children can choose between gentle slopes and moderate inclines, tailoring the experience to their abilities. 

Mount Takao is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, and families can relish scenic vistas, visit the monkey park to observe playful primates, or opt for a cable car ride for a more leisurely ascent or descent.

Shiraito Falls Trail, Shizuoka

Located near the iconic Mount Fuji, the Shiraito Falls trail presents a spectacular natural wonder alongside an easy hiking route perfect for families. The trail leading to the falls spans approximately one kilometer, offering a manageable trek for children. 

As you make your way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the cascading falls, surrounded by verdant foliage. The awe-inspiring sight is a feast for the senses and an excellent opportunity for children to witness the power and beauty of nature up close.

Oirase Stream Trail, Aomori

Located in Aomori Prefecture, the Oirase Stream Trail offers a serene and picturesque hiking experience for families. The trail follows the crystal-clear waters of the Oirase River, meandering through a lush forest filled with vibrant foliage. 

The path is well-maintained and mostly flat, making it suitable for children of all ages. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming waterfalls, tranquil ponds, and wooden bridges that add to the enchanting atmosphere. 

The trail also features informative signboards that educate young hikers about the local flora and fauna.

Momijidani Park, Hiroshima

Nestled at the base of Mount Misen in Hiroshima, Momijidani Park is a delightful hiking destination for families. The park is renowned for its stunning autumn foliage, earning it the nickname “Maple Valley.” 

The hiking trails within the park are gentle and kid-friendly, offering an opportunity to witness the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. The picturesque surroundings, serene streams, and wooden bridges create a captivating atmosphere that kids will adore. 

Families can also take a ropeway or hike to the summit of Mount Misen for breathtaking panoramic views.

Nikko National Park, Tochigi

Nikko National Park, located in Tochigi Prefecture, is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural heritage. 

The park offers several family-friendly hiking trails suitable for kids. One popular trail leads to the iconic Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its ornate architecture.

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The trail is well-paved and surrounded by towering cedar trees, providing a peaceful and shaded hiking experience. 

Children will enjoy exploring the shrine complex and learning about Japanese history and culture.

Sandankyo Gorge Trail, Hiroshima

For families seeking a more adventurous hiking experience, the Sandankyo Gorge Trail in Hiroshima is an excellent choice. The trail takes you through a stunning gorge with towering cliffs, emerald-green waters, and picturesque waterfalls. 

While some sections may be a bit challenging for younger children, there are plenty of easier parts to enjoy. 

Families can hike to the first waterfall, Tendaki, which is accessible and offers a rewarding sight. The surrounding nature and the sound of rushing water create a serene and captivating atmosphere.

Yakushima Forest Trails, Kagoshima

Yakushima, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Kagoshima Prefecture, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. The island is renowned for its ancient cedar forests, mystical moss-covered landscapes, and unique wildlife. 

Yakushima offers a range of family-friendly hiking trails suitable for kids. The Yakusugi Land trail is particularly popular, providing an opportunity to witness the majestic Yakusugi cedar trees, some of which are thousands of years old. 

The trail is well-marked, and children will enjoy walking amidst the towering giants and experiencing the magical ambiance of the forest.

Lake Chuzenji Trail, Tochigi

Nestled in Nikko National Park, Lake Chuzenji offers a picturesque setting for a family hike. The trail encircles the tranquil lake, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the crystal-clear waters. 

The path is well-maintained and relatively flat, making it suitable for children. Along the way, families can appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons, including cherry blossoms in spring and vibrant foliage in autumn. 

The trail also passes by the iconic Kegon Falls, where kids can marvel at the cascading waters from a designated viewpoint.

Aso Kuju National Park, Kumamoto and Oita

Aso Kuju National Park, spanning Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures, offers diverse landscapes and family-friendly hiking options. 

The Kusasenri-ga-hama trail is a recommended choice for kids, featuring vast grasslands and panoramic views of the iconic Aso caldera. 

The trail is relatively flat and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, making it an ideal location for a leisurely walk. Families can enjoy a picnic amidst the open fields, fly kites, or even spot wild horses that roam the area.

Kamikochi Valley, Nagano

Nestled in the Northern Japan Alps of Nagano Prefecture, Kamikochi Valley is a nature lover’s paradise. The valley offers a range of family-friendly hiking trails amidst a stunning alpine landscape. 

The Azusa River Trail is a popular option, following the pristine river and passing by picturesque bridges. The trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, allowing kids to enjoy the beauty of the valley without much difficulty. 

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Families can relish the fresh mountain air, encounter wildlife such as monkeys and deer, and be captivated by the majestic peaks that surround them.

Oze National Park, Gunma, Fukushima, Tochigi, and Niigata

Oze National Park, spanning across multiple prefectures including Gunma, Fukushima, Tochigi, and Niigata, offers a pristine and untouched natural environment perfect for family hikes. The park boasts a variety of trails suitable for children, such as the Oze Numayama Kogen Trail. 

This trail takes you through picturesque marshlands and grassy plains, providing an opportunity to spot wildflowers and unique wildlife. 

Families can enjoy the tranquil surroundings and learn about the importance of conservation while immersing themselves in the breathtaking landscapes of Oze.

Shirakami Sanchi, Aomori and Akita

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Shirakami Sanchi in Aomori and Akita Prefectures offers an unforgettable hiking experience for families. The Anmon Falls Trail is a great choice for kids, offering a moderate hike through lush forests and along crystal-clear streams. 

The trail culminates in a series of beautiful waterfalls that children will delight in seeing. Along the way, families can appreciate the region’s rich biodiversity and encounter unique flora and fauna, including the native beech trees that give the area its distinctive character.

Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido

For families looking to explore the natural wonders of Hokkaido, the Shiretoko Peninsula is a must-visit destination. The Shiretoko Nature Trail provides a gentle hike that offers stunning coastal views and a chance to observe wildlife. 

Children will be thrilled to spot seals, sea birds, and if you’re lucky, even glimpse a brown bear from a safe distance. The trail is well-maintained and features informative signboards that educate hikers about the peninsula’s delicate ecosystem. 

Exploring Shiretoko’s untamed beauty will leave a lasting impression on both kids and adults alike.

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, Wakayama

While the Kumano Kodo trails may have a long history as pilgrimage routes, they also offer family-friendly hiking opportunities. The Nakahechi Trail, in particular, provides a manageable hike suitable for children. 

This trail winds through ancient forests, past picturesque villages, and leads to sacred shrines and tranquil oases. 

Families can immerse themselves in the spiritual and cultural heritage of the region while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds them. The trail is well-marked, and various accommodations and facilities cater to the needs of hikers.

Conclusion

Japan’s diverse landscapes present a multitude of hiking trails that cater to families with children, allowing them to embark on memorable outdoor adventures. 

Whether it’s exploring the untouched wilderness of Oze National Park or hiking through the sacred paths of Kumano Kodo, each trail offers unique experiences and opportunities for young hikers to connect with nature and learn about Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

By venturing into these family-friendly hiking trails, you and your children will create cherished memories and foster a lifelong appreciation for the great outdoors. 

So, pack your backpacks, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Japan’s breathtaking landscapes with your little explorers.

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