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I'm planning a trip to Japan next year. It will be my first time there. While there, I'll probably spend a few days hitting up the major tourist attractions, but I'd also like to spend some time camping in a mountain.

The obvious choice is Mt. Fuji, but after googling about it, that may not be such a good idea (going to a camp ground that gets 2K campers daily during its peak season seems to defeat the purpose of camping).

Are there any good recommendations for a mountain in Japan which:

  1. Has campgrounds near the peak which usually aren't too crowded
  2. Has a trail that goes to the peak (I don't mind the physical side of it, I just don't hang from ropes and don't plan to)
  3. Stays away from Fukushima, preferably west or south west of Tokyo

I'm okay with travelling off of the mainland as long as there is something like a ferry which can get me to/from the mainland.

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What is Fukishima? –  sawa Apr 14 '12 at 6:24
    
@sawa a mis-spelling of Fukushima, or to be more precise, Fukushima dai-ichi. Westerners find some Japanese words difficult to pronounce and spell. For example, karaoke is pronounced "kareoke". I did a google search, and while there's 16.3 million hits for "Fukushima", there's 90K hits for "Fukashima", 4.8K hits for "Fukeshima", 99K hits for "Fukishima", and 95.5K hits for "Fukoshima". –  Andrew Grimm Apr 14 '12 at 11:36
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Sorry about the spelling mistake. Fixed. –  Dave Apr 14 '12 at 14:03
    
What information sources have made you nervous about visiting areas as far away from Fukushima dai-ichi as Tokyo? If you can state clearly why you are worried about going closer, please ask about it! –  Andrew Grimm Apr 17 '12 at 10:43
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1 Answer

I think the most important thing to take in consideration when picking a place to hike/camp is hot spring access. After a long day's hike, nothing beats a relaxing dip in a hot spring.

There's a lot more places to consider, but here are some to get you started:

The Miyagi prefecture has some great spots like the Naruko spa area. The Naruko hot springs is said to have various healing properties. Lake Katanuma is a good place to consider for hiking, especially in the fall. Here's a list of campgrounds in the area.

There's also Mt. Zaou, located on the Yamagata-Miyagi prefectural border and one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan. Zaou is most famous for its "snow monsters." There's a lot to do and see in Zaou, depending on the season, you can go horseback riding, paragliding, or skiing. At the peak there's Okama Crater Lake (a.k.a. Goshikinuma, "five-color marsh"), whose water changes color hourly. Here's a list of campgrounds in the area.

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Zao Onsen's English language site has a link to information about radiation levels there, which may be of interest to the question asker: zao-spa.or.jp/english/index.html –  Andrew Grimm Apr 25 '12 at 1:35
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