• Pages 400
  • Language English
  • Author Tom Fay and Wes Lang
  • First Published 2019
  • Weight 460 grams
  • Cost $41.75

The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji

Guide Book

The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji Book Review

The first thing you notice about this guidebook from UK based publisher Cicerone, is the weight – it is 460 grams and so is on the heavier end of the scale when compared to the Kumano Kodo guide book we recently reviewed (which is 270 grams). Having said that, this is a ‘catch all’ type of guidebook that covers the northern, central and southern Alps of Japan rather than just one specific area.

Aside from the weight, this guidebook is typical of the style that Cicerone produces being a nice compact size of 17.2 x 11.6 x 2.1 cm. Why other publishers don’t use a similar sizing I’ll never know because for those of us who are carrying our worldly goods in a backpack, it just makes so much sense.

This guidebook, as mentioned, pretty well covers the Japanese Alps and you could be forgiven in thinking this is a large area. When you look at the map below that shows the area covered, it’s actually quite small, relatively speaking.

The walks covered in this book vary and what surprised me was instead of walks being hundred of kilometres long, the majority of walks are around the 5-25 km mark with the odd long walk ranging up to 60+ km. So in this respect it’s similar to many Australian based guidebooks and discusses hikes that are suitable for all levels of hikers. Like other Cicerone guidebooks I have reviewed, the background information you need to get to Japan, to organise accommodation and to do the walks is all there.

While each book is unique, Ciccerone has a formula for their guidebooks that caters for the specifics of the walk. As part of the formula there isn’t an index which from my perspective is a shortcoming – I just find it easier to negotiate a book when I can go to a specific piece of information that doesn’t quite fit into a specific category. The second negative is the limited information on flora and fauna, but in all honesty to do this information justice, it would be likely to make this book excessively large.

I have Japan on my list of hiking at some stage in the future and this book is certainly an excellent resource for both planning and implementation.

Chapter Headings

  • Map key
    Overview map
  • Introduction
  • Preparation and practicalities
    • When to go
    • Getting to Japan
    • Getting around Japan
    • Rail passes
    • Accomodation
    • Mountain huts and camping
    • Food and drink
    • Hot springs
    • Money
    • Communication
    • Language
    • Tourist information offices
    • What to take
    • Luggage forwarding
    • Maps and GPS
    • Waymarking
    • The typical hiking day
    • Mountain etiquette
    • Health and safety
    • Emergencies
    • Using this guide
  • All about the Japan Alps and Mount Fuji
    • Location and climate
    • Geology and landscape
    • Plants and wildlife
    • History of hiking in Japan
  • The North (Kita)
    • Hakuba Area
      • Walk 1 Mt Shirouma-dake
      • Trek 1 Mt Shirouma-dake and Hakuba-Yari Onsen
    • Tateyama Area
      • Walk 2 Mt Tateyama
      • Walk 3 Mt Oku-dainichgi-dake
      • Trek 2 Mt Tsurugi-dake
      • Trek 3 North Alps traverse
    • Hotaka Area
  • Norikura Area
    • Walk 6 Mt Noriuk-dake
  • The Central (Chuo Alps)
    • Mt Kiso-koma-ga-take
    • Central Alps Traverse
  • The South (Minami) Alps
    • North Area
      • Walk 8 Kai-koma-ga-take
      • Walk 9 Mt Senjo-ga-take
      • Trek 9 Mt Kita-dake
      • Trek 10 Mt Ho-o
    • South Area
      • Trek 11 Mt Arakawa-Higashidake (Mt Warusawa-dake) and Mt Akaishi-dake
      • Trek 12 Mt Kamikochi and Mt Hijiri-dake
      • Ttek 13 South Alps traverse
    • MT FUJI
      • Walk 10 Mt Fuji – Yoshida route
      • Walk 11 Mt Fuji – Subashiri route
      • Walk 12 Mt Fuji – Fujinomiya
      • Walk 13 Mt Fuji – Fujinomiya route
      • Walk 14 Mt Kuro-dake
  • Appendix A Route summary table – walks
  • Appendix B Route summary table – treks
  • Appendix C Mountain huts
  • Appendix D Glossary
  • Appendix E Useful contacts and further resources
  • Appendix F Further reading

We Like

  • Well set out and easy to follow
  • Allows you to do the detailed planning for this trip
  • A good balance of text/maps/photos that are all relevant and not just space fillers
  • A good size book that won’t take up a lot of space in your pack. Cicerone’s size format is well thought out

We Don't Like

  • I would have appreciated a basic index but realise this would have added extra weight and pages
  • The bird/animal identifications, and plant identifications are pretty much non existent
  • One of Cicerone’s heavier guide books at 460 grams
  • A little expensive but you should be able to fund it on sale

Buy One

You can purchase The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji book from Amazon Australia or Amazon USA

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!


AUD $41.75 RRP

Map showing the areas covered within the book

Japan Alps and Mount Fuji front cover

The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji back cover

The Japan Alps and Mount Tsurugi-Dake Elevation map

The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji map page

Walk 7 – Mt Kiso-Koma-Ga-Take information, photo and map


This review was done with product provided for review by the publisher

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