Japan climbing is better than you think!
Known for it's culture and hardcore rock climbers, Japan is an amazing and beautiful country. Mount Fuji -- which my friends is a dead volcano -- is very well know but the rest of the Japanese Alps are a sight to be seen. The sheer amount of rock in Japan is staggering. The most popular areas in the country are generally over used, but there are more than enough areas to go around. There are also many, many areas yet to be made public that are being developed now, with many years of climbing in those areas alone. But hey, if you're a weekday climber like me, you've got the place to yourself most of the time.
Japan offers all types of volcanic rock and some granite. Routes from 1000 meter alpine lines to 12 meter 5.15's. The bouldering scene -- sure hope none of them want to really climb -- is most popular. In the Tokyo area there are over 20 bouldering spots. Many of these bouldering areas contain three to five boulders. This has to mainly do with the density of climbers in the Tokyo Prefecture.
The Japanese pride themselves as much in their politeness as they do in their comitment and determination to attaining a goal. There is a large population of climbers here that start climbing after retirement. Many of these climbers climb five days a week, only in an indoor gym and well into the 5.12+ range. Japan has around 200 climbing gyms as well.
Thanks to the Japanese Free-Climbers Association many of the popular climbing areas see new gear often. With this said there are many areas that are in desperate need of new gear.
A note on grades. There are two Japanese bouldering grade systems used. In the Toyota area the Toyota system is used. That system is an -a,b,c,d,e,f,g system with a being the easiest and increasing the difficulty with each letter. Everywhere else the kyu/dan (Ogawayama) system is used. Everywhere you go climbers know the V-scale and will gladly give you the sandbagged conversion. The Ogawayama system is a number system where the higher the number the easier. The numbers stop at 1 then 1-dan numbers start until 5-dan. Next is the Wheel of Life, most difficult grade. This system will be more familiar with those that have taken karate, since it is the same system used. I have to say that becoming accustom to this system takes time and is not straight forward at all. The main problem is that every single grade range includes two or three V-grades, IE 1 kyu, pronounced Q, is v5 to v6+.
As for rock climbing, the routes tend to be overly rated. A 5.10 in Japan is more than likely 5.10 in only one place. There is very little sandbagging here and the routes tend to be shorter. So come to Japan and immediately, jump up in rank.
Narita or Haneda?
Tokyo has two international airports: Narita and Haneda. From either, you can rent a car and go or take train/bus transport to get literally anywhere. Or give me a call and I'll pick you up.
Climbing Season For the Asia area.
Weather station 23.5 miles from here
216 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',21],['3 Stars',61],['2 Stars',73],['1 Star',40],['Bomb',1]
Classic Climbing Routes in Japan
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Japan
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Japan:
By laura rose
Aug 28, 2014
Hello - I'm a California climber, looking for any advice about climbing Mt. Fuji / acclimation / other interesting hikes. I'm looking to acclimate for a few days at 3000m - thanks for any advice!!
By Axel Nilsson
From: Lakewood, Co
Mar 3, 2015
Hey! Just wondering if anyone has any good beta on where the best "dirtbaggin" crags are in Japan? Trad, sport or bouldering, its all good!
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 30, 2015
Any recommendations for crags to try out in March? I'll be based in Ibaraki (near Mito), so I'll probably want to go somewhere north of Tokyo or close by. If there is anything that could be accessed with public transportation, that would be great, but I can probably figure something out otherwise. Primarily looking to sport climb.
I've checked out Ogawayama, which looks pretty rad, but seems like it would take some serious logistics to get to.