I seem to remember that there are some people on this forum whose home base is Japan so hopefully they and anybody who has done backpacking in Japan will see this and chime in. I'd greatly appreciate any input at all. I will have about a week to travel in Japan this July and would love to do some backpacking or (moderate) mountaineering while I'm there. I've never been to Japan before and for the month prior to that time I'll be going to a language school for study abroad.
Mt. Fuji seems like an obvious destination, but I'd rather avoid it and any other places that draw the most massive crowds. Right now I'm looking at the Japan Alps as a primary destination, but am open to any recommendations that I can get. I do not want to do a technical mountain climb (anything involving ropes, harnesses or helmets), but am fine with steep walk-ups. Daytrips, overnight out-and-back trips or 15-30 mile loops are OK, but the longer the better.
What I know:
-There are lots of mountains and a few national parks around Nagano
-Mt. Fuji is extremely crowded in July
-Lots of trailheads can be reached by public transportation and moderate walking
-Enough Japanese to find my way around a website if I know what I'm looking for
-Not much else
What I want to know:
-Specific trails, destinations, mountains or trips, anywhere in Japan (more specifically, places I can access without having to rent a car)
-Recomended cities or towns to use as a hub -for food and gear supplies and hostel (or any cheap accomodations) on the first and last nights
-Keywords to use on the Japanese internet to find things like trip reports, trail information, trail maps and camping regulations
-Any websites with specific information
-Do you recommend a tent or could I get by with a tarp? For instance, if I'd have to stay in campgrounds some nights, I wouldn't want to tarp it because there's no privacy and a campground might not have suitable ground for all the stakes (i.e. wood or gravel platforms like in some U.S. "designated camping areas")
-Recommended guide books?
-Anything not mentioned?
Any other information on:
-Camping/climbing regulations (what do I have to do to clear any red tape/obtain permits to camp or climb these areas)
-Places to find trail maps, for sale or viewable for free online, in Japan, etc.
-Fishing license cost for non-citizens?
-Any info on flyfishing regs in Japan... is it worth it to bring the fly rod?