Tent or no tent? Very few mountains in Japan are without a mountain hut. Basically a hotel you hike to. If you like travelling light, it is possible to do a week-long hike carrying nothing but clothes and snacks. The huts serve 2 square meals and have bathroom facilities. Nice!
Or is it? I have only stayed at a few before, and can say that they vary immensely. Some are bunk beds. Some are bunk beds where one mattress is shared by 2 people. Some are bunk beds where they leave out the mattress, and cram 3 into the same spot. Some will have you feeling that you have been Shanghaied and are on a slave galley to god knows where. The one universal truth is the snoring. Get ready for a symphony of old men to keep you up all night. Obviously I am not trying to sell you on mountain huts in Japan.
The food is a mixed bag of bits and pieces. Tasty, bento-style meals. I prefer more simple, hearty camp food, but this will do.
Korean snacks. Thanks Dr. You! (nothing to do with the mountain huts)
Prices have gone up since the last guide book. By the time you read this, expect to pay over $100 for 2 meals and a spot to sleep.
Another example of the food. Seriously, curry and rice would suffice.
If you go as a group, you can reserve a private room in many cases. This would be the only time I would be pro-huts. Being pressed up like cigarettes, on a rock hard "mattress", did not work in the least. Also, everyone officially wakes at 3am. I un-officially woke at 10pm, 11pm, 12am, 1am, 2am, and a few times in between. Seriously, the snoring.
Conversation had by the snoring old dudes at 2am:
Atsui desu ne.
So desu ne. Atsui desu.
Ima chotto atsui.
So ka, atsui desu yo.
Anata mo atsui desu ka?
So desu. Atsui desu ne.
Atsui da yo.
Enjoy your stay.