Mt. Shirouma (or Mt. Hakuba, 白馬岳) is a popular mountain in Kita Alps (Hida Mountains) area. The name “Shirouma” means “white horse”. The mountain locates near global ski resort : Hakuba where Olympic was held in 1998.
During the winter, mountains are covered with deep snow. The snow remains until summer, resulting in a beautiful mountain landscape and abundant flora.
Mt. Shirouma (白馬岳)
Elevation : 2932 m
Location : Nagano Pref. (長野県)/ Toyama Pref. (富山県)
Belongs to Kita Alps (北アルプス, Alias : Northern Alps, Hida Mountains)
Climb the slope with an altitude difference of 1200 m. About half of the trail is covered with year-around snow called Daisekkei(大雪渓), so you must walk on the snow even in summer. On Daisekkei, the view is great, but there is also dangerous. Be careful of falling rocks and slipping. Falling rocks may not make any sound on the snow so watch ahead carefully. You must wear crampons to prevent slipping.
After passing Daisekkei, there is a field of flowers. You can find many kinds of flowers.
After 5 hours walk from Hakuba-jiri, there is a mountain hut : “Chojo Shukusha” at the ridge. From here, the summit is right there. If you have time, why not go?
Chojo-shukusha (頂上宿舎) – Mt. Shirouma (白馬岳)
From Chojo Shukusha, about 30 minute walk lead to the summit. At the summit, you can see Tateyama mountains (立山連峰) and other Kita Alps mountains in southeast.
Mt. Shirouma (白馬岳) – Hakuba-oike (白馬大池)
This section is a 2400-2900m ridge-line trail with nice view. The ridge is covered with gravel and sand. There are no tall trees due to high altitude and severe climate.
There is not dangerous places, but be careful not to get lost especially in bad weather.
Hakuba-oike is a small and transparent lake. There is a mountain hut and campsite on the lake shore.
Hakuba-oike (白馬大池) – Tsugaike Wetland (栂池自然園)
The trail after Hakuba-oike is almost downhill except for Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳). Mt. Norikura is a gentle mountain like a hill. The best spot for lunch.
The section between Mt. Norikura and Tsugaike is a coniferous forest. There are two wetlands : Tenguppara (天狗原) and Tsugaike (栂池) . Tsugaike wetland, the end point of this trekking course, is a popular place for day hikers. A lot of flowers bloom in summer.
From Tsugaike wetland, you can use two rope-ways to go to Tsugaike-kogen (栂池高原) bus terminal.
Best season is Middle July – Early September.
Jan. – Mar.
Heavy snow and blizzard
Apr. – Early July
Covered with deep snow
Mid July – Early Sep.
Sunny and warm, Many flowers
Mid Sep – Early Oct.
Cold and sometimes snow, Autumn leaves
Mid Oct. – Dec.
Day 1 : Hakuba-jiri Goya hut and campsite Day 2 : Chojo Shukusha lodge and campsite
Nikko (日光), located in 100 km north of Tokyo, is a popular tourist destination. Temples and shrines are registered as a World Heritage Site, so many tourists visit from all over the world.
In the west of Nikko, there is a mountainous area : Oku-Nikko (奥日光). In Oku-Nikko, there are 2000 m class mountains including Mt. Nantai, and many beautiful places. It is the best area for those who like outdoor activities and natural observation.
Mt. Nantai (Nantai-san) is a conical volcano height of 2486 m located in central Oku-Nikko. It is a symbol of Oku-Nikko and one of the “100 Famous Japanese Mountains”.
On a clear day, you can find it from Tokyo. Although it is classified as an active volcano, recently there is no volcanic activity.
Mt. Nantai has long been the subject of faith, and there are shrines and many items related to religion near the mountain.
The major climbing course is Omote-sando trail. The difference in altitude of the trail is 1200 m. It takes about 4 hours to go up the mountain and 2.5 hours to go down.
The trail starts from Futarasan Chugushi Shrine (二荒山神社中宮祠). You must pay 500 Yen for a climbing fee at the shrine.
The trail has a steep slope and many rocks, so be careful. At around 1600 m altitude, the trail partially joins the paved road (road for civil engineering work). Check your map carefully so as not to go the wrong way.
The mountain skin is covered with bamboo grasses, coniferous trees and rhododendrons. From late May to July you can see rhododendron flowers.
As you approach the summit, you will find that the ground gradually turns red-brown. This is because of lava rocks
The summit is very scenic. You can see Lake Chuzenji and many mountains.
Mt. Nantai is a mountain of religion, so there are some religious objects such as torii (monument of shinto), sword and statue of god on the summit.
Mt. Nantai climbing is allowed from early May to late October.
Fresh green, Little cold
June – Early July
Rainy season (But not all rainy)
Mid July – Mid Sept.
Warm, Afternoon thunderstorm
Late Sept. – Oct.
Autumn leaves, Cold
Best season is from May to July. Although it is the rainy season from June to July, there are fine days, too.
Kegon Falls (華厳ノ滝)
Kegon falls (Kegon-no-taki) is a 100 m tall waterfall located at the entrance of Oku-nikko area. It is said to be the one of “3 famous waterfall in Japan”.
Access : 10 minutes walk from Chuzenji-onsen (中禅寺温泉) bus stop.
Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖)
Lake Chuzenji or Chuzenji-ko is a scenic lake located at the foot of Mt. Nantai.
You can enjoy lakeside walking, pleasure boat cruising. There are two boat piers, one is near the Chuzenji-onsen(中禅寺温泉), and the other is near Shobugahama(菖蒲ヶ浜).
There are many accommodation facilities on the lake shore. In the Chuzenji-onsen area, there are some Japanese style onsen hotels. If you are outdoor lovers, camping at Shobugahama campsite will be the best choice.
Senjogahara is a vast wetland of 400 ha located in the north of Lake Chuzenji. It’s listed in Ramsar wetland because wide variety of animals and plants are inhabited.
Walking paths are installed in wetlands and you can observe nature by walking. It takes about 2 hours to walk around the entire wetland.
The main entrance of the Senjogahara is Akanuma bus stop (赤沼). There are toilet, restaurant, and information center.
Ryuzu Falls (竜頭ノ滝)
Ryuzu Falls or Ryuzu-no-taki is a beautiful waterfall located between Lake Chuzenji and Senjogahara. It consists of two waterfalls. The autumn waterfall is a particularly beautiful and many tourists visit.
You can go there by bus (Ryuzu-no-taki bus stop) and also you can walk from Senjogahara (see area map). There are some small waterfalls between Ryuzu falls and Senjogahara.
<Day 1> Move from Tokyo to Nikko Sightseeing world heritage sites (Toshogu and so on) Stay at a hotel near Lake Chuzenji
<Day 2> Climbing Mt. Nantai Chuzenji-onsen(hot spring) and Kegon Falls Stay at Shobugahama Camp Site
<Day 3> Hiking at Ryuzu Falls and Senjogahara Go back to Tokyo
Tokyo -> Nikko area
If you are in Tokyo, go to Asakusa(浅草). There are many express trains between Asakusa and Nikko. Be aware that there are several Asakusa Stations. What you should go is Asakusa Station of Tobu railway.
At Asakusa Station, get on Kegon Express (特急けごん) or Kinu Express (特急きぬ). If you use Kegon, get off at Tobu-nikko Station (東武日光) , the last stop of the train. If you use Kinu, get off at Shimo-imaichi Station (下今市) and change to the local train for Tobu-nikko. There are also Revaty Kegon Express and Revaty Kinu Express. These are same as Kegon Express and Kinu Express.
It takes about 2 hours from Asakusa to Tobu-nikko Sta.
Nikko area -> Oku-Nikko area
At Tobu Nikko Station bus terminal, get on Tobu bus for Yumoto-onsen(湯元温泉) . If you are going to go to Kegon Falls, Mt. Nantai or Lake Chuzenji, you can also take buses for Chuzenji-onsen(中禅寺温泉)
It takes 50 mins from Nikko Station to Chuzenji-onsen, and 40 mins from Chuzenji-onsen to Yumoto-onsen.
There are some reduced bus tickets. For more information about the buses, please check here.
Mt. Mitake(御岳山), located in the west of Tokyo, is a popular mountain for Tokyo and Kanto region people. The elevation is not so high, and there is a cable car, so you can easily go up the mountain.
On the top of the mountain, there is the Musashi Mitake Shrine (武蔵御嶽神社). Many mountain ascetics and worshipers have visited this sacred mountain since hundreds of years ago. Today the shrine is also famous for the god of dogs.
On the back side of the mountain, there are popular hiking trails where you can see beautiful waterfalls and valleys. At the Ayahiro Falls (綾広の滝), you can experience traditional waterfall meditation called Takigyo (滝行). For more details about Takigyo, please check this website: Mountains and Mediations
About Mt. Mitake
Elevation : 929 m
Location : Western Tokyo (Okutama area)
Belongs to Chichibu Mountains, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park
This route is the route from the cable railway station to the summit of Mt. Mitake. Most of this route is on a well-maintained concrete road and easy to walk.
On the way to Mt. Mitake, you will pass through a small village with many traditional guest houses, japanese restaurants and souvenir shops.
The road leads to a long stairway at the end. On the end of stairway, there is the Musashi Mitake Shrine and the summit of Mt. Mitake is in the premises of the shrine.
Trail of Falls and Rocks
This trail is along the stream on the opposite slope of the mountain. There are two waterfalls, Ayahiro Falls (綾広の滝) and Nanayo Falls (七代の滝). Both waterfalls are not big but beautiful and sacred. The area between these two falls are called “Rock Garden”. Various shapes of rocks make beautiful scenery of the valley. Since there are steep slopes and ladders, so please walk carefully.
Mt. Mitake – Mt. Hinode
Mt. Hinode (日の出山) is a mountain located next to Mt. Mitake. The Japanese word “Hinode” means sunrise. As the name suggests, you can see nice view of the east side from the summit of the mountain. On a clear day, you can see skyscrapers in central Tokyo.
One hour walking on the trail on ridgelines lead to Mt. Hinode. The most part of the trail is flat. So it’s not so hard.
Mitake-san Station (Cable railway) <–> Mt. Mitake
Trail of Falls and Rocks
Mt. Mitake <–> Nanayo Fall <–> Ayahiro Falls <–> Mt. Mitake
Mt. Mitake <–> Mt. Hinode
*The course time is one way-time.
Mitake-san Station –> Mt. Mitake –> Nanayo Fall –> Ayahiro Fall –> Mt. Mitake –> Mt. Hinode –> Mitake-san Station
Takigyo Plan (2-Day)
Add 1 day and stay the Komadori Sanso lodge (駒鳥山荘), you can experience the Takigyo next day.
1st day: Same as the normal plan
2nd day: Experience Takigyo
JR Tokyo Sta. [東京駅] or Shinjuku Sta.[新宿駅] ==> Tachikawa Sta. [立川駅]
Chuo Line (Rapid, Special Rapid, Holiday Rapid),
Tachikawa Sta. [立川駅] ==> Ome Sta. [青梅駅]
Ome Sta. [青梅駅] ==> Mitake Sta. [御嶽駅]
Mitake Sta.[御嶽駅] bus stop ==> Keburu-shita[ケーブル下] bus stop
Nishi-tokyo Bus route [御10] or [御11] bound for Keburu-shita
2 buses per hour.
If use “Holiday Rapid Okutama”[ホリデー快速おくたま] train which runs on holidays, you can go from Tokyo or Shinjuku to Mitake Sta. without transfer.
Mt. Tanigawa (or Tanigawa-dake) is a popular mountain in Kanto region. It’s located about 150 km north-west of Tokyo. By using Shinkansen, you can climb the summit on a day trip. It is a beautiful mountain where many flowers bloom early summer, so many hikers come.
Mt. Tanigawa is often said to be “a mountain of death” and listed in Guiness World Records as a mountain where the most people have died. The reason is that there is a great rock wall on its east side, many rock climbers challenge and some of them lose their lives. You may feel terrible mountain, but please be assured. This page introduces normal routes with less danger.
About Mt. Tanigawa
Elevation : 1977 m
2 peaks : Tomanomimi(トマの耳) and Okinomimi(オキの耳). Okinomimi is on the north side and higher.
Nishiguro ridge route is a little hard route with an altitude difference of 1200 m and steep slope.
The first half of the route is a trail in the forest. The latter half of the route is a rocky slope trail.
There are some rocks with chains. It’ not so difficult to climb the rocks, but be careful.
Tenjin Ridge Route
Tenjin ridge route is the most popular route. It’s not so hard and you can easily get to the summit by using rope-way, so it will be busy during the peak season.
You can use the rope-way from Doaiguchi to Tenjindaira, the middle of the mountain. If you ride a chairlift from Tenjindaira, you can go to Tenjintoge peak where you can see Mt.Tanigawa and many other mountains.
There is a refuge hut at the middle of the route. The route between the hut and the summit is on a prairie where many flowers bloom in summer.
There are 2 big rocks calld “Tengu-no-tomariba” and “Tenjin-zange-iwa”. The name of them are related to Japanese mountain beliefs. They are good places to have a break.
Mt.Tanigawa – Mt.Shigekura
The ridgeline route connecting Mt.Tanigawa, Mt. Ichinokura and Mt.Shigekura is a route with many flowers. You can see alpine roses, yellow lilies, and so on. In late September, leaves of trees on this route are dyed red or orange. It’s very beautiful.
The east side of the trail between Mt.Tanigawa and Mt.Ichinokura is a cliff wall, so be careful.
These 3 plans are 1-day plan. If you have time, you should stay at Minakami Onsen and enjoy other outdoor activities or sightseeing.
Doai station is an ordinary station just by looking at the station building, but in fact it is a very special station. The northbound platform is very deep underground. If you get off the train, you can not go outside unless you walk up long stairway of 486 steps.
JR Tokyo Sta. [東京駅] ==> Jomo-Kogen Sta. [上毛高原駅] Joetsu Shinkansen, 1 hour and 10 minutes.
If you want to go to Doai Station, get off the Shinkansen at Takasaki Station[高崎] and change to Joetsu Line for Minakami. At Minakami Station, change train for Nagaoka [長岡]. Trains between Minakami and Doai are very few.
Mt. Okuhotaka (or Okuhotaka-dake) is a representative mountain of Kita Alps (北アルプス). It is the highest mountain in Kita Alps and 3rd highest in Japan.
The course introduced on this page starts from Kamikochi(上高地) which is a famous scenic spot, going for the summit of Mt. Okuhotaka. The former half of the course is a trail in virgin forests with varied plants.The latter half is a mountain climbing route in the beautiful glacial land-form of Karasawa Cirque(涸沢カール).
About Mt. Okuhotaka
Japanese : 奥穂高岳 (おくほたかだけ)
Elevation : 3190 m (3rd highest in Japan)
Location : Nagano Pref. (長野県)/ Gifu Pref. (岐阜県)
Belongs to Kita Alps (北アルプス, Alias : Northern Alps, Hida Mountains)
Kamikochi(上高地) is a famous tourism spot. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels near bus terminal. In addition, there is shower rooms so you can wash your body after mountaineering.
There is a suspension bridge called Kappabashi(河童橋) at a 5-minute walk from the bus terminal. You can see magnificent view of Mt. Okuhotaka on the bridge.
The trail between Kamikochi and Yokoo(横尾) is almost flat and easy to walk. This trail is popular also for hikers not aiming for summit. There are various kinds of trees, ferns and streams on the trail. Sometimes you can see monkeys on the trail.
There are mountain huts every one-hour walk. You can have a break at there.
Yokoo – Karasawa
The trail betweem Yokoo(横尾) and Karasawa(涸沢) is more inclined and more like a mountain trail.
On the former half, you can see rock wall of Byobuiwa(屏風岩) on your left. On the latter half, you can see Mt. Kitahotaka(北穂高岳) on your right front.
At Karasawa, the view become clear because tall trees disappear. You can enjoy beautiful view of mountains on your tent or deck of a hut.
Karasawa is also famous for its beautiful autumn leaves. Numerous people visit for seeing autumn leaves on weekends of late Sept.
Karasawa – Mt. Okuhotaka
From Karasawa(涸沢), the trail become rocky and steep. There may be remaining snow in early summer. This section is a very wonderful place with beautiful scenery, but beware of falling rocks and sliding down.
The route between the altitude of 2600 m and 3000 m is on a rocky ridge called Seitengrat(ザイテングラート). There are some chains and ladders in this section.
At the summit, you can see many mountains in Kita Alps. If the condition is good, you can also see Mt.Fuji in the distance.
Kamikochi –> Yokoo
Yokoo –> Karasawa
Karasawa –> Mt. Okuhotaka
Mt.Okuhotaka –> Karasawa
Karasawa –> Yokoo
Yokoo –> Kamikochi
Day 1 : Tokyo/Nagoya ==> Kamikochi –> Yokoo (Camp or stay in a hut)
Day 2 : Yokoo –> Karasawa –> Mt. Okuhotaka –> Karasawa (Camp or stay in a hut)
Day 3 : Karasawa –> Yokoo –> Kamikochi ==> Tokyo/Nagoya
A few buses for Kamikochi depart from Matsumoto bus terminal near station.
There are super markets and convenience stores near Matsumoto station. You can buy food or some goods. There is no super market or convenience store after Matsumoto station.
From Nagoya, By Train
JR Nagoya Sta. [名古屋駅] ==> JR Matsumoto Sta. [松本駅]
JR Shinano Express, 3 hours.
Waterproof-breathable fabric is necessary (Gore-Tex is better)
Warm Clothing (Down or Fleece Jacket)
It’s necessary even in summer.
Mobile phone is essential to see the map, grasp current location and call for rescue. Be aware that there are many bad connection areas in mountains. Don’t overuse the mobile phone to save battery.
Guide Map is essential but there is no mountain guide map for foreigners in Japan. So please use this site and online map services.
Water Bag and Water
It’s not easy to get drinkable water in mountains. So it’s better to get water befor e climbing. Fortunately, most of tap water is drinkable in Japan.
You can get food at a convenience store or supermarket. There are many convenience stores in Japan, but be careful as it is not in the mountains. If you go to outdoor shop or sports shop, you can buy food specialized for climbing or camp. Calorie Mate Block is a regular item. You can buy it at convenience stores.
Crampon is not item used only for winter. Even in summer, there is residual snow on 3000 m class mountains in Honshu or more than 1500 m class mountains in Hokkaido. If you go there in summer, you should have 6-8 points simple crampons.
Sun Protection Gear
There are blood-sucking insects such as mosquito and black fly in Japanese forest.
Forests in Honshu and Hokkaido are habitats of bears. Hokkaido is habitats of Brown bear which is very big. It’s better to attach bear bell with your backpack so as not to encounter the bear.
Tent that can withstand rain and wind.
Sleeping Bag and Mat
Even in summer, you should have a high thermal insulation sleeping bag.
You cannot bring fuel to airplane, so you have to buy it in Japan. Fuel cartridges of these manufacturers are available in Japan : Coleman, EPIgas, JETBOIL, MSR, Primus, Snow Peak, SOTO. (Boldface brands is especially easy to obtain.)
Mountaineering notification is necessary for smooth rescue activities in case of emergency. In many cases, there are posting boxes for mountaineering notifications at the trail-head or the station near the trail-head. (Find the box with this characters : “登山”.) You should post it before mountaineering. Sample is here.
Call 110 if you need rescue.
110 is the emergency number for police. Mountain rescue is a duty of police. You can talk in Japanese or English. In Japan, rescue cost is self-pay. So it’s better to sign up for insurance.
Do not go to mountain at bad weather
There are risk of slip, getting lost, and freezing to death even in summer.
Do not climb winter mountain unless you are an expert.
Bring a sufficient amount of water.
There are risk of heatstroke especially in summer.
You must check weather forecast before go to mountains.
First, check whether it will be bad weather or not. If it will be bad weather, call off or change the plan.
Second, check the temperature. Most weather forecast sites show only temperatures in the major cities (often in lowlands). So you must estimate the temperature in the mountain using the law that the temperature drops by 0.6 °C per 100 m. You should select the suitable clothes and equipment based on the estimated temperature.
In the mountains, weather tends to be bad in the afternoon. You had better start climbing or trekking early in the morning and finish at 3 pm at the latest.
Weather Forecast Sites
As for the weather in Japan, forecasts by Japanese institutions are most accurate.This page introduce weather forecast sites by Japanese institutions.
Japan National Tourism Organization
Simple and multilingual 10-day forecast.
Japan Meteorological Agency
Weather forecast, weather chart, various data and information of weather, earthquake and volcanoes.
Too much information, difficult to read.
tenki.jp (Japan Weather Association)
Japanese only. Most recommended Japanese weather forecast site. Abundant weather information and commentary.
Japan has an obvious seasonal change. Before planning climbing, you should know characteristics of each seasons.
November, January, February
Winter climate varies from region to region.
The area on the side of the Japan Sea has heavy snow and blizzard almost every day. The average temperature is about 0 ℃ in lowland areas.
By contrast, the area on the side of Pacific is sunny and strong wind blows. This area has only a few snow days in a single season. The average temperature is about 5 ℃ in lowland areas.
If you go to mountains in winter, mountains lower than 1500 m and located in the Pacific side area are better. Mountains on the Japan Sea side or mountains higher than 2000 m are for experts.
March, April, May
In spring, high pressure and low pressure comes alternately, and weather changes cyclically in about one week period. When a high pressure comes from the west, the weather becomes fine. After high pressure goes to east, low pressure approaches and the weather becomes rainy.
The temperature changes rapidly. The temperature may rise or fall by more than 10 ℃ in a few days. So you had better check the weather forecast carefully.
In spring, low altitude mountains will be beautiful with flowers and fresh green. High altitude mountains are coverd with snow.
It is a rainy season called “Tsuyu” or “Baiu” from early June to mid July. The front line stays over the Japanese archipelago and rainy or cloudy days continue. Often it become heavy rain or thunderstorm in the mountain. Sometimes there are sunny days, but prediction is difficult. The rainy season is not suitable for outdoor activities.
After rainy season, sunny days continues. This is the best season for climbing high altitude mountains.
You have to pay attention to heatstroke because summer in japan is very hot and humid. Even in 3000 m class mountains, the temperature is high and you become sweaty. In addition, you also have to pay attention to rapid weather change. Even though it is sunny in the morning, rain and thunderstorms often occur in the afternoon.
Sometimes typhoons approach to Japan in summer. In that case you had better stop climbing.
September, October, December
In autumn, the air dries and the temperature goes down day by day. In 3000 m class mountains in Honshu and 2000 m class mountains in Hokkaido, snow may fall in September.
Weather in autumn changes cyclically like in spring. However, unlike in spring, sometimes heavy rains are brought by typhoons and front lines. You had better stop climbing or trekking when the typhoon approaches or the front line stays over Japan.
Autumn is a nice season for climbing and trekking as the air is clear and beautiful autumn leaves can be seen.