Mt. Tanigawa (谷川岳)

Rock wall on Mt.Tanigawa

Doai-guchi – Nishiguro Ridge – Mt. Tanigawa – Tenjin Ridge – Tenjindaira


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.
  • Location : Gunma Pref. / Niigata Pref. (Central of Honshu, Kanto Region)
  • Belongs to Echigo Mountains
  • Belongs to Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park
  • Non-volcanic
  • One of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains


Best Season : Sunny days on June – Mid July, Mid Sept. – Oct.

Jan. – Mar. Snow and sometimes blizzard, Intense cold
Apr. – May Remaining snow
June – Mid July Rainy and warm (Sometimes Sunny), Little remaining snow
Late July – Early Sept. Sunny and hot, Flowers
Mid Sept. – Oct. A little cold, Autumn leaves
Dec. – Nov. Snow and cold

Route Map & Guide

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Nishiguro Ridge Route

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.

Course Time


Doai-guchi —> Nishiguro Ridge —> Mt.Tanigawa (Okinomimi) 4 hours
Mt.Tanigawa (Okinomimi) —> Nishiguro Ridge —> Doai-guchi 3 hours
Mt.Tanigawa (Okinomimi) <—> Mt.Ichinokura <—> Mt.Shigekura 1 hour
(One way)
Tenjin-daira —> Tenjin Ridge —> Mt.Tanigawa (Okinomimi) 2 hours
Mt.Tanigawa (Okinomimi) — > Tenjin Ridge —> Tenjin-daira 2 hours 30 min

Example Plan

Plan 1

Tokyo ==> Doai-guchi (Rope-way Station) —> Nishiguro Ridge —> Mt.Tanigawa —> Tenjin Ridge —> Tenjindaira —> Rope-way —> Doai-guchi ===> Tokyo

Plan 2

Reverse course of plan 1

Tokyo ==> Doai-guchi (Rope-way Station) —> Rope-way —> Tenjindaira –> Tenjin Ridge –> Mt.Tanigawa —> Nishiguro Ridge —> Doai-guchi ===> Tokyo

Plan 3

This is for beginners. Not so hard.

Tokyo ==> Doai-guchi (Rope-way Station) —> Rope-way —> Tenjindaira –> Tenjin Ridge –> Mt.Tanigawa —> Tenjindaira —> Rope-way —> Doai-guchi ===> Tokyo


In addition to above 3 plans, let’s challenge this route if you have time.

Mt.Tanigawa —> Mt.Ichinokura —> Mt.Shigekura —> Mt.Ichinokura —> Mt.Tanigawa

These 3 plans are 1-day plan. If you have time, you should stay at Minakami Onsen and enjoy other outdoor activities or sightseeing.

Nearby Place

Doai Station

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.

Long stairway of Doai station
Long stairway of Doai station


From Tokyo

  1. JR Tokyo Sta. [東京駅] ==> Jomo-Kogen Sta. [上毛高原駅]
    Joetsu Shinkansen, 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  2. Jomo-Kogen Sta. [上毛高原駅]
    ==> Tanigawadake Rope-way Bus Stop [谷川岳ロープウェー]
    Kan-etsu Kotsu Bus, 45 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.