Hike of a Sacred Mountain, Mt. Ontake | HIKES IN JAPAN

Hike of a Sacred Mountain, Mt. Ontake

Round trip over the sacred peak of an active volcano from Ontake Ropeway.
  • Duration
    1Day / 6Hours
    Highest Point
    Elevation Gain
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level
Mt. Ontake (Ontake-san) is a single free-standing mountain extending over both Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, and is selected as one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains. Although the mountain has been the object of religious faith since old times, after its eruption in 2014 that claimed many victims, entry to the summit area became restricted. Following the calming down of the volcanic activity, the restrictions has been eased and hiking through parts of the route is permitted. This course introduces a round-trip route utilizing the ropeway, starting from the Kurosawa Trailhead, which is included in the area where restrictions have been eased.

From the ropeway’s Iimori Kogen Station, traverse up through the forest belt and go across the mountain stream to get to the 7th station, with a shrine named Kakumei-sha, in approximately 10 minutes.

From the 7th station, the trail turns into a staircase road through forest and shrub belts and reaches the 8th station that has a mountain hut called Nyonin-do in approximately an hour and 10 minutes. Many stone statues are placed in the vicinity of the station, and the summit can be viewed from behind. The foliage is beautiful in autumn.

From the 8th station, the trail continues on through the rocky section among a stone pine belt. Plants start to disappear from the surrounding view as hikers hike up straight on the rocky area, and the trail eventually reaches the Kakumei-do small shrine on the 9th station in approximately an hour and 25 minutes, via a mountain hut named Ishimuro-sanso.

Descend gently from the 9th station, on the ridgeline in a northwest direction, and hikers will arrive at Nino-ike Pond, buried under volcanic ash. Proceed on a flat path called Saino-kawara and head for Sanno-ike Pond. Return to the 8th station using the side path and descend back to Iimori Kogen Station.

Other Info

Still the object of religious belief today, Mt. Ontake houses numerous stone statues, monuments, torii gates and shrines on its trails, providing hikers with an opportunity to experience the piety of the mountain for its believers.

High Season:July to October


As a result of the 2014 eruption, wearing helmets as a head protection against cinders is required on Mt. Ontake. In addition, hikers are advised to bring other protective gear when hiking, such as masks to protect your throat from volcanic fumes and goggles to protect your eyes from volcanic ash.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)


1Day / 6Hours
Highest Point
2927m(9th station)
Elevation Gain
Horizontal Distance
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail


7th Station Gyoba-sanso, Nyonin-do, Ishimuro-sanso, Ninoike-sanso, Ninoike Hutte


Ontake Ropeway


Hotel Kiso Onsen




Mt. Ontake is located on the prefectural border between Nagano and Gifu Prefectures. Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (approx. 80 minutes). Transfer to the special express Wide View Shinano bound for Nagoya to get to Kiso-Fukushima Station (approx. 70 minutes).
From Kiso-Fukushima Station, take the Ontake Kotsu Bus to get to Ontake Ropeway (approx. 50 minutes). Take Ontake Ropeway to Iimori Kogen Station (approx. 15 minutes).



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