Head to the Northern Alps for Some of the Best Views in Japan
The "Japanese Alps" consist of the ranges of the Northern, Central, and Southern Alps. The name recalls the range's European counterpart and was coined by the British mining engineer William Gowland who spent time in Japan in the late 19th century. The English missionary Walter Weston was enthralled with these mountains too and spent a lot of time climbing them during his three stays in the country. He was responsible for popularizing the name of the range abroad through his book "Mountaineering and Exploration in the Japanese Alps."
The Northern Alps are the largest of the three ranges. Spanning Toyama, Niigata, Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, these mountains have been idesignated as Chubu Sangaku National Park. In contrast to the Southern Alps where gradual, undulating mountains are common, the Northern Alps are home to many jagged outcrops and precipitous peaks.
The scenery in the Northern Alps is breathtaking. Beautiful areas include the glacially carved Karasawa Cirque with its colonies of alpine plants, Sennin-ike Pond with its mystical atmosphere, the alpine grassland of Kumonodaira, and the rugged canyon of the Kurobe Gorge. Peaks include Mt. Tsurugi and the Tateyama Peaks to the northwest, Mt. Shirouma and the Ushiro Tateyama Peaks to the northeast, Mt. Yari and the Hotaka peaks to the south, and Mt. Jonen to the southeast. Access to trail heads from Tokyo will differ depending which mountain you want to climb.
“Head to the Northern Alps for Some of the Best Views in Japan” featured on this site are as listed below.
- The Karasawa Cirque, round trip from Kamikochi One of Japan’s great glacial cirque, in the heart of the Hotaka peaks.
- Round trip hike to Mt. Okuhotaka from Kamikochi Hike the highest peak in Northern Japanese Alps from the Karasawa Cirque.
- Mt. Yarigatake: Round Trip from Kamikochi An Easy to Follow Route Up This Sharp Northern Japanese Alps Peak.
- Mt. Nishihotaka: Round Trip from Shinhotaka Onsen Trailhead Use a Ropeway to Scale the Hotaka Peaks.
- Mt. Norikura: Round Trip from Tatami-daira Quick Summit of a 3,000 Meter Peak in the Japanese Alps.
- Mt. Tsubakuro Begins at Nakabusa Onsen hot spring. Round trip via Kassen-one Ridge A popular Northern Japanese Alps peak in 2 days.
- Panorama Ginza Traverse From Mt. Tsubakuro to Mt. Chogatake via Mt. Otensho and Mt. Jonen A traverse with outstanding views of Mt. Yarigatake and the Hotaka peaks.
- Mt. Eboshi, Mt. NoguchiGoro, Mt. Suisho, and Kumono-daira Traverse Enjoy the famous mountains and secluded spots of the deep Northern Japanese Alps.
- Mt. Sugoroku, Mt. Mitsumata-renge, Mt. Kasagadake (Round Trip) A scenic tour of the solitary southwestern peaks of the Northern Japanese Alps.
- The Tateyama Three Peak Circuit Hike from Tateyama Murodo Trek across a sacred mountain range with a landscape of towering volcanic peaks.
- The Hakuba Sanzan (Hakuba three peaks) hike from Sarukura Climb the Hakuba Daisekkei snow patch and descend into a mountainside hot spring.
- Mt. Karamatsu and Mt. Goryu Traverse of Happo-one Ridge to Tomi-one Ridge This course traverses a ridgeline route across two mountains of the Ushiro Tateyama Peaks.