Do you know the Japanese Alps? For those who are unaware, the Alps are very high mountain ranges with elevations above 3000 meters. There are exactly 3 mountain ranges that are located in the center of Japan.
These mountain ranges (cordilleras) are known as:
- Hida Mountains (飛騨山脈 - hida san myaku);
- Kiso Mountains (木曽山脈 - kisou san myaku);
- Akaishi Mountains (赤石山脈 - akaishi san myaku);
These 3 sets of mountains received the affectionate nickname of Japanese Alps by Walter Weston, where he even has a memorial plaque in Kamikochi.
These Japanese Alps were given generic names such as the Northern Alps (Hida), Central Alps (Kiso) and the Southern Alps (Akaishi). This has no real relation to each of these Alps, its Japanese name has a more characteristic meaning that we will mention briefly in the article when we see each of these mountains.
Knowing the mountain ranges of Japan
The Northern Alps - Hida Mountains - This great mountain range covers Toyama, Gifu, Nagano and Niigata prefectures. The most popular mountains located in the Northern Alps are Tateyama, Hakuba, Lan Hotaka, Otemi and Tsunemake.
Another highlight is the famous Kamikochi Valley, which is often the target of many travel itineraries in Japan. In this valley, you follow the beautiful Azusa River, which is more than 1500 meters above the sea, in addition to several forests, rivers and crystalline lakes.
The ideograms that make up Hisa's name, mean flying, jumping (飛) and white horse with black spots (騨).
The Central Alps - Kiso Mountains - The central Alps are located in the center of Nagano, the main mountains found in Kiso are Hokendake, Komagatake, Utsugi, Ontake and Ena.
There is a cable car called Komagane RopeWay that passes through these alps in an epic way. The name kiso (木曽) refers to an ancient tree.
The Southern Alps - Akaishi Mountains - The southern mountain range slows down Nagano, Yamanashi and Shizuoka provinces. Most of the mountains over 3000 meters are located here. Here we find Kitakodake, which is the second largest mountain in Japan. The name Akaishi literally means red stone.
The numerous attractions of the Japanese Alps
In each of the cities around the Alps in Japan, there are a variety of attractions that, depending on the season, can only be seen at a specific time or in a specific location.
In addition to climbs, valleys, rivers and beautiful woods to explore, each city has outstanding highlights for tourists. In Toyama we have a gigantic wall of snow, Omachi a beautiful dam, Shiojiri and Takayama with historic buildings.
Japan is an amazing country to travel to, but going by car is not the best option for visiting the Alps in Japan. You can easily plan to visit Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, Kamikochi and Matsumoto in a few days.
We recommend scheduling your climb to the Japanese Alps in the official recommended season for each mountain. It may happen that some buses don't work at certain times like July and September.
You can search for other ski lifts in the Japanese Alps like Shinhotaka Ropeway. Other specific details about each tourist spot in the Japanese Alps, you can find in other articles.
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