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The Japanese Alps (日本アルプス, Nihon Arupusu) is a series of mountain ranges in Japan which bisect the main island of Honshū (本州). The name was coined by English archaeologist William Gowland, and later popularized by Reverend Walter Weston (1861–1940), an English missionary for whom a memorial plaque is located at Kamikōchi (上高地), a tourist destination known for its alpine climate. When Gowland coined the phrase, however, he was only referring to the Hida Mountains (飛騨山脈).[citation needed]

Japanese Alps
From the front, South, Central, North Alps
Highest point
PeakKita-dake [1]
Elevation3,193 m (10,476 ft)
Coordinates35°40′27″N 138°14′12″E / 35.67417°N 138.23667°E / 35.67417; 138.23667Coordinates: 35°40′27″N 138°14′12″E / 35.67417°N 138.23667°E / 35.67417; 138.23667
Length200 km (120 mi)
Width40 km (25 mi)
Native nameJapanese: 日本アルプス, translit. Nihon Arupusu
Japanese Alps is located in Japan
Japanese Alps
Japanese Alps
LocationNiigata Prefecture, Toyama Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Gifu Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture
Reverend Walter Weston called "Father of the Japanese Alps" memorial plaque at Kamikōchi in the Japanese Alps




Today, the Japanese Alps encompass the Hida Mountains (飛騨山脈), the Kiso Mountains (木曽山脈) and the Akaishi Mountains (赤石山脈).[citation needed] These towering ranges include several peaks exceeding 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in height, the tallest after Mount Fuji. The highest are Mount Hotaka at 3,190 m (10,466 ft) in north area and Mount Kita at 3,193 m (10,476 ft) in south area. Mount Ontake is well known as an active volcano, having erupted most recently in 2014.

Northern AlpsEdit

The Northern Alps, also known as the Hida Mountains, stretch through Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures. A small portion of the mountains also reach into Niigata Prefecture. It includes the mountains Mount Ontake, Mount Norikura, Mount Yake, Kasumizawadake (霞沢岳), Mount Hotakadake, Mount Yari, Mount Jōnen, Washibadake (鷲羽岳), Suishodake (水晶岳), Nakedake (餓鬼岳), Mount Tate, Kashima Yarigatake (鹿島槍ヶ岳), Goryū dake (五竜岳), Mount Shirouma.

Central AlpsEdit

The Central Alps, also known as the Kiso Mountains, are located in the Nagano prefecture. It includes the mountains Mount Ena, Anpaiji mountain (安平路山), Mount Kusumoyama (越百山), Mount Minamikoma, Mount Utsugi, Mount Hōken, Mount Kisokoma, Kyogatake (経ヶ岳).

Southern AlpsEdit

The Southern Alps, also known as the Akaishi Mountains, span Nagano, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka prefectures. It includes the mountains Mount Hōō, Mount Nōtori, Mount Aino, Mount Kita, Mount Kaikoma, Mount Senjō, Mount Nokogiri (Akaishi).

Panorama of the mountains of the Japanese Alps. Photo is taken from Yatsugatake (September 2007)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Geographical Survey Institute map 25000:1 仙丈ヶ岳 accessed online 8 April 2008.
  • Weston, Walter (1896). Mountaineering and Exploration in the Japanese Alps. London: John Murray.

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