Mount Haku

Mount Haku (白山, Haku-san, "White Mountain"), or Mount Hakusan (commonly referred to as simply Hakusan), is a dormant stratovolcano in Japan. It is located on the borders of Gifu and Ishikawa, on the island of Honshu. Mount Haku is thought[citation needed] to have first been active 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, with the most recent eruption occurring in 1659. Along with Mount Tate and Mount Fuji, it is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" (三霊山, San-rei-zan).[2]

Mount Haku
Mount Haku from Onanjimine 2011-07-17.jpg
Mount Haku seen from Onanjimine
Highest point
Elevation2,702.2 m (8,865 ft)[1]
Prominence1,897 m (6,224 ft)[1]
ListingList of mountains and hills of Japan by height
100 Famous Japanese Mountains
List of volcanoes in Japan
Coordinates36°09′18″N 136°46′17″E / 36.15500°N 136.77139°E / 36.15500; 136.77139Coordinates: 36°09′18″N 136°46′17″E / 36.15500°N 136.77139°E / 36.15500; 136.77139[1]
English translationWhite Mountain
Language of nameJapanese
Mount Haku is located in Japan
Mount Haku
Mount Haku
Location in Japan
LocationGifu Prefecture
Fukui Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture
Parent rangeRyōhaku Mountains
Topo mapGeographical Survey Institute, 25000:1 白山, 50000:1 白山
Age of rock300,000–400,000 years
Mountain typeStratovolcano (active)
Last eruptionApril to August 1659
First ascentTaichō in 717


The mountain's tallest peak, Gozenga-mine (御前峰), is the one that gives the mountain its height of 2,702 m (8,865 ft). Along with Ken-ga-mine (剣ヶ峰), which is 2,677 m (8,783 ft), and Ōnanji-mine (大汝峰), which is 2,648 m (8,688 ft), the three peaks are considered "Mount Haku's Three Peaks" (白山三峰 Hakusan San-mine). Mount Bessan and Mount Sannomine are sometimes included and called "Mount Haku's Five Peaks" (白山五峰 Hakusan go-mine).

Because it is very prominent and clearly visible from the nearby coast, even after the surrounding mountains have lost their snow, Mount Haku still appears white, which is one explanation for the mountain's name, which means "white mountain." It is also the westernmost mountain in Japan that is over 2,000 m (6,562 ft) in height.

History and cultureEdit

Taichō, a mountain Shugendo monk, first climbed Mount Hakusan in 717. For hundreds of years, people have come to Haku for prayers (白山信仰 Hakusan Shinkō). A branch shrine of Shirayama Hime Shrine, which served as the supreme shrine for Kaga Province, is on the mountain. The Shirayama Hime Shrine is the main shrine (総本社, sō-honsha) of approximately 2,000 Hakusan shrines (白山神社, Hakusan jinja) in Japan. In 1980 an area of 48,000 ha was designated a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve.[3]


Mount Haku was designated as a quasi-national park in 1955. It became a national park in 1962[2] and was renamed Hakusan National Park. Because the central part of the mountain has much precipitous terrain, there are very few roads and, as a result, little human intrusion into the area. Also limiting human intrusion is the designation of the park as a Wildlife Protection Area, covering over 38,061 ha. The park stretches beyond the mountain's borders into Toyama Prefecture.[2]

Geological featuresEdit

The area surrounding Mount Haku is one of the few in Japan that contains outcroppings from the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era. Many of Japan's typical examples of dinosaur fossils were found in this area. One of the major rock outcrops is in the Kuwashima area and is known as the "Kuwashima Fossil Wall" (桑島化石壁 Kuwashima Kasekikabe).

Because the mountain is a dormant volcano, it is well known for its many onsen.


Mount Haku is known for its diverse plant life. Along the Sabō Trail, after passing the Jinnosuke Lodge, alpine plants are found, including the chocolate lily, which is Ishikawa's prefectural plant.

There are many alpine plants which have Hakusan in their name. These include Primula cuneifolia (Hakusan Kozakura), Anemone narcissiflora (Hakusan Ichige), Dactylorhiza (Hakusan Chidori), Geranium yesoemse (Hakusan Fuuro) and Rhododendron brachycarpum (Hakusan Shakunage). These plants can be found on many mountains throughout Japan, but they were first discovered and named along the older hiking trails leading to Hakusan Shrine.

Chocolate lily
(Kuro Yuri)
Primula cuneifolia
(Hakusan Kozakura)
Anemone narcissiflora
(Hakusan Ichige)
Dactylorhiza aristata
(Hakusan Chidori)


The golden eagle, Ishikawa's prefectural bird, lives on the slopes of Mount Haku. The rock ptarmigan, Gifu's prefectural bird,[4] used to live on the slopes as well. During the Meiji period, the entire population of ptarmigan on the mountain disappeared; however, sightings of the grouse have recently been recorded by local residents.

Hiking trailsEdit

The three most used hiking trails are the Kankō Trail (観光新道 Kankō Shinmichi), the Sabō Trail (砂防新道 Sabō Shinmichi) and the Hirase Trail (平瀬道 Hirase-dō). Both the Kankō Trail and the Sabō trail originate in the city of Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, but the Hirase Trail starts from the Ōshirakawa Dam (大白川ダム) in Gifu Prefecture.

Because the area is protected as a national park, very few trails have been made on the mountain. Though the trails listed above are easy enough to hike up and down in one day, other trails can take two or three days because of the uncleared trails and rough terrain.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Japan Ultra-Prominences". Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  2. ^ a b c UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Information: Mount Hakusan. UNESCO. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  3. ^ "Biosphere Reserve Information - Mount Hakusan". UNESCO. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  4. ^ A Statistical Guide to Gifu Prefecture 2007 Archived 2009-03-25 at the Wayback Machine. Gifu Prefecture. Accessed May 16, 2008.

External linksEdit