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Mount Nantai (男体山, Nantai-san) literally "man's body mountain", also called Futara-san (二荒山)[1] is a stratovolcano in the Nikkō National Park in central Honshū, the main island of Japan. It stands at 2,486 m high. A prominent landmark, it can be seen on clear days from as far as the Pacific coast, 100 km away.

Mount Nantai
Mount nantai and lake chuzenji.jpg
Mount Nantai and Lake Chūzenji
Highest point
Elevation 2,486 m (8,156 ft)
Listing List of volcanoes in Japan
Coordinates 36°45′43″N 139°29′38″E / 36.76194°N 139.49389°E / 36.76194; 139.49389Coordinates: 36°45′43″N 139°29′38″E / 36.76194°N 139.49389°E / 36.76194; 139.49389
Mount Nantai is located in Japan
Mount Nantai
Mount Nantai
Mountain type Stratovolcano
Last eruption 9540 BCE ± 500 years



The mountain is popular with hikers, and the trail to the summit starts through a gate at Futarasan Shrine's Chūgushi (中宮祠, middle shrine). The gate is open between 5 May and 25 October.

Mount Nantai is one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan.

Volcanic activityEdit

Relief Map

In September 2008, the Japan Meteorological Agency was asked to reclassify Mount Nantai as "active" based upon work by Yasuo Ishizaki and colleagues of Toyama University showing evidence of an eruption approximately 7000 years ago.[2]

Mount Nantai as a sacred mountainEdit

View of Mount Nantai from Futara Bridge

Archeologists affirm that during the Yayoi period the most common go-shintai (御神体) (a yorishiro housing a kami) in the earliest Shinto shrines was a nearby mountain peak supplying with its streams water, and therefore life, to the plains below where people lived.[3]

Mount Nantai constitutes Futarasan Shrine's go-shintai, and the shrine is an important example of this ancient type of mountain cult.[3] Significantly, the name Nantai (男体) itself means "man's body".[3] The mountain not only provides water to the rice paddies below, but has the shape of the phallic stone rods found in pre-agricultural Jōmon sites.[3]


  1. ^ * Iwanami Kōjien Japanese
  2. ^ "Mount Nantai in Nikko may still be active volcano, say researchers". Mainichi Daily News. 13 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18.
  3. ^ a b c d Cambridge History of Japan (1993:524)


  • Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition (2008), DVD version
  • Brown, Delmer M. (1993). The Early Evolution of Historical Consciousness in "Cambridge History of Japan", Vol. 1. Cambridge, New York & Victoria: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-22352-2.

External linksEdit