Japan has an impressive 23 mountains that fall above 3,000 meters in elevation, which should be no surprise considering 73%-80% of Japan's land mass consists of mountains. The highest mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji, at 3,766 meters. Like many Japanese mountains, Mount Fuji is considered sacred, especially to the Ainu (indigenous people), alongside Buddhists and Shintoists.
This spiritual and cultural significance affects most of the mountains found in Japan, making it an even more special experience when you see them in person. Read the guide below to discover the magic of Japan's highest mountain areas.
7 of the Highest Mountains in Japan to Visit
This list contains the seven tallest mountains in Japan, from Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, to Mount Akaishi, which sits at 3,121 meters. You'll also find exciting information like famous attractions at each mountain and how to get there so you can experience these breathtaking mountains in person.
1. Mount Fuji (Fuji-san)
Sitting at 12,388 feet (3,776 meters), Mount Fuji stands as the highest mountain in Japan by about 500 meters. It is an active volcano that last erupted in the early 1700s. Climbing Mount Fuji offers thrill-seekers the best sunrise views. There has been no volcanic activity since.
Mount Fuji is one of the "Three Holy Mountains," along with Mount Haku and Takeyama. Because this mountain is considered sacred, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many temples and shrines are scattered on the mountain.
You’ll find Japan’s highest mountain spanning the Shizuoka Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture. It lies on Honshu Island, which holds the title of the biggest and most populated island in Japan.
Mount Fuji Climbing
Climbing Mt. Fuji is a rite of passage for many Japanese visitors, even those who do not consider themselves climbers. During the climbing season (early July – early September), visitors and locals can climb the tallest mountain and the highest peak in about five to ten hours.
Those interested in climbing can begin at any of the ten stations which travel up the highest mountain. However, most people begin at one of the fifth stations in the middle of the mountain, known as the Fuji Subaru Line. This station leads to Yoshida Trail – the most popular mountain trail for Fuji climbers.
Mount Fuji Attractions
Besides climbing Mt. Fuji, additional attractions are available nearby. Below are a few of the most famous options:
- Fuji Five Lake (Fuji Goko) – These five lakes – Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Saiko, Motosu, and Shoji – are at the mountain's base and double as a resort area. It’s popular for the many outdoor activities available.
- Hakone. Japan - This town is famous for its hot springs and natural beauty. Additionally, you can catch a view of Mt. Fuji across Lake Ashinoko, or hop on a 1-hour train ride to the mountain.
How to Get to Mt Fuji
It is easy to reach Mt. Fuji from Tokyo by riding the Limited Express Fuji Excursion. You can ride from Shinjuku Station directly to Mount Fuji by getting off at Kawaguchiko station. Or, you can ride a bullet train from Tokyo Station to Shin Fuji Station, which takes about two hours one way.
2. Mount Kita (Kita-dake)
This is the second-highest mountain in Japan, coming in at 3,193 meters (about 10,475 feet). Many people climb Mount Kita for its stunning views of Mount Fuji and because it is far less crowded than Japan's highest mountain.
Where is Mt. Kita?
Mount Kita lies in the Yamanashi Prefecture, in the Minami Alps National Park. It’s nearby the city of Minami Alps. If you plan to climb this mountain in the Japanese Alps, it’s best to access the trail in Hirogawara, as this is the main route.
Mount Kita Attractions
This mountain is best known for its abundant wildlife and nature scenes visible while trekking. However, you'll also find a few mountain hut options where you can spend a night or take a break. These mountain huts resemble lodges with food, refreshments, and beds.
How to Get to Mt. Kita
You can get to Mt. Kita from Tokyo by riding the Limited Express Train from the Shinjuku Station. Then, you will need to ride on the Yamanashi Kotsu bus. This will take you directly to the Mount Kita trailhead, so you can hike this majestic mountain.
3. Mount Okuhotaka (Okuhotaka-dake)
Mount Okuhotaka is only three meters shorter than Mount Kita, making it the third tallest mountain in Japan. It stands at 3,190 meters tall (about 10,465 feet). Only those with advanced skills in mountain climbing brave this mountain, as it is very rocky and challenging.
Where is Mt. Okuhotaka?
This mountain lies in the Nagano Prefecture and the Gifu Prefecture. It is part of the Hotaka Mountain Range. While not the tallest mountain in Japan, it does have the highest peak out of all the Hotaka Mountains.
Mount Okuhotaka Attractions
This mountain is packed with famous attractions, ranging from natural sites to the longest cable car on the continent.
- Kamikochi Valley – This beautiful area is located at the mountain's base and is nicknamed the "Japanese Yosemite Valley." It's a picturesque location featuring the Kappa Bridge, which offers stunning mountain views.
- Karasawa Cirque – This unique area lies higher in the mountain, offering pretty views of the changing seasonal colors. You’ll also find snow covering the walls of the area regardless of the season, so you can ski even in the summer.
- Shin-Hokata Cable Car – This cable car takes passengers to Nishi Hokatadake while offering views of blooming flowers, snow, and more, depending on the season.
How to Get to Mt. Okuhotaka
You can only access Mt. Okuhotaka via bus or taxi, as private cars are not allowed. If you plan on hiking, you can start at Kamikochi, which is reachable from Tokyo via the Shinjuku Station.
4. Mount Aino (Aino-dake)
The fourth-highest mountain in Japan is only one meter shorter than Mt. Okuhotaka. It stands tall at 3,189 meters (about 10,463 feet). The peak of the mount is very wide, earning the nickname of the Aino Dome.
Where is Mt. Aino?
Mount Aino is part of the Southern Alps and lies in the Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture. It is part of the Akaishi Mountains and is known as 1/3 of the Shirane Three. The other mountains in this group include Mount Kita and Mount Notori.
Mount Aino Attractions
The top attraction here is the Minami Alps National Park. The mountain is located in this stunning park filled with wildlife, like wild boars and Sika Deer.
How to Get to Mt. Aino
You can access this mountain by riding a bus from Kofu Station to Hirogawara. If you have a rental car, you can also use that to access the mountain area. Some areas within the national park may require you to park and then use a shuttle.
5. Mount Yari (Yariga-take)
Mount Yari is also known as the Matterhorn of Japan due to its pointed shape. Its name (Yari) translates to spear, also due to its shape. It's the fifth-highest mountain in Japan, sitting at 3,180 meters (about 10,433 feet).
Where is Mt. Yari?
This mountain is in the Gifu and Nagano Prefectures in the Northern Alps. It is part of the Hida Mountains, which lie in the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park. Four primary ridges come together to help create this majestic mountain: Higashikama, Yarihotaka, Nishikama, and Kitakama.
Mount Yari Attractions
Many people view Mount Yari via a hike lasting a few days. Be advised this hike is for experienced climbers and should be done with a guide.
- Shin-Hodaka Onsen – About 30 minutes from the mountain, you’ll find this onsen, aka hot springs. It’s a popular stop among hikers who have climbed Mount Yari.
How to Get to Mt. Yari
The best way to reach the base of Mount Yari is by car, as there is a free parking lot that you can use while hiking. Otherwise, you can ride a bus from Takayama Station (found in Gifu) to Shinhotaka Onsen.
6. Mount Higashi (Higashi-dake)
Mount Higashi also goes by the name of Mount Warusawa. This is the sixth tallest mountain in Japan, at 3,141 meters (about 10,305 feet). While it is not the tallest in Japan, it does have the highest peak out of the Arakawa Three mountains. Mount Higashi is considered part of the Akaishi Mountains.
Where is Mt. Higashi?
It’s located in the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan in the Southern Alps. This mountain is more challenging, so many people access it by hiking from Mt. Higashi to Mt. Akaishi.
Mount Higashi Attractions
Like many of the other mountains, most of the sites near Mount Higashi involve nature. Keep your eye out for:
- Ubagahara – This is a lush forest filled with fir trees that many encounter on a hike to the peak of Mount Higashi.
- Lake Inawashiro – This lake is the fourth largest in the country and is visible from the top of Mount Warusawa.
How to Get to Mt. Higashi
The quickest route from Tokyo to Mt. Higashi is via bus, subway, and car travel. Take the Tokyo train to Shinjuku-Sanchome via the Marounuchi Line. Then, you’ll walk a few minutes to the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal and travel until you reach Chuodo Showa. The final stretch can be taken by car, leading you to Mt. Higashi.
7. Mount Akaishi (Akaishi-dake)
Last but not least is Mount Akaishi. This Japanese mountain is 3,121 meters tall, about 10,240 feet. It is one of the mountains you can climb by car if you prefer not to hike or climb on foot.
Where is Mt. Akaishi?
It lies on the border of the Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures in Honshu. Mt. Akaishi is part of the Akaishi Mountains, which join with the Hida and Kiso Mountains to create the Japanese Alps. It lies in the southern portion of the Minami Alps.
Mount Akaishi Attractions
Mount Akaishi is another challenging mountain, so it's best for advanced mountain climbers. You'll find multiple huts along the route if you decide to hike this mountain. Otherwise, keep an eye out for the hot springs.
- Shirakabaso Hot Springs – This public hot spring area features outdoor and indoor hot springs. It’s open daily and every season except for winter.
How to Get to Mt. Akaishi
The quickest method for reaching Mt. Akaishi is via train and taxi, or car. From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen Hakutaka Line to Liyama. Then, you’ll take a taxi directly to the mountain. The total trip is about 2.5 hours.
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