What are the Japanese Alps?
The Japanese Alps (or 中部山岳国立公園/Chubu Sangaku National Park) are a series of mountain ranges in the middle part of main Island of Japan. They consist of 飛騨山脈/Hida Mountains, 木曽山脈/Kiso Mountains and 赤石山脈/Akaishi Mountains. Many mountains in the Japanese Alps are over 3,000 meters high, and are popular with climbers and outdoor lovers from Japan and abroad. The whole area is 200 km long and 40 km wide, and the highest point is at Mount Kita (3,193 m above sea level, highest next to Mt.Fuji).
Why are they named the Japanese Alps?
A British archaeologist, William Gowland coined the term in the late 19th century. He introduced Western mountain climbing into Japan and later an English missionary named Walter Weston climbed part of the Japanese Alps and wrote about it in his book. The book and the Japanese Alps became popular worldwide. At Kamikochi, a famous valley in Nagano prefecture, a memorial plaque of him is placed.
3 parts of the Japanese Alps
Northern Alps （飛騨山脈/Hida mountains)
The Northern Alps are known as the Hida Mountains that reach Nagano, Toyama, and Gifu prefectures. The area includes 御嶽山/Mt.Ontake, 乗鞍岳/Mt.Norikura, 焼岳/Mt.Yake, 霞沢岳/Mt.Kasumizawadak, 穂高岳/Mt.Hotaka, 槍岳/Mt.Yari, 常念岳/Mt.Jonen, 鷲羽岳/Washibadake, 水晶岳/Mt.Suisho, 餓鬼岳/Mt.Gaki, 立山/Mt.Tate, 鹿島槍ヶ岳/ Mt.Kashima Yariga , 五竜岳/Mt.Goryu, and 白馬岳/Mt.Shirouma.
Central Alps（木曽山脈/Kiso Mountains）
The central alps are known as the Kiso Mountains located in the Nagano prefecture. It includes 恵那山/Mt. Ena, 安平路山/Mt. Anpaiji, 越百山/Mount Kusumoyam, 南駒ヶ岳/Mt. Minamikoma, 空木岳/Mt Utsugi, 宝剣岳/Mount Hoken, 基礎駒岳/Mt.Kisokoma, 経ヶ岳/Mt.Kyoga.
Southern Alps（赤石山脈/Akaishi Mountains）
The southern alps are known as the Akaishi Mountains. They span Nagano, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka prefectures including 鳳凰山/Mt.Houou, 農鳥岳/Mt.Noutori, 間ノ岳/Mt.Aino, 北岳/Mt. Kita, 甲斐駒ヶ岳/Mt.Kaikomaga, 仙丈ヶ岳/Mt.Senjo, and 鋸岳/Mt.Nokogiri.
Here’s the map and detailed info by Japan-alps.com:
Where to visit around the Alps
Around the Japaneses alps, there are 7 popular tourist attractions:
・富山/Toyama：Famous for fresh seafood and Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that is a magnificent mountain sightseeing route connecting Toyama and Omachi. In Spring, 20 m-high snow walls appear in the area. To know more about Toyama, please check the link here:
・大町市/Ohmachi：It is in Nagano prefecture, and the city offers a variety of activities from mountain climbing, skiing, and Kayaking. It is also close to Kurobe Dam and Kurobe Alpine Route. To know more about Nagano, please check the link here:
・飛騨/Hida：Hida furukawa has traditional storehouses with water channels called Setogawa. To learn more about Hida area, please check the link here:
・高山/Takayama：Takayama festival is held annually in Spring and Autumn attracting tourists from all over the world. To know more about Takayama, please check the link here: https://hidanotaka.com/about-takayama/
・安曇野/Azumino：There is the largest wasabi farm and the area is know for clear water and picturesque valley.
・松本/Matsumoto：A black, magnificent Matsumoto Castle is the symbol of the city. The area is rich in nature and history.
・塩尻/Shiojiri：It is in the center of Nagano prefecture. At 奈良井宿/Naraijuku, buildings from hundres of years ago still stand on the ancient highway called 中山道/Nakasendou.
There are so many things to see around The Japanese Alps.
If you like outdoor activities and historical places, it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Japan!
Today’s words and phrases 今日の単語/フレーズ
・a series of – 一連の〜
・mountain range 山脈
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