I did it! I can't believe I FINALLY did it. Well, I THOUGHT I did it.
After over 19 years of chipping away at my
list of the highest mountains in Japan, with the ascent of Mt.
Jonen-dake on August 22, 2010, I thought I had finally climbed all of
highest peaks. Problem is.....because my list is written in Japanese
(not my forte), as it turned out, my list was actually a ranking of the
highest Nihon Hyakumeizan (日本百名山, Japan's 100 Famous Mountains). OMG!
Mt. Jonen-dake, elev. 2857 m, is not Japan's 25th highest mountain
(according to my old list), but in fact its 45th highest. How
But it turned out to be an awesome climbing trip nonetheless.
By far the highlight of this mountain climbing trip was the absolutely
breathtaking view of Mt. Yari-ga-take (槍ヶ岳), Japan's 5th highest
mountain, and the Hotaka mountain range, including Mt. Mae-hotaka-dake
(前穂高岳), Mt. Oku-hotaka-dake (奥穂高岳), Japan's 3rd highest mountain, Mt.
Karasawa-dake (涸沢岳), and Mt. Kita-hotaka-dake (北穂高岳).
To be honest, in my 19 years of hiking in Japan's mountains, I don't
recall ever seeing such a stunningly beautiful view of Japanese peaks
anywhere, anytime. Thank God for such gorgeous weather!
Friendly Japanese mountain climbers
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this hike were the many very
friendly and talkative Japanese hikers of all ages who were happy to
see the only foreigner on the trail (you may be amused by our lively
exchange of greetings in my video below, starting at about the 2:48
min. mark). Sorry for my poor Japanese.
Ichinosawa (一ノ沢) Valley
Another thing I enjoyed about this hike was the stunning beauty of the
Ichinosawa mountain stream (一ノ沢), which gave me a very pleasant cool
and a welcome respite from the scorched earth 35° C (95° F) days of
Tokyo and the hottest August ever in that concrete jungle.
Tokyo's monthly mean temperature in August 2010 was 29.6°C (85.3° F),
surpassing the 29.4° C (84.9° F) previous record set in August 1995 and
becoming the hottest month ever in Tokyo.
mountain stream (一ノ沢)
The beauty of hiking up the Ichinosawa (一ノ沢) Valley was that the tree
just below the Jonen-goya
mountain hut (常念小屋), so you are in the forest
virtually protected from the elements (sun, wind, etc.) for most of the
My Mt. Jonen-dake (常念岳) Pics & Video
I hope you enjoy my pics & video below, hosted at
Flickr and YouTube, respectively !
The video, in particular, will give you a real feel for what it's like
hike on a Japanese mountain trail. After all these years of trekking in
Japanese Alps, I still can't get over the amazing cordiality of
My pics of Mt.
Jonen-dake (常念岳), elev.
45th highest peak, Aug. 22, 2010 can be viewed here.
My Video of
Jonen-dake (常念岳), elev.
45th highest peak,
(My exchange of greetings with some very lively
Japanese hikers starts around the 2:45 min.
(If player above is not visible, you can view video
at YouTube here.)
My Google Map of Mt. Jonen-dake (常念岳)
In Oct. 2009 I created the customized map below, as I thought it'd be
cool to see all of Japan's 25 highest mountains at a glance.
as Japan's 45th highest peak, Mt. Jonen-dake (常念岳) is not among the
25 highest, zooming out on the map below will allow you to see all of
the 25 highest mountains in Japan.
From the Ichinosawa trailhead (一ノ沢登山口), where you'll find the mountain
climbing registration office, toilets, and water, the trail follows the
beautiful Ichinosawa mountain stream (一ノ沢) which you will cross a few
on your way up.
The route gradually gets more narrow, and from "Last Water," your last
chance to fill up your water bottles, the switchbacking trail gets
quite steep up to the ridge where you'll see the Jonen-goya mountain
Behind the hut, the very striking view of Mt. Yari-ga-take and the
entire Hotaka mountain range creates an adrenalin rush that all
mountain climbers live (and die) for. This amazing sight was one of the
mountain climbing sensations I think I've ever experienced.
If you're blessed with nice weather as I was, you should allow yourself
enough time at the summit, as this is without question one of the most
spectacular, breathtaking views you'll ever see in the Japanese
anywhere in the country. It took me about 3.5
mountain hut (常念小屋), and
another hour & 15 min. up a rather steep climb to the Mt.
The total elevation gain for this hike is around 1600 m, so it's not
exactly a Sunday stroll in the park. But for a person in reasonable
physical condition, it can be easily done as a day hike. I left the
Ichinosawa trailhead (一ノ沢登山口) at 5:00 a.m., arrived at the Mt.
at 10:15, and finished my hike back at the Ichinosawa trailhead at 4:15
I rested for 25 min. at the Jonen-goya mountain hut (常念小屋) for a cold
drink on the way up, spent 20 min. at the summit of Mt. Jonen-dake, and
stopped for 45 min. at Jonen-goya again on the way down to enjoy a
mabo-meshi (麻婆飯, spicy Chinese chili sauce on rice) lunch.
mountain hut (常念小屋)
The Jonen-goya mountain hut (常念小屋) was clean, well-run, and as is
case in Japan,
staffed by very friendly people, many of them college students.
hut is part of a network of
44 mountain huts in this area run by the Northern Japan Alps Mountain
A not-so-recent English map of these Northern Japan Alps
found here (Google map in Japanese here
(scroll down toward the bottom of the page)),
along with a not-so-recent listing of these huts with phone numbers
& URLs. But telephone numbers,
prices, and 2018 opening dates for
the Kamikochi area mountain huts are shown on my Mt-Oku-hotaka-dake
& Mt. Yari-ga-take page.
I would have to say that Mt. Jonen-dake was one of the easiest and most
accessible of all the highpoints in the
From Tokyo it
only takes about four hours by train or car to reach Hotaka Station
(穂高駅) on the JR Oito Line (JR大糸線), the nearest station to Mt.
Jonen-dake. And from Hotaka Station (or Toyoshina Station
which is 2 train stops closer to Tokyo), it only takes about 45 minutes
by car or
reach the Ichinosawa trailhead (一ノ沢登山口).
Y'all come back now, ya hear?
Mt. Jonen-dake was an awesome mountain climbing trip. Thank
you very much for visiting this page, and if you by
have already had the pleasure of climbing Mt. Jonen-dake, by all
means I hope
you will take a few minutes to share your story below with future
stop by again soon, as
I intend to add more
details later on this Mt. Jonen-dake climbing trip, including a section
on Japanese alpine flowers & a couple more route maps.
If you have any questions, comments, or would care to share your
climbing story, feel free to use the
section below. Or if you prefer sending me a private message, just
click on "Contact Me."
And as I recommended at
the end of the above
YouTube video, "Stay fit and keep hiking!"
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What Other Mt. Jonen-dake Climbers Have Said
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