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Home: Highest Mountains in Japan: Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳)

Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳)

Got a question or story about climbing
Mt. Tateyama or Mt. Tsurugi-dake?

Mt. Tateyama (立山), elev. 3015 m, and Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳), elev. 2999 m, are without question two of the most spectacular mountains in the Northern Japan Alps, if not in all of Japan. Since the 20th & 22nd highest mountains in Japan, respectively, are fairly close to each other, they are usually climbed together and like Mt. Shirouma-dake can be easily done in a weekend.

This is what I did, actually, leaving on a Friday night from Shinjuku, Tokyo, via the Alpico highway bus and returning back to Tokyo late on a Sunday night. The 1-way bus fare from Shinjuku to Murodo set me back ¥13,000. OUCH! smiley [By comparison, local travel agencies routinely advertise round trip airfares to Korea for less than ¥10,000.]

By far the most exhilarating part of this journey was the last 200 m or so before reaching the summit of Mt. Tsurugi-dake. Chains, ropes, ladders, and even built-in metal staircases were the order of the day along this route, but the most hair-raising spots were the two so-called “crab” sections.

The first exciting crab section is called “kani-no-yokobai” (see pic below), which in Japanese means crawling sideways like a crab. The other one, as you have probably already guessed, is called “kani-no-tatebai,” meaning crawling upwards like a crab, a pic of which is in my Flickr photo album linked below.

Kani-no-yokobai (crawling sideways like a crab)
Kani-no-yokobai (crawling sideways like a crab),
near the summit of Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳)

I must admit that it wasn’t nearly as scary as it looks, but let’s be clear, it’s not a place for mistakes, so if you slip and fall, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet your maker. smiley

In addition to my primary targets for this trip....the Tateyama twin peaks of Oyama (雄山, elev. 3003 m) & Onanji-yama (大汝山, Tateyama's highpoint) and Mt. Tsurugi-dake....2 other Japan highpoints along this route worthy of mention are Mt. Bessan (別山, elev. 2880 m) & Mt. Masago-dake (真砂岳, elev. 2861 m), the 37th & 43rd highest mountains in Japan, respectively.

Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳) Pics

Atop Mt. Tsurugi-dake
Atop Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳),
elev. 2999 m, Japan's 22nd highest mountain
(view entire Mt. Tateyama (立山) Flickr album here)

One of the things that I like best about the hikes from the Murodo (室堂) bus terminal is the breathtaking vistas one can see in the Murodo Valley and throughout the Tateyama range, including a great view of Lake Kurobe, which you can see in the photo album below. I also climbed Mt. Yakushi-dake starting from Murodo (室堂).

I hope you'll have time to check out the pics in my Flickr photo album of this fabulous mountain climbing trip. I have a feeling you're gonna agree with me about the gorgeous scenery I saw. No disrespect to my own home country, but we don't have anything even close to this in Texas, which may help explain why I've lived in Japan SOOOOOO long. smiley 

Click here to view my entire album of Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳), Japan's 20th & 22nd highest peaks, respectively, taken Oct. 5-7, 2001. Enjoy!!

My Google Map of Mt. Tateyama (立山) &
Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳)

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.

(zoom out to see all 25 highest mountains)

View 25 Highest Mountains in Japan in a larger map
Note: The highest point of the Tateyama peaks is called Onanji-yama (大汝山).

Route Map of Mt. Tateyama (立山) &
Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳)

(Mouse over graph to see elevations & place names.)

Transport from Hell

The only mistake I made on this trip was to take it on the three-day Sports Day weekend in early October. The hiking trails and mountain hut where I stayed, Kenzan-so (open late June to Oct. 10), were not so crowded, but the transport services along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route on that Sunday when I left were CRAZY.

The first segment from Murodo (室堂), the tunnel trolley bus, was no problem. In fact I was able to hop on it at 3:15 p.m., only 10 minutes after I finished hiking. But in Daikanbo, I lost over 2 hours waiting for the Tateyama cable car due to the holiday crowds. As a result, when I finally got back to Shinano-Omachi Station (信濃大町駅), it was too late to catch a train back to Tokyo.

Fortunately, a Japanese guy at the station suggested we share a nearly one-hour taxi ride over to Nagano Station, where we could catch a shinkansen bullet train back to Tokyo. Although this turned out to be a tad pricey, the payoff was that I was able to reach Tokyo Station by 11 p.m. and sleep in my own bed that night.

Note: Alpico no longer provides the Shinjuku to Murodo bus service, but you can take their highway bus from Shinjuku to Ogizawa (¥4850 1-way, ¥8700 round trip---it's more expensive for the all-night bus)  (, and then catch a couple of tunnel trolley buses, a cable car, and a ropeway along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route over to Murodo (¥5860 1-way, ¥9050 round trip) (

Keeping track of these constantly evolving transport services from year to year is quite challenging, and it's quite possible there may be easier & cheaper ways to access these peaks, and if so, please feel free to educate me & I'll update this page for the benefit of future site visitors. smiley


Well, I guess that’s enough for now. Thank you so much for visiting my website. Please come back again soon as I intend to add more data in the future. In the meantime, you may wish to check out my Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳) schedule & expenses page.

If you're the high-tech type, you can subscribe to my RSS feed and that way you’ll know when this page is updated. If you have any quick questions, feel free to give me a holler. Just click on "Contact Me." Or if you have a more significant question, comment, or story, I hope you'll be kind enough to share it in the special section below. Ciao!

Additional links:
Mt. Tateyama summit 6-day weather forecast
Mt. Tsurugi-dake summit 6-day weather forecast
Mt. Tateyama topo map (from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan)
Mt. Tsurugi-dake topo map (from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan) 
Mt. Tateyama/Mt. Tsurugi-dake route map (2023 1:50,000 hiking map, part of the Yama-to-kogen Chizu series published by Shobunsha, available in bookstores and from Amazon Japan)
Tateyama live web cam (updated hourly from 6 am to 6 pm)

Have a Question or Story about Climbing Mt. Tateyama or Mt. Tsurugi-dake?

Do you have a question or story about climbing Mt. Tateyama or Mt. Tsurugi-dake? Be among the first to pay it forward and share your climbing experience (along with up to 4 pics) with other visitors to this page still planning their climb!

Unlike social media sites like Facebook & Twitter where your post quickly gets pushed down off the page, your story will be given a dedicated webpage and its own URL, giving others a chance to comment (you can see similar stories below submitted so far on climbing Mt. Tateyama & Mt. Tsurugi-dake). And feel free to link your story back to your webpage, blog, or any other page of your choosing.

What Other Mt. Tateyama and Mt. Tsurugi-dake Climbers Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other Mt. Tateyama and Mt. Tsurugi-dake climbers...

What is the nearest campsite to Tsurugi-dake? 
What is the nearest campsite to Tsurugi-dake? Can we camp at Kenzanso Mountain Hut? We plan to go the 3rd week of September, 2014. Any advice on the …

How is climbing Mt. Tateyama and Mt. Tsurugi-dake in mid-June? 
Would you happen to know the actual climbing conditions in mid-June? I've read that Tateyama is open from April, but I also heard there would still be …

Is the bus from Shinjuku to Murodo still running in August 2013? 
Hi there, Wondering if you could help me out - I emailed the Alpico highway bus company and they said there was no bus from Shinjuku to Murodo. Can …

I'm headed to Tateyama and Tsurugi-dake July 23-24 
Thanks for putting this website together and for including some great hiking info and links. I have been hiking in Japan for years and have always had …

Does the Alpico bus you mentioned run all season? Not rated yet
Hi Gary, I went up Mt. Kita-dake, Onanjiyama at Mt. Tateyama, and Mistutoke around Fuji last year. Planning to climb tsurugi this July to Sept. i …

Tsurugi-dake nighttime temperature at the end of October? Not rated yet
Hello Gary, I write a quick email because I'm about to make a two weeks journey to Japan and I would like to ask some question. I would like to make the …

Too late to do Tateyama and Tsurugi in November? Not rated yet
Planning on a trip in November. Is this too late in the season to safely do this hike. Are the mountain huts or Kenzanso open during this time of year?? …

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