Photo by Peter Skov
|Best months for climbing:||Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct|
|Nearest major airport:||Narita, Kansai|
Thanks to Peter Skov for adding this peak.
In the southern region of the South Alps of Japan lie three large mountains, each over 3,000 meters high. Of these, Arakawadake is the highest and the sixth highest in Japan. It is also one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains, and as such, it draws a fair number of visitors each year, in spite of its remote setting and long routes to the summit.
Arakawadake (the main peak is also known as Warusawadake) actually has three summits and together they are known as the Arakawa Sanzan (Arakawa Three Mountains). The highest is Higashi Arakawadake (3,141m), followed by Naka Arakawadake (3,083m), and Mae Arakawadake (3,068m). Higashi and Naka are separated by a fairly large gulf with a steep switchback route on Higashi, but Naka and Mae are separated by a short distance with very little elevation lost while crossing from one to the other. Higashi and Naka also have very large, spacious summits while a large slice of Mae has fallen away leaving the summit ripped away to the west. There are several glacial cirques on this mountain as well.
There are no quick routes in to Arakawadake or its neighbors. Most people coming to Arakawadake come in either heading south from the Senpuku Pass, which also heads north to Shiomidake, or they come up from the Sawarajima Lodge in the Oigawa Valley below. Either way, it’s about 10 hours to the summit, so people usually make use of the lodges, huts, and tent sites along the way. One thing to note is that if you come in from Sawarajima, you’ll have to take the bus from the Hatanagi First Dam to the south where there is a parking lot. The bus is free if you stay at least one night in one of the shelters on the mountains. You are given a slip of paper when you board and on your return trip you must present the paper with proof that you stayed at one of the shelters or you will have to pay. Alternatively you could walk from the dam to Sawarajima but that will add a few hours to your journey.
The summit of Arakawadake offers excellent views across to Shiomidake and the northern peaks of the South Alps, Akaishidake and Hijiridake, and of course to Fujisan. One can also continue on to Akaishidake and then to Hijiridake to make a loop of the three behemoths of the area.
Thanks to Peter Skov for this description.