Posted by: tsubakuro | March 9, 2010

Gallery: The Southern Region of the South Alps

The southern behemoths of the South Alps

The South Alps receive less traffic than the North Alps for a few reasons. They have fewer high (over 2,800 metres) mountains than the North Alps; almost all lodges are closed from October to May or June; and access is either limited to the main climbing months or simply limited altogether.

The southern region of the South Alps is probably one of the most remote mountain areas in Honshu. Typically, it takes about 10 hours to reach the summit of any of the great peaks down here. If it were not for the fact that three of Japan’s 21 summits over 3,000 metres are here and four Hyakumeizan, it is likely that the number of annual visitors would be even fewer. The main attractions are the Arakawa Sanzan with Arakawa Higashidake (also known as Warusawadake) as Japan’s sixth highest summit at 3,141m, Akaishidake – 3,120m, Hijiridake – 3,013m, and Tekaridake – 2,591m.

The photograph here was captured one very blustery and cold morning in early November of 2009. Two days early, I had basked in warm sunshine in a small valley partway up the route to Chausudake, the mountain from which this photo was made. The next day cool cloudy weather became icy and bitterly cold. When I left the off-season room at Chausu Koya before sunrise, thick coatings of rime covered the rocks and vegetation everywhere. As the sun came up, I huddled behind a cluster of dwarf pine that formed a natural wind barrier and attempted to keep my tripod and camera as steady as possible. In the image here you can see from left to right Hijiridake, Akaishidake, Arakawa Higashidake (in the distant centre), and Kamikouchidake on the right.



  1. The slanting light magnificently picks out the ruggedness of these mountains. “Warusawa” – what a fitting name ….

  2. Thanks. I actually like that name better than Arakawadake, even though I also have a photo project going of Arakawa, the river in Saitama and Tokyo.

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