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Mt. Tanigawa

Elevation: 1977m





Elevation Change

➚ 1350m   ➘ 700m


7 Hours




Mountain Huts


Mt. Tanigawa is an amazing mountain in northern Gunma which is easily accessible via train from Tokyo. The trailhead is located next to Doai Station, which happens to be the deepest underground train station in Japan. Doai Station is 70 meters underground, with 486 steps leading all the way from the platform up to the surface. It takes about 10 minutes and there is no escalator or elevator, so many say the start of your hike begins here.

Mt. Tanigawa is also served by a large ropeway, taking you up to 1300 meters, making day trips possible. The ropeway doesn't take away from the excitement though, as the trail that reaches the peak contains a variety of steep terrain features, with chains and ladders to assist with the ascent. It's also stunningly beautiful with a combination of boardwalks, massive boulders, and vast landscapes of bamboo grass, resembling waves rolling along a vibrant green ocean. Skipping the ropeway also provides an enjoyable hike through the forest and onto a neighbouring ridgeline with its own set of via ferrata, gorgeous views, and diverse terrain.


Mt. Tanigawa used to be known as the "mountain of death" due to the high number of failed rock climbing ascents. Over the past 90 years, more than 800 people have died while climbing Tanigawa. Although, only a tiny fraction of these were hiking trips and nowadays it's safely hiked by people of all ages. It's also part of the Hyakumeizan.


The most common trail options include:
- The Ropeway Trail: an out-and-back hike from the top of the ropeway.

- The Nishiguro Ridge Trail: a loop hike using the ropeway only for the descent.

- The Tanigawa Horseshoe Traverse: an overnight ridgeline loop covering a number of peaks.


We'll cover all 3 in this guide, with the main focus being the loop hike that climbs up the Nishiguro Ridge and then catching the ropeway back down.


Car: If you're driving you can park for free near the ropeway located here, it's about a 2.5 hour drive from Tokyo. The trailhead is a 10 min walk up the road.

Trains: Doai Station is only 2 hours via shinkansen from Tokyo Station, with the earliest train arriving at around 8:30am. The cost is a little over 7000 yen, Google Maps will provide you with all the train times. 

Ropeway and Trailhead: The Ropeway opens at 8am on weekdays and 7am on weekends and holidays, check the website for the latest price information. It's about a 30 minute walk from Doai Station, or you can take a bus.

Weather  and  Seasons

Summer, and autumn, from July to October, are the best times for this hike. Summer can be hot, but the peak will be about 7 degrees cooler than in the cities, however, the ridgeline is exposed so you'll need to bring lots of water.


Japanese Online Map:

Detailed Hiking Map: Amazon


There are a number of shelter huts located all over the Tanigawa mountain range, but most of them are pretty basic. There are 2 proper mountain huts, the Tanigawa Shoulder Hut located right next to the Tanigawa peak, and the Yomogi Hut located nearly halfway along the traverse. Another halfway option is the Shimizu Shelter Hut which has a small space for a couple of tents. For the overnight traverse, use the hiking map to plan how much time you want to dedicate to each day, and then check photos of the shelters on Google Maps to help you decide where to sleep. 

Useful links

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The hikes


Trail Description

 The Ropeway Trail 
Time: 5 Hours

Difficulty: 3/5

Distance: 6km

Elev. Change:  ➚ 700m   ➘ 700m

GPS Map:

The most popular trail, the hike from the ropeway is easy to follow with a variety of terrain including boardwalks, large rocky sections, and some chains for rock climbing. This one can get pretty busy on weekends.

 The Nishiguro Ridge Trail 

Time: 6-7 Hours

Difficulty: 3/5

Distance: 7km (+2km if walking from Doai Station)

Elev. Change:  ➚ 1350   ➘ 700m

GPS Map:

The Nishiguro Ridge trail is the best option for experiencing the full hike and avoiding the crowds while taking advantage of the ropeway for the descent. You'll spend the first hour in the forest and eventually come out to a beautiful ridgeline with great views and some enjoyable chain sections. There is a bus to the ropeway if you want to skip 25 mins of walking on the road, you can find the bus times at the station or on Google Maps.


 The Tanigawa Horseshoe Traverse 

Time: 2 Days (15 hrs)

Difficulty: 4/5

Distance: 23km

Elev. Change:  ➚ 2500m   ➘ 1800m

GPS Map:

The Tanigawa traverse hike can be completed in either direction, and you can take advantage of the ropeway if you prefer. Choose your hut based on your start time, level of fitness, comfort desired, and views. Most of the huts along the Tanigawa mountain range are very basic, but some have a small space for tents. The Shimizu Pass Shelter is a good halfway option for camping, and the Yomogi Hutte is the most comfortable option. Your best strategy is to use the hiking map to plan your timeframe for days 1 and 2, and then consider which shelter huts to choose, you can also check their photos on Google Maps.

Doai St. → ⏲ 7 hrs → Shimizu Shelter → ⏲ 2 hrsYomogi Hutte → ⏲ 4 hrs → Mt. Tanigawa → ⏲ 2.5 hrsRopeway

Elevation Profile

 The Ropeway Trail 

Screenshot 2023-09-07 at 4.41.26 pm.png

 The Nishiguro Ridge Trail 

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 The Tanigawa Horseshoe Traverse 

Screenshot 2023-09-07 at 9.49.22 pm.png



Altitude & Weather


Bears (rare)


Rock Climbing


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Difficulty: 3/5

Time: 7 Hours

Distance: 7km

Elev. gain: 1350m

Prefecture: Gunma

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