Do a quick Google search about the most dangerous mountains in the world, and you will not find a single one from Japan. That’s understandable. While Japan has many mountains due to it being part of the Ring of Fire, it does not have any of those monumental mountains that are known for their extreme heights and prominence. The famous Mount Fuji is 3,776 meters tall, while other famous peaks around the world are over 5,000 meters above sea level, 109 of them with elevations over 7,200 meters.
So, no, Japan does not have a notoriously high and deadly mountain like Annapurna or K2, but it still manages to have one that has been dubbed “Mountain of Death”.
Mt. Tanigawa is not only one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains but also one of the deadliest. It is said that a total of 805 people have died on the mountain since 1930, a shockingly high number that surpasses that of any other mountain in the country. Because of this, the mountain is not recommended for novice climbers. Some training groups have actually been swept away even in the safest part of the mountain.
Ergo, climbing Mt. Tanigawa won’t be the same experience as climbing Mt. Fuji.
It is said that different levels are adorned with varying plaques which commemorate to those who have died. There’s actually a hiking trail for novices but off-trail climbing should be left to the experts. Many climbers and climbing parties have disappeared on the mountain. One of these climbers is said to have disappeared in the year 1943 but their body was only found 30 years later. The names of those who died are written near the large sculpted piton at the base of the mountain.
The location of the mountain is subject to extreme weather conditions. Most of the time during winter, avalanches are common.
The high death toll pushed the government to have a stricter policy wherein climbers needed to draw their route plans and have them approved first by the police. Every route is subject to the approval of the local police. There are actually several approaches for hundreds of hikers to choose during different seasons. Support systems such as helicopters are available for rescue but oftentimes it depends on the weather conditions.
The mountain has made its name in several novels and has also been featured in a documentary film on the NHK channel. It was also made the subject of a movie in 2008. Despite being dubbed as a Mountain of Death, Mt. Tanigawa has continuously attracted many hikers around the world who are looking for adventure or to simply enjoy of the mountain’s importance.
If you ever decide to climb it, though, make sure that you fully understand the risks and that you followall guidelines and recommendations.