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100 Famous Japanese Mountains

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100 Famous Japanese Mountains
Book cover, English version
AuthorKyūya Fukada
Original title日本百名山
TranslatorMartin Hood
LanguageJapanese, translated in English
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
Publication date
Published in English
31 December 2014
Mount Fuji (3,776 m) from Asagiri-kōgen

100 Famous Japanese Mountains (日本百名山, Nihon Hyaku-meizan) is a book written in 1964 by mountaineer and author Kyūya Fukada.[1] The list became famous when Crown Prince Naruhito, now Emperor, took note of it[citation needed]. The list has been the topic of NHK documentaries, and other hiking books. An English edition, One Hundred Mountains of Japan, translated by Martin Hood, was published in 2014 by the University of Hawaii Press (ISBN 9780824836771).[2]

The complete list (sorted into regions from northeast to southwest) is below.


Selections of celebrated mountains have been produced since the Edo period. Tani Bunchō praised 90 mountains in 日本名山図会 (A collection of maps and pictures of famous Japanese mountains), but among these were included such small mountains as Mount Asama in Ise, Mie and Mount Nokogiri on the Bōsō Peninsula. Unsatisfied with this selection, Fukuda, who had climbed many mountains in Japan, selected 100 celebrated Japanese mountains based on a combination of grace, history, and individuality, moreover excluding mountains with an altitude of less than 1,500 m (4,921 ft).

Though it was at first unknown other than to some hiking-lovers and avid readers, reports that the list was one of the (then) Crown Prince's favorite books increased its profile. The Emperor is a mountain enthusiast to the extent that he has even belonged to an alpine club, and it has been reported that it is a dream of his to reach the summit of every mountain on the list.

Since the 1980s, there has been a climbing boom amongst the middle-aged. It is not alpinism for experts, sometimes including rock climbing, that has been popularised, but rather more casual hiking or trekking for ordinary people. However, due to the creation of more mountain lodges and trails, and the improvement of mountaineering technology, it became possible to climb mountains which had previously been considered very rugged.

The list became widely read, and more and more people have chosen mountains from the book to climb. In imitation of the Emperor, many people have also set the goal of reaching every summit on the list.

Mountaineering programs on NHK helped popularize the list. The station televised a documentary about taking up the mountains on the list one by one, and Rambō Minami's mountaineering primer for the middle-aged. These gained broad popularity, and the list became widely known. Since then, lists of 200 and 300 mountains, lists of hundreds of mountains in various localities, and a list of 100 floral mountains have appeared.

In 2002, a new record was established when all the mountains were traversed in 66 days. This was superseded in 2007, with a new record of 48 continuous days.[3] This was further cut to 33 days in 2014[4]


Compared to other modern essays on Japanese mountains such as Mountaineering and Exploration in the Japanese Alps by Walter Weston, the book is short. Fukuda writes about the history of the mountains, especially the origins of their names. It is not a text that people can read to vicariously experience climbing or nature. Some think that the reason the list has been widely well received is that it put into focus 100 mountains which were already well known.

Selection criteria[edit]

Fukada selected 100 mountains from those he had climbed which are 1,500 meters or higher, according to three criteria: grace, history and individuality. There was some flexibility regarding the height, with some of the mountains, like Mount Tsukuba and Mount Kaimon, being under the limit.

There have been many varying opinions about the criteria for selection. It is often pointed out that the list emphasizes mountains in the Chūbu region. It has been reported that Fukada, who was from Ishikawa Prefecture, was brought up looking at Mt. Haku, but he only selected 13 further west.

However, grace and individuality are in the eye of the beholder, and throughout history, many legends have been circulated about mountains throughout the Kinki region. Moreover, many mountain-lovers[who?] have argued that since Mount Tsukuba, with an altitude of 877 meters (876 at the time), was selected, certain mountains in other localities should have been chosen.

List by region[edit]


Mount Daisetsu - 2,191m

Tōhoku region[edit]

Hakkōda - 1,584m

Kantō region[edit]

Mount Nantai - 2,486m

Chūbu region[edit]

Mount Aino - 3,189m
Mount Hotaka - 3,190m
Mount Shirouma - 2,932m

Western Japan[edit]

Mount Ibuki and N700 Series Shinkansen - 1,377m


  1. ^ Hyakumeizan, Hiking Japan! Archived 2007-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. Japan Gazetteer. Accessed June 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Catalogue record. Worldcat. OCLC 931532988.
  3. ^ 百名山、最短48日で踏破 屋久の島津さん
  4. ^ "「日本百名山」最短踏破に挑戦 札幌の男性". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2019-07-01.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

One Hundred Mountains of Japan