The Japanese Alps (日本アルプス Nihon Arupusu?) is a series of mountain ranges in Japan which bisect the main island of Honshu. The name was coined by William Gowland, the "Father of Japanese Archaeology", and later popularized by Reverend Walter Weston (1861–1940), an English missionary for whom a memorial plaque is located at Kamikochi, a tourist destination known for its alpine climate. When Gowland coined the phrase, however, he was only referring to the Hida Mountains.
Today, the Japanese Alps encompass the Hida Mountains, the Kiso Mountains and the Akaishi Mountains. These towering ranges include several peaks exceeding 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in height, the tallest after Mount Fuji. The highest are Mount Hotaka at 3,190 m (10,466 ft) and Mount Kita at 3,193 m (10,476 ft). Mount Ontake in Nagano Prefecture, at 3,067 m (10,062 ft), is a destination for pilgrimages as well as an active volcano, having erupted most recently in 1979 and 1980.
The Central Alps, also known as the Kiso Mountains, lie in Nagano prefecture.
- Walter Weston, Mounteneering and Exploration in the Japanese Alps, London, John Murray, 1896
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