Mount Nantai 男体山

  • Published on : 28/03/2019
  • by : S.R.
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A summit of Nikko

Mount Nantai is located in the middle of the Nikko Mountains, in Tochigi Prefecture. Appeared 23,000 years ago, this stratovolcano, whose last known activity dates back 7,000 years, sits in the background of Lake Chuzenji. It is also a sacred mountain for the two main cults of Japan, Buddhism, and Shintoism.

A central geographical position

Mount Nantai belongs to the Nikkôovolcanic complex, and rises to a height of 2,486 meters, making it the second mountain in the chain after Mount Nikko-Shirane (2,578 meters).

It is located 120 kilometers north of the Tokyo metropolis and about a hundred kilometers from both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. The mountain, which belongs to the list of the 100 famous mountains of Japan, also dominates the city of Nikko.


A sacred mountain

Nantai Mountain has had religious significance since ancient times. It was climbed in the 8th century for the first time by the founder of the Rinnô-ji temple, Shôdô Shônin, who likened it to Fudaraku-san, the Kannon bodhisattva of mercy.

Carte du Mont Nantai
Le Mont Nantai

Excavations carried out at the top throughout the last century have unearthed votive offerings dating from the Nara period (710 - 794) to the Edo period (1603 - 1868).

The existence of the Futarasan shrine is intimately linked to that of the mountain. The main building is thus at the foot of the mountain, while an auxiliary sanctuary, the Futurasan-jinja Chûgû Shi is located right in the middle of the southern slope.

At the top of the mountain, an "oku-miya" (or "bottom sanctuary") has also been built.

Futarasan jinja torii


Hikes and walks on Mount Nantai

A hiking trail is laid out on the southern slope from Futurasan-jinja ChûgûShi and begins at the torii Tohai-mon, which materializes the sacredness of the place.

9 terminals line the path to the summit, over a distance of 6 kilometers and a drop of 1,200 meters. 35,000 people climb Nantai Mountain each year, a fairly steep route that takes about 4 hours.

The time of the Nantaisan Tohai Kosh festival between July 31 and August 7 particularly attracts hikers, who can then climb it at night, like Mount Fuji, to admire the sunrise at the top.

Oku-miya at the top of Mount Nantai


Chuzenji Lake and Mount Nantai

View of Lake Chûzenji and Mount Nantai.


Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Timetable

    From JR Kita-Senju station in Tokyo, take the Nikko-Kinugawa line (2700 yen, $30/25€) to Nikko station (1h50). From there take the Yumoto Onsen bus and get off at the Futarasan-jinjamae stop (50 min).

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