Mt. Nantai-san in Nikko area (#36 of the 100 Famous Mountains in Japan)
If you're fit, the 1,200m climb up Nantai-san and back might take you about four hours (Japanese hiking maps say to allow 5-6 hours' hiking time). If it's a hot day, make sure you've got enough fluids.
Ten to 15 minutes' along the lakeshore west of the red torii (shrine gate), the traditional gates to the middle Futara-san-jinja at Chuzen-ji Onsen bus stop, is the Shinto shrine itself (there is also a bus stop here). The track heads more or less straight up the mountain from the shrine, starting with stone steps, at steady, steep gradient. The shrine charges ¥500 for the privilege of the climb on this sacred peak. There is a slight levelling off between stages three and four, where the track winds around a bit following a road. You shouldn't find it too steep or cars wouldn't get up it! From the fourth stage it is back to the rocky steep track, passing a shelter near the fifth stage.
Nantai-san(2484m) is a typical conical volcano, so the rocky track steepens as you get near the top. Passing through another torii at stage seven you will come across a tiny mud-floor emergency hut at stage eight and finally ascend to the upper Futara shrine at the top.
On a good day the views are stunning across to Joshinetsu Kogen but especially looking down on Chuzenji-ko. If you wander around a bit on the crater's rim you can get a good view northwest to Senjo-ga-hara and Oku-Shirane-san, features of the other two hikes in this section. Return by the same route or consider a steep track back down the north flank of the mountain, emerging at an emerency hut and road pass at Shizunokkoshi without any public transport. From here it is a two-hour forest road walk to the west towards Senjo-ga-hara.
- Lonely planet
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