The Japanese Alps 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 metres in height, the tallest after Mount Fuji. The highest are Mount Hotaka at 3,190 metres in north area and Mount Kita at 3,193 metres in south area. Mount Ontake is well known as an active volcano, having erupted most recently in 2014.
The Northern Alps, also known as the Hida Mountains, stretch through Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures. A small portion of the mountains also reach into Niigata Prefecture. The Central Alps, also known as the Kiso Mountains, lie in Nagano prefecture. The Southern Alps, also known as the Akaishi Mountains, span Nagano, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka prefectures.
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