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  • Mount Ontake
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  • Mount Ontake in the spring
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  • Sennindaki Falls in early autumn
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  • Mount Ontake with snow
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  • Nigorigo Onsen outdoor hot spring bath
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Ontake Recreation Forest

Elevation Lowest 1,470m / Highest 2,140m

A subalpine forest at the foot of Mount Ontake in the Hida Range

ー Relax in forest, explore waterfalls, challenge yourself with highland training, then relax in the hot springs of Nigorigo Onsen after your exertions ー

A subalpine forest at the foot of Mount Ontake in the Hida Range

ー Relax in forest, explore waterfalls, challenge yourself with highland training, then relax in the hot springs of Nigorigo Onsen after your exertions ー

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Autumn leaf viewing Waterfall viewing Birdwatching Mountain climbing (Includes surrounding area) Canyoning (river/waterfall) (some foreign language support available) Guided tours (some foreign language support available) Hot spring day spa Training facilities
Geographical/topographical features
Located at the foot of Mount Ontake (3,067 m), in the eastern part of Gifu Prefecture’s Hida region, Ontake Recreation Forest covers approximately 600 ha at an elevation of 1,500–2,200 m. With numerous valleys, precipitous cliffs, and high rainfall, this area is rich in water resources and has many waterfalls.
A hot spring bubbles up from the earth close to Mount Ontake’s sixth station (at an elevation of 1,800 m); nearby Nigorigo Onsen ― home to a number of lodgings ― is the highest hot spring resort of those are open throughout the year in Japan.
Historical/cultural features
Along with Mount Fuji and Mount Tate, Mount Ontake has long been an object of reverence for the devout, who have regarded it as a sacred mountain since ancient times. Until the 18th century or thereabouts, in the middle of the Edo period, only those who had undertaken strict ascetic practices were permitted to climb this sacred mountain. It was then opened up to the masses and assemblies of Mount Ontake-worshippers formed the length and breadth of Japan, flocking to climb the mountain to pay their respects. However, it was only in the late 19th century that women were finally permitted to climb it.
Development of Nigorigo Onsen as a hot spring resort is said to have begun in about 1887.
Climate, flora and fauna
With a continental climate, this area receives 2,433 mm of rainfall per year on average. From a vegetation perspective, it is a subalpine zone (at an elevation of 1,500–2,500 m), between montane and alpine, with a natural forest mainly consisting of conifers, including shirabiso, Veitch's fir (Abies veitchii); tohi, Hondo spruce (Picea jezoensis var. hondoensis); and kometsuga, northern Japanese hemlock (Tsuga diversifolia). Further down are many moss layers, while herbaceous plants found around the forest include mitsubaoren, threeleaf goldthread (Coptis trifolia); gozentachibana, creeping dogwood (Cornus canadensis); hirohayukizasa (Maianthemum yesoense); and yamasotetsu (Plagiogyria matsumureana).
The main wild creatures to which the forest provides a habitat include nihon kamoshika, Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus); nihon tsukinowaguma, Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus); nihon zaru, Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata); tobi, black kite (Milvus migrans); mamushi (Gloydius blomhoffii); and iwana, whitespotted char (Salvelinus leucomaenis).
Relaxation in forest and tours of local waterfalls offer the opportunity to savor the charms of this area, which change with the seasons. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of other activities that make the most of the rich and magnificent natural environment of the Hida-Ontake area, from highland training in the subalpine zone at an elevation of 1,800 m to hot spring bathing. The summit of Mount Ontake's Hida peak can be reached in about 3 hours and 30 minutes from the trailhead (Gonoike Lodge (¥10,000 per night, including 2 meals) is located at the summit of Mount Ontake's Hida peak).
A Gifu Prefecture ordinance requires visitors planning to climb Mount Ontake to submit a mountain climbing plan.
Ontake-Nigorigo Highland Training Center
One of only a very few highland training centers in Japan, this center is equipped with highland (1,700 m) and hypoxic training facilities, as well as an athletics track.
Gero City Cross Country Course
Latest Information
June Beginning of the mountaineering season on Mount Ontake
October Hida Osaka Ontake Panorama Fun Run/Walk
The Recreation Forest is located deep in the mountains, so many wild animals live here. Information on bear sightings is sometimes received, so please ensure that you carry a bell, radio, or other item that makes a noise while out walking.
・Prefecture Route 441 is closed to traffic in the event of more than 80 mm of continuous rainfall.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free of charge
Tour of the Hida-Osaka Falls by local NPO (Fees for guided tours start at ¥3,500 for adults.)
Nigorigo Onsen: Visitors who are not staying overnight may also use hot spring baths at the accommodation facilities (Municipal outdoor hot spring bath: adults ¥600)
More information on :
Hida Ontake Highland Training Area (A center housing medically-based training facilities with usage fees. Open from late April through early November.)
More information on :
Nigorigo Onsen municipal outdoor hot spring bath (¥600 for adults), open 11am to 7pm from late April through early November
More information on :
Accommodation options
A number of Japanese inns are located in the Nigorigo Onsen hot spring district.
Toilets and drinking fountains Walking trail Parking lot Observation platform (Outside the forest) Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) (due to be available by the end of March 2018) Specimen forest/Botanic garden/Museum Accommodation facilities (Hotels / Japanese inns)
2376-1 Osakacho Ochiai, Gero-shi, Gifu Prefecture
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Toyama Station JR Takayama Main Line (1 hour 30 minutes) → Takayama Station (30 minutes) → Hida-Osaka Station
  • Nagoya Station JR Takayama Main Line (1 hour 30 minutes) → Gero Station (30 minutes) → Hida-Osaka Station
  • Please note that there are no scheduled bus services from Hida-Osaka Station.
By car
  • About 1 hour from JR Hida-Osaka Station via Pref. Route 437 and Pref. Route 441.
  • About 1 hour 30 minutes from Takayama via Route 41, Pref. Route 437, and Pref. Route 441.
  • (Some Japanese inns offer a pick-up service for visitors staying at accommodation facilities in Nigorigo Onsen, within the Recreation Forest)
  • Prefectural Road 441 will be closed if the continuous rainfall exceeds 80 mm.
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Parking lots are available at the entrance to the Nigorigo Onsen hot spring district and the Mount Ontake trailhead (space for about 50 vehicles in total)

Nearby tourist facilities
  • 70 minutes by car to Gandate-kyo Gorge
  • 50 minutes by car to Ogurogawa Tsuriba Fishing Park
Management office contact details
Gifu District Forest Office
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
Tour of the Hida-Osaka Falls (website of NPO Hida-Osaka 200 Falls Foundation) [External link]
Official Tourist Information
Gero City Tourism Information [External link]
Website of the Hida-Osaka Tourist Association [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Ontakesan-Forest with Breathtaking Views (Ontake Recreation Forest) Management Committeee
Contact details: Osaka Promotion Office, Gero City Office
Tel: 0576-62-3111

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