Mt. Ontake Eruption

September 27th, 2014 by
Category: Information

Mt. Ontake, the 3067-meter volcano towering over the west side of the Kiso Valley, erupted around noon on Saturday 27-Sept.  The mountain is popular for climbing, and all climbers have or are in the process of evacuating the mountain.  According to the Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department, Mt. Ontake has been closed for climbing until further notice.  Nearby Route 19, the main highway along the Kiso Valley, as well as the JR Chuo Line which also runs along the Kiso Valley, and the Chuo Expressway which runs one valley over, are all 0perating normally.  The only area to be affected by the eruption is a 4km-radius cautionary zone that has been set up around Mt. Ontake for danger of falling ash.  If/when the prefecture’s Tourism Dept. offers new information, the Go-Nagano blog will be updated accordingly.

UPDATE: As of Sunday 12-Oct, 2 weeks from the eruption, a total of 63 people have reportedly died or are unaccounted for due to the eruption. Minor earthquakes and volcanic gas plumes are continuing (0-1 earthquake in the last 24 hours, gas plume approx. 300 meters high drifting in an southwesterly direction.)

(Map showing the evacuation area at

Mt. Ontake, the 4km-radius cautionary zone, and major sightseeing spots:

See a large map.

22 Responses to “Mt. Ontake Eruption

  1. I will go to Matsusaka , Takayama, Shirakawago, Gero & Nagoya on 05 Oct – 12 Oct 2014.
    Would like to know does those area being affected ? especially the air pollution as it may irritating to my respiratory.

  2. May-san, Thank you for your comment. As per, Nagano Prefecture is warning everyone to stay a minimum of 4km from Mt. Ontake to avoid falling ash and rocks. All of the places you listed are outside that 4km radius. However, they are all outside of Nagano Prefecture so you may want to check with the respective prefectural governments (Mie, Gifu and Aichi.). Hopefully everything goes well with your trip.

  3. Bill-san, Matsumoto and the Kurobe Dam Alpine Route are way outside the 4-km radius danger area, hence they are not affected.

  4. Hi, I plan to go to Jugokudani to see the snow monkies in mid-Dec which from understanding is in Nagano prefecture. I suppose this area is outside the 4KM radius?

  5. Erika-san, Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park is approx. 140km from Mt. Ontake. Rest assured, the snow monkeys are oblivious to the volcanic eruption. (Of course they are oblivious to just about everything besides their Onsen bath, but that’s another story…)

  6. Tyler- san, thanks for the info – good to hear the area where the snow monkeys are is far from Mt Ontake. Yes, yes the monkeys are usually quite tuned out unless of course its food involved. Haah.. thanks again.

  7. Hello,
    I am planning on going to Norikura Dake, Mount Norikura and Shirahone Onsen next week (5Oct). I know this is outside the 4KM zone but am wondering if there is ash falling ?

    It’s hard to tell just how far Shirahone is from the zone, is it close ?

    Thanks, Colin

  8. Colin-san, Norikura-dake is approx. 20km from Mt. Ontake, and Shirahone Onsen is another approximately 7km further. I’ve been following the local news closely, and there’s been no reports of ash falling around Norikura.

  9. Hello,
    I will be walking the Nakasendo Walk from Magome to Tsumago in a week’s time. It looks outside of the 4KM area but fairly close – it is hard to tell on the map. Can you please confirm if this area is a safe distance from ash and fumes.

  10. Buria-san, Tsumago and Magome are approx. 30km from Mt. Ontake, so perfectly safe. I did that walk a few summers ago. I hope it’s as magical for you as it was for me.

  11. Hello

    i am travelling to Takayama from the 7 til 10th of october, does anyone know if is it safe or should i change my plan?


  12. Elena-san, Since this is the official website for Nagano Prefecture, I assume you mean Takayama Village (aka Shinshu Takayama) on the prefecture’s northeastern edge. It is 130km from Mt. Ontake, so well outside the 4km radius cautionary zone. Shinshu Takayama’s famous Matsukawa Gorge is a few weeks away from being at its peak of fall colors.
    If there is some confusion and you mean the town of Hida-Takayama in neighboring Gifu Prefecture, the town center is 35km from Mt. Ontake but part of the town lies within the 4km no-go zone. I suggest you inquire with Hida-Takayama and/or Gifu Pref.

  13. Hello. We are planing a trip to the Kiso Valley on October 11th for a few days. We plan to stay at a ryokan in Tsumago. Hike from Magome to Tsumago, then again from Yubuhara to Narai. This is also a driving trip so we would like to know if the roads would be ok to drive on. I think it is route 19. Thank You.

  14. Cindy-san, It may be useful to re-read the original post and the recent comments. As already mentioned, the walk from Magome to Tsumago is well outside the 4km cautionary zone, and Route 19 is operating normally. Yabuhara / Narai-juku are also approx. 25km from Mt. Ontake, so are safe as well.
    This is a great time of the year to travel the Kiso Valley with the fall foliage. I wish you a pleasant trip.

  15. Hello. We will be travelling to Hida Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Shinhotaka Ropeway in February 2015.
    Is it safe to go up Shinhotaka Ropeway now? Is it closed now because from the map, I can see it is very near to Mt. Ontake.
    Thank You

  16. Emmy-san, Thank you for commenting on the Go-Nagano blog on Nagano Prefecture’s official website. Hida Takayama, Shirakawa-go and the Shinhotaka Ropeway are all great places, but none of them happen to be in Nagano Prefecture. Plus, February is a long time off. Perhaps you could check with Gifu Prefecture.

  17. Thank you for the reply, Tyler. Can you tell me , at this time, is that any volcanic ash falling in Takayama? Thank You

Leave a Reply



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.