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Who Discovered Hida Mountains?

Unveiling the Pioneers: Tracing the Trailblazers Who Explored Hida Mountains!

Hida Mountains

Hida Mountains

The Hida Mountains, also known as the Northern Alps of Japan, stand as a symbol of the country’s majestic natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Stretching across Nagano, Toyama, and Gifu prefectures, with a small portion extending into Niigata Prefecture, these mountains have captured the imagination of adventurers, scientists, and explorers for centuries. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the intriguing question: who discovered the Hida? Through historical accounts, geological research, and cultural narratives, we unravel the stories behind the exploration and recognition of this iconic mountain range.

The Early Explorers

Indigenous Knowledge

Before recorded history, the Hida Mountains were likely known to the indigenous Ainu people, who inhabited the regions of Hokkaido, Honshu, and parts of the Russian Far East. The Ainu, with their deep connection to the land and mountains, would have been familiar with the rugged terrain and natural features of the Hida, although specific records of their exploration are scarce.

Ancient Japanese Accounts

The earliest written records of the Hida Mountains can be found in ancient Japanese texts such as the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, which date back to the 8th century. These texts, which contain myths, legends, and historical accounts of Japan’s origins, make references to mountainous regions in central Honshu, including the area that would later become known as the Hida.

European Exploration

Arrival of European Explorers

The modern exploration of the Hida Mountains by Europeans began in the late 19th century, during the Meiji Restoration period when Japan opened its doors to the world after centuries of isolation. European explorers and adventurers, drawn by the allure of Japan’s natural wonders, set out to map and document the country’s mountainous regions, including the Hida.

William Gowland

One of the early European explorers credited with discovering and documenting the Hida Mountains is William Gowland, a British archaeologist, and explorer. Gowland, who arrived in Japan in the late 19th century, conducted extensive surveys and studies of Japan’s ancient monuments, landscapes, and natural features. His expeditions into the Japanese Alps, including the Hida, contributed to the scientific understanding and appreciation of Japan’s geological and cultural heritage. Just as we know Who Discovered Crocker Mountains?

Walter Weston

Another prominent figure in the exploration of the Hida Mountains is Walter Weston, a British missionary, and mountaineer. Weston, who arrived in Japan in the late 19th century, was captivated by the country’s mountainous landscapes and became one of the pioneers of mountaineering in Japan. His expeditions to the Northern Alps, including the Hida, helped popularize mountain climbing as a recreational activity and drew attention to Japan’s natural beauty on the international stage.

Japanese Recognition

Local Explorers and Mountaineers

While European explorers played a significant role in introducing the Hida Mountains to the world, it is important to recognize the contributions of Japanese explorers and mountaineers to the discovery and exploration of the region. Local climbers and adventurers, inspired by the achievements of their European counterparts, began to explore and document the Japanese Alps, including the Hida, during the early 20th century.

Yūichirō Miura

One of the most renowned Japanese mountaineers associated with the Hida Mountains is Yūichirō Miura, who gained international fame for his mountaineering exploits, including his successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1970. Miura, who was born in Nagano Prefecture, grew up in the shadow of the Hida and was deeply influenced by their grandeur and beauty. His pioneering spirit and adventurous pursuits have inspired generations of Japanese climbers to explore the peaks and valleys of the Hida Mountains.


The discovery of the Hida Mountains is a multifaceted and ongoing process that encompasses indigenous knowledge, ancient texts, European exploration, and local recognition. From the early explorers who first ventured into the rugged terrain of the Japanese Alps to the modern mountaineers who continue to push the boundaries of exploration, the story of the Hida is a testament to humanity’s enduring fascination with nature’s wonders. As we celebrate the achievements of those who have explored and documented the Hida, we also acknowledge the importance of preserving and protecting these majestic landscapes for future generations to discover and enjoy.

Know More about Hida Mountains.

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