Mt. Ontake

Mount Ontake
Kiso Ontake.jpg
Viewed from Kuzo Pass of Route 361
Highest point
Elevation3,067 m (10,062 ft)[1]
Prominence1,712 m (5,617 ft)[2]
100 famous mountains in Japan
Coordinates35°53′34″N 137°28′49″E / 35.89278°N 137.48028°E / 35.89278; 137.48028Coordinates: 35°53′34″N 137°28′49″E / 35.89278°N 137.48028°E / 35.89278; 137.48028[1]
Mount Ontake is located in Japan
Mount Ontake
Mount Ontake
LocationGifu and Nagano, Chūbu region, Japan
Topo mapGeographical Survey Institute, 25000:1 御嶽山, 50000:1 御嶽山
Mountain typeStratovolcano
Last eruptionDecember 2020

Mount Ontake (御嶽山, Ontake-san), also referred to as Mount Kiso Ontake (木曽御嶽山, Kiso Ontake-san), is the 14th highest mountain and second highest volcano in Japan (after Mount Fuji) at 3,067 m (10,062 ft).[3] It is included in 100 Famous Japanese Mountains.


Mt. Ontake is located around 100 km (62 mi) northeast of Nagoya, and around 200 km (125 mi) west of Tokyo, at the borders of Kiso and Ōtaki, Nagano Prefecture, and Gero, Gifu Prefecture. The volcano has five crater lakes, with Ni no Ike (二ノ池) at 2,905 m (9,531 ft) being the highest mountain lake in Japan.[citation needed] Ontake is a major sacred mountain, and following older shamanistic practices, actors and artists have gone to the mountain to put themselves into trances in order to get divine inspiration for their creative activities.[4]


Ontake was thought to be inactive until October 1979, when it underwent a series of explosive phreatic eruptions which ejected 200,000 tons of ash, and had a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 2.[5] There were minor non-explosive (VEI 0) phreatic eruptions in 1991 and 2007.[5]

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, at around 11:53 a.m. Japan Standard Time (UTC +9),[6] the volcano erupted with a VEI of 3.[7][8] There were no significant earthquakes that might have warned authorities in the lead up to the phreatic eruption—caused by ground water flashing to steam in a hydrothermal explosion.[9] The Mount Ontake volcano eruption was an extremely rare phenomenon which made it difficult to take precautionary measures.[10][11] 63 people were killed; five bodies were never found.[12] The Japan Self-Defense Forces began carrying out helicopter searches for missing people after the eruption.[13]


See also[]


  1. ^ a b "Mountains altitude list in Japan(Gifu prefecture)" (in Japanese). Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "Japan Ultra-Prominences". Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  3. ^ "Ontakesan". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  4. ^ Bernbaum, Edwin (1997). Sacred Mountains of the World. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  5. ^ a b 御嶽山 有史以降の火山活動 (in Japanese). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "御嶽山が噴火 火口から4キロ程度は警戒を". NHK. September 27, 2014. Archived from the original on September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  7. ^ "御嶽山噴火、7人が灰に埋まる 山に残留44人 警察庁". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "3 buried under volcanic ash". NHK. Archived from the original on September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "Experts warn of further eruptions". NHK. September 28, 2014. Archived from the original on October 2, 2014.
  10. ^ "Why Japan missed volcano's warning signs". Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. September 29, 2014.
  11. ^ "Japan volcano Ontake an extremely rare eruption". Australian Geographic. September 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Mount Ontake: Four years after its deadly eruption". The Japan Times. September 28, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Japanese troops head for volcano after eruption to search for missing climbers". Chatham Daily News. Ontario. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.

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