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Gendarme (Nagano)

Gendarme Hike Japan

The Hida ridge traverse from Nishihodaka to Okuhodaka is an expert level scramble with dramatic views and cliffs. It requires upper body strength for free climbing with your hands and chains and is very exposed.

It's also often called Gendarme 3163m which is one of the peaks on the traverse.

This trail is very dangerous and only for confident and experienced climbers. People fall and die every year so proceed with caution. It's called "Japans most dangerous hike" for a reason. Don’t attempt this hike in bad weather or outside of the main hiking season.

Helmet and gloves needed.


⏲︎	Time: 10hName: ジャンダルムLocation: NaganoDistance: 6.7kmDifficulty: ExpertElevation Gain: 1500mMultiday: 2D/1NHiking Season: Mid July to
	end of September

Nishihotaka hida ridgeline


Public Transportation

Start is either at Shinhodaka ropeway or Kamikochi. It’s recommended to follow that direction as most sections you'll descend have chains that way. If you go the other way from Okuhodaka you'll have more sections without chains when climbing down.

The ropeway is accessible by bus from Takayama/Hirayu bus terminal with Nohi bus but you won't be able to get there in time for the first ropeway. In that case it’s best to walk this trail in 3 days and staying at Nishihosanso on the first night and then get an early start.


Park at the free parking lot next to Shinzanso.

In the off-season the parking lot doesn't usually fill up, in summer it's almost always full by 9-10pm the night before. If it's full you can park at the upper ropeway parking lots which are also free. (We arrived at 23:30 on Friday and it was full. They usually have a parking attendant that will close the access)

Trail description

Start from Shinhodaka ropeway with the first ropeway of the day. It depends on the season but in summer its at 7:30-8:00. If there is a long line they will open it ealier.

After taking the two ropeways the first part of the hike until the hut is through the forest. It should take about 1-1:30h to get to Nishiho sanso.

Nishihotaka hut

Once you reach the hut the rest of the hike is on the ridgeline and steeper.

After pyramid peak the real fun begins and you'll slowly climb up and down the ridgeline until Nishihodaka. It should take between 2-3h to get to Nishihodaka.

From this point on be very careful, the trail becomes a lot more exposed, the rock is crumbly and there are a lot of sections where you'll have to climb over scary drop-offs.

If you're experienced with this kind of scrambling you'll have a blast. The views are amazing and the challenge is fun. Ropes are not needed but often people wear a harness and clip in at some of the more exposed sections.

The trail is marked with circles and crosses and they are easy to spot. Also most vertical sections have chains or bolts.

It should take about 6h to the peak of Gendarme and 7:30h to Okuhodaka.

From there it's only another 30min to hotakasanso where you should stay for the night.

The next day you can continue along the ridge on the daikiretto, go down to Shinhotaka (also check the daikiretto post for that route) or climb down to Kamikochi through Karasawa.

Okuhotaka hut


Nishihosanso (if you use public transportation stay an extra night): 14.000¥ incl 2 meals)

Hotakasanso : 13.500¥ incl 2 meals

Both huts require a reservation for staying in the hut.

Okuhotaka meals

Camping is first come first serve and reservations are not possible for Hotakasanso or Nishiho. Nishihos campsite is small, very likely to be full during obon or on weekends in summer.

Both are 2000¥ p.p.

Water is 200¥ per liter

Nishihotaka campground

Extra info:

  • Gendarme has very dangerous sections, make sure you have rescue insurance and your abilities match the skill level needed for this hike.

  • You need gloves for better grip and a helmet for rockfall. (I saw people with harness and ropes too)

  • Start as early as possible.

  • This hike is deadly in bad weather. Do not attempt if the forecast has any rain in it.

Elevation Profile & Map



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