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Gendarme (Nagano)

Gendarme Hike Japan

The Hida ridge (飛騨尾根) traverse from Nishihodaka (西穂高岳) to Okuhodaka (奥穂高岳) is an expert level hike which will require upper body strength for free climbing with your hands and chains.

It's also often called Gendarme 3163m (ジャンダルム) which is one of the peaks on the traverse.

This hike is very exposed and only for confident and experienced hikers. People fall and die every year so proceed with caution. It's not called Japans most dangerous hike for nothing. I would not attempt this hike in bad weather or outside of the main hiking season (end of July to September).

Helmet and gloves needed. The rock is sharp and loose.


Time: 8h (Yamap estimate 10h without breaks)

Distance: 6.7km

Location: Nagano

Difficulty: Expert

Elevation Gain: 1500m

Overnight hike

Nishihotaka hida ridgeline


Start is either at Shinhodaka ropeway or Kamikochi. I would recommend following 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 I would recommend doing this hike in 3 days and staying at Nishihosanso on the first night and then get an early start.

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 hike 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 hiking you'll have a blast. The views are amazing and the challenge is fun. Ropes are not needed but I did see some people using them.

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.

Okuhotaka hut

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.


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

Elevation Profile & Map


If you have any questions leave a comment or message me directly through the chat!

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