Yarigatake: The Matterhorn of Japan
This was the first recorded ascent of the peak which is now revered by climbers across the country, and it occurred in July 1828; some 37 years before Wimper became the first person to climb the Matterhorn.
Then in 1880 an Englishman named Gowland reached the summit before dubbing the mountain panorama that lay before him “the Japanese Alps.”
On the 12th August 1909 the 17 year old Akutagawa reached the top together with 3 classmates. You can read about his exploits in the mountains in works such as “Diary of my Mt Yari Ascent” and “Mt Yari Journal.” 1
Recreational hiking in Japan is relatively new in the nation's long history: the mountains were con- sidered foreboding and inhospi- table, the realm of mountain priests and the gods, until a pair of Englishmen, William Gowland and Walter Weston, climbed them in the late 19th century.
Gowland dubbed the region "The Japan Alps" while Weston's lectures and books introduced the region to Japanese and foreigners alike. 2
Banryu scaled Yari-ga-take and other major peaks as part of his religious devotion. 3
a statue of him stands today.