Japan’s summits/parks for the foreign traveller/skier

Here’s a compilation of SOTA and WWFF locations in Japan accessible to the tourist. It will be updated periodically. Any contributions are welcome!

Nagano region (JA0) – Nozawa Onsen ski resort

Mt Kenashi JA/NA-107 1650m 10 pts
Access: Summer SE on route 502 from Nozawaonsen
Winter: From Nozawaonsen, (A)Nagasaka Gondola, (D)Yamabiko 2nd, ski down (2)Yamabiko-B or (3)Yamabiko-C to (C)Yamabiko, take (C)Yamabiko to top. Trail map
Also note the eastern half of the AZ is in the Joshinetsu Kogen NP (JAFF-0013).

Nagano region (JA0) – Shiga Kogen ski resort

JA/NA-069 Yakebitaiyama 2010m 10 pts – in Joshinetsu Kogen NP (JAFF-0013)
Access: Summer: footpath to summit from Yamanouchi town
Winter: Yakebitaiyama ski area, take (36) to the top. Trail map

JA/NA-045 Yokoteyama 2307m 10pts – in Joshinetsu Kogen NP (JAFF-0013)
Access: Summer: route 292 then track to summit
Winter: Yokoteyama ski area, take (67) or (68), then (69), then (70) to top. Trail map

Tokyo area (JA1) including Kanagawa

JA/TK-012 Usukiyama 842m 4 points

Access: via 2km track from Hinohara Hwy 33 past Usuki shrine.
Closest station Musashi Itsukaichi on the Itsukaichi line.

JA/KN-022 Shiroyama 375m 1 point

Access: Take one train from the major stationShinjuku in Tokyo until the end of the Keio Sagamihara line at Hashimoto (station KO45). Then take the Hashimoto 01 bus for Mikage to stop 14 at the base of the mountain called Tsukuiko Kanko Center mae (35.58643N, 139.280824E). Timetable and route is here. The summit is in the Kanagawa Kenritsu Tsukuikoshiroyama Park. Once starting the climb, there are maps available en-route. Summit at (35.5831N, 139.2787E) PM95PN. Blog by VK2IO.

JA/KN-017 Bukkasan 747m 4 points

Access: Take Odakyu line from Shinjuku up to Hon-Atsugi station – about 1.5 hours. From Hon-Atsugi go to through the north exit to bus stand 5 and take the bus for Miyagase 厚20 宮ヶ瀬行 市立病院前(本厚木駅発) Route name 厚木20 Atsugi 20 and get off at Bukkasan Tozanguchi 仏果山登山口. Alternatively take  a bus for Miyagase 厚21 宮ヶ瀬行 市内(本厚木駅発) route name Atsugi 21 from the same bus stand. This bus also stops at Bukkasan Tozanguchi. The walk to the summit takes 1.5 hours. Blog by JH0CJH. Track to summit is here.

JA/KN-006 Ooyama 1252m 8 points – in Tanzawa-Oyama Q-NP (JAFF-0050)

Access: Take Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Isehara station. From Isehara North gate take bus platform number 4. Take a bus for Ooyama Cable 伊10 大山ケーブル行 route number Isehara 10. From terminal station, take cable car to half way point then continue hiking. This mountain is famous for foreigners so you may find some English natives. Ask for “Ooyama Cable Car?” before boarding the bus. Summit at (35.440799713135, 139.23120117188).
Notes: Good location, very popular so huge number of people. Best to operate on the west side near microwave antenna tower otherwise it may become
difficult around lunch time.

Meiji Memorial Forest Takao Q-NP (JAFF-0049)

Blogs by JA1JCF and VK3ARR.

Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (JAFF-0005)

Mitakesan lies 3 or 4km northeast of Oodakesan JA/TK-007

Shizuoka area (JA2)

JA/SO-099 Takanesan 504m 2 points

Access: Route 52 north off Tomei Expwy then route 75 west then left after 600m up to summit. Parking inside activation zone.

JA/SO-120 307m 1 point

Access: off Shimizu Nihondaira Pkwy, Komagoe then walk up 200m. Blog by VK2IO.

Yamagata prefecture (JA7)

Zao quasi-National Park (JAFF-0044)

Access: The Zao Onsen skiing area is within the National Park. Area map is here and the park is marked in purple on p.10 lower right.
Blog by JA7IC.

Akita prefecture (JA7)

JA/AT-001 Komagatake (Onamedake) 1637m, 10 points – in Towada-Hachimantai NP (JAFF-0027)

Access: From Tazawako station take Akita Komagatake line bus to the end at “8th Stage of Akita Komagatake”. Walk 1.5 hrs to summit. Open between June 1 and October 31.

Hokkaido (JA8)

JA8/SB-005 Nisekoannupuri 1308m, 8 points

Access: In winter this summit can be accessed from the top chairlift at the Niseko Annapuri ski resort. This lift (and lower lifts) are only open during favourable weather and for a few hours around the middle of the day. Take Jumbo Pair lift #4 and go through Gate 2 and climb up to the south peak. Then walk north a further 400m to Annupuri. No trees here so bring your own squid pole. The AZ is within JAFF-0036 Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-NP.

Additional resources

Cluster in Japan for posting local activations: http://qrv.jp/

Beacon monitor for daily  band conditions: http://ayoko.net/faros/

Japan Century Cities awards program: JCC

WWFF logs should be sent to logs@wff-dl.de as there is no local coordinator. 44 contacts need to be made as there are no JAFF awards yet.

JAFF park maps tend to be in Japanese. As a guide, use the Protected Planet site and search for the park to find a map in English with the park boundary.

Thanks for contributions from: Gou JA1SWI, Toru JH0CJH, Nobi JA1JCF, Andrew VK3ARR

SOTA first activation of Udoyama JA/SO-120 – 14 Feb 2016

As part of my 2016 Japan trip I travelled to Shizuoka, 180km and about 3 hours drive south of Tokyo. I activated Udoyama JA/SO-120 for the first time with help from my friends Yoshi JG1VOZ and Hiro JA2LXT. This summlt is more accessible to Shizuoka city than Takanesan JA/SO-099 previously considered. Near JA/SO-120 there is a peak and lookout with a TV tower called Nihondaira Prefectural Natural Park and we went there first only to find ourselves 300m away from the real peak. I dare say it would not have been in the Activation Zone either. One must continue on the Shimizu Nihondaira Parkway to (34.9749, 138.4695) and then drive up a rough track 300m and then walk up a steep muddy track 200m to the summit with some bush bashing. The summit is marked with a tag saying 307m and is at (34.973099, 138.4697), locator PM94FX.


Shack on Udoyama JA/SO-120

The summit is overgrown with lots of trees. I used a linked ground plane and threw the end of the antenna over a tree. On 20m I made four VK/ZL SSB contacts and three VK on CW using the callsign JR2YFM/2. On 40m CW I made four local contacts. Ended up with more contacts than at Shiroyama JA/KN-022 in less time. I was able to stay on 3 Watts throughout the one hour activation. One contact was a S2S with Takeshi JS1UEH at JA/IB-006 on 40m – my first for JA. This was also a first activation of Udoyama JA/SO-120.


Rig and log book on Udoyama JA/SO-120

Thank you for all the contacts and for those that chased. One discovery via SOTAwatch was that 7032 is used for RTTY in Japan. When 40m is open to JA from VK it may be better to stay below 7032.

There is a short video from this activation here.

My first SOTA activation in Japan – Shiroyama 13 Feb 2016

The first SOTA summit I climbed during my visit to Japan was Shiroyama JA/KN-022. This summit is on the western outskirts of Tokyo and just over the border into Kanagawa prefecture. And climb it was as the bus drops you off a little above sea level. The summit is at 375m elevation rising up steeply from the flatlands of Tokyo.

Public transport to the summit is very convenient. Take one train from the major station Shinjuku in Tokyo until the end of the Keio Sagamihara line at Hashimoto (station KO45). Then take the Hashimoto 01 bus for Mikage to stop 14 at the base of the mountain called Tsukuiko Kanko Center mae (35.58643N, 139.280824E). Timetable and route is here. Once starting the climb, there are maps available en-route.

Near the top there is a faux-peak with a small shrine. One then walks down a little and up again to the real peak which has a cleared area at the top (35.5831N, 139.2787E). I set up just to the side of this clearing.


My station consisted of a linked ground plane antenna that I had made that day after scouring Akihabara for parts. It had links for 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m. The radials were designed for 20m. A tree provided the top support for the vertical section of the ground plane.

The radio used was the KX3 on internal AA alkaline batteries.With such a small power source the radio could only be used QRPp and I started out at 3 Watts. With the 6m/10m SOTA challenge in its last day, I set up on 10m at first.On SSB I was rewarded with 5 contacts: JJ1SWI/1, VK4RF, VK4HA, JA1JCF and 7K1WRK/1. I tried CW too but made no contacts in that mode. Callsign used was JR2YFM/1. QTH locator: PM95pn.

Lowering the vertical, I joined up the first pair of wires and was then on 15m. On that band I made one contact with JJ1SWI/1 again. The radio was starting to shut down during transmit occasionally so I had dropped the power to 2 Watts. Seemed unusual to only have one call on 15m, however, there may have been no propagation. JJ1SWI is local to Tokyo so it was a ground wave contact.

Next was 40m and two more links were joined in the antenna. On this band there was another call from JJ1SWI/1 at about the same strength as on the other two bands. I had reduced my power down to 1 Watt at this stage.

For the final change it was to 20m CW and after dropping the antenna and removing a link I was rewarded with a call from Rick VK4RF and his alter-ego VK4HA. Sigs received on this band were 58 from Rick so quite a bit stronger than on 10m. The difference was that I worked Rick using 3W on 10m but only 1W on 20m.

With little battery left and the light fading fast I had to pack up quickly and drop down the mountain. It took about 30 mins to climb to the top and about 20 mins to descend. With a 3 minute wait for the bus I was on my way back to Tokyo. Allow 90 mins to get to Shinjuku station.

So, a very successful activation. Although I made 4 contacts on CW, there were only 3 unique stations so I am yet to qualify on CW. I well and truly qualified on SSB. This is a very easy one to activate if you are in Tokyo as the public transport is so convenient. The only difficult thing is the climb. Remarkably, there is no QRM at the top of the mountain. Nice views of the dam and countryside below too.