■ 2016.07.21

Climbers, hikers are required to submit climbing plans in more prefectures, including Nagano, Gifu

Climbers and hikers are required to submit climbing plans in more prefectures in Japan, including Nagano, Gifu


More prefectures in Japan with popular high mountains are requiring climbers and hikers to submit mountaineering plans before they start climbing in view of the ever increasing number of falls and other fatal climbing accidents as well as risks of volcanic eruptions.


The latest to join such a group of prefectures is Nagano Prefecture, which, starting on July 1, is requiring, under its new ordinance, all climbers ascending one or some of 168 mountains chosen by the prefecture as high-risk mountains, including big-name peaks in Northern, Southern and Central Alps, and Yatsugatake area, to submit their climbing plans to Nagano Prefecture or police via the prefecture’s website, fax or by traditional postal mail.


They can also submit such plans by dropping them into post boxes set up at many climbing starting points. Because website instructions in Japanese are difficult to understand or complicated, even for Japanese, and because there are too many Fax numbers for different areas of mountains, putting climbing plans into post boxes at the trailheads will probably be the simplest and surest way.


A standard form of such climbing plans can be obtained from Nagano Prefecture’s website. As is shown in this form, climbing plans should contain information, such as the name of the leader climber and the names of his/her party members, their mobile and home telephone numbers, home addresses, the names of people who should be contacted in case of accidents, the planned route of climbing and itinerary.


The prefecture’s website “Go! NAGANO” offers useful information in English.



Under Nagano Prefecture’s ordinance, submission of climbing plans is mandatory, but there is no penalty imposed on violators.


Such climbing plans will make it easier for police rescue teams to locate and identify climbers in case of accidents in mountains. It would be wise, therefore, to submit climbing plans before beginning to climb or hike, whether it is mandatory or voluntary. In 2015, the number of the deaths and missing persons in mountain climbing accidents reached 335, a record high, in the 2,508 accidents involving 3,043 climbers and hikers, according to the National Police Agency.


Some other prefectures with popular mountains for climbers, such as Toyama and Gifu, are already requiring climbers to submit their climbing plans in advance to their police. In Gifu Prefecture, climbers who do not submit mountaineering plans will be fined up to 50,000 yen as penalty under the prefecture’s ordinance of 2014 – although for the time being until the rules will be known well to climbers the penalty will be suspended.



Many other prefectures, including Shizuoka, “recommend” that climbers submit mountaineering plans but have no ordinances to make their submission of climbing plans compulsory.