Mountain Names


Last October I wrote a post about hiking up a mountain near here called Kyou ga Mine (経が峰). Readers who have studied a little Japanese or travelled in Japan may have learned that “mountain” means yama (山) in Japanese; while this is true, it is not complete. There are three main kanji that are attached to mountain names:

  • – yama or san
  • take – should be tall and have a peak
  • mine – should be highly visible and have a peak

The first kanji is learned in first grade and is the basic form of mountain: Take and mine are learned in junior high school. If you look closely at the characters for dake or mine, you may notice that yama appears in them.

Mount Fuji (Fujisan 富士山) and Akagi Mountain (Akagiyama 赤城山) are two prominent examples of the first kanji. Kasa ga Take (笠が岳); and Kyou ga Mine (経が峰) are examples of the other two respectively. There is often overlap: Gozaishodake (御在所岳), near here, is sometimes called Gozaishoyama (御在所山); and Ontake (御岳), on the Gifu (岐阜) – Nagano (長野) border, is sometimes listed as Ontakesan (御岳山・御嶽山) – getting two labels.

There is a historical reason for names containing mine, which I will elaborate on later this month. If you want some homework, I will give you a hint: noroshi (烽火).


3 Responses to “Mountain Names”

  1. Keven Says:

    Strange that 富士山 is that and not, say 富士峰. I was of the understanding that it was highly visible and had a peak!

    I just discovered that the mountain characters have links that lead to a site that has the stroke order! Very cool!

  2. びっくり Says:

    Ah-hah, just wait for the explanation of noroshi and it will all become clear. 🙂

  3. Let Your Light So Shine Before Men… « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] Finally, I have time to write about noroshi. This is a follow-up to my post on Mountain Names last week. I mentioned that there was a historical reason for mountains being called mine, rather […]

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