Tanigawadake or Mount Tanigawa, is one of the famous 100 peaks of Japan. It dominates the views on the Gunma side and is a popular destination for the many bus tours in the area. In winter it is home to Tenjindaira Ski Resort but its busiest times are when the snow is gone.
Head up from Minakami on the train and you stop at Doai Station and its flights of stairs - a great warm up if your intention is a day of hiking. You can walk or get the bus from there up to the Tanigawadake Ropeway Station.
The ropeway takes about 10 minutes, transporting you from 746 meters up to the top station at 1,319 meters. There is a restaurant here if you are not feeling energetic with huge picture windows that have a fantastic view of the valley below and the surrounding peaks.
There is also a chair lift that operates through the summer and takes you up a further 200 meters to a small park and shrine with plenty more spectacular views. That is all the help you are going to get, as from here on up it is your legs which will have do all the hard work. There are several hiking routes around with one of the most popular being up to the 1977 meter peak. If you are feeling really fit you can even walk all the way over into Niigata prefecture and down to one of the stations on the other side of the mountain. Or there are plenty of routes down the Gunma side that will lead you back to the ropeway station. It is a popular destination for hikers and gets busy in peak season.
The views are amazing, no matter what time of year you come. The autumn colors are worth making a trip to see as all the surrounding slopes are covered in vivid reds, oranges and yellows. The ropeway and lift make it possible for anybody to find themselves up a mountain marveling at the natural beauty.