The Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps,is a Japanese mountain range which stretches through Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures. A small portion of the mountains also reach into Niigata Prefecture. William Gowland coined the phrase "Japanese Alps" during his time in Japan, but he was only referring to the Hida Mountains when he used that name. The Kiso and Akaishi mountains received the name in the ensuing years.The layout of the Hida Mountains forms a large Y-shape. The southern peaks are the lower portion of the Y-shape, with the northern peaks forming two parallel bands separated by a deep V-shaped valley.