Mount Tanigawa (谷川岳 Tanigawa-dake?) is a 1977m mountain on the border of Gunma Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture in Japan. It is one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan. To date, since its initial exploration and route-finding in the early 1930s, a total of 781 people have died on Tanigawa-dake. (Compare with the over 200 people who have died on Mt. Everest over a comparable period).
Routes are graded according to the Japanese Ice Climbing Rating from I-VI and there are numerous routes along the Eastern Ridges, with significant rock routes for summer climbing. Although the mountain is 1800 metres shorter than Mt. Fuji (in fact barely half its height), the relief is stark, with some routes starting as low as at 500 metres above sea level and topping out at or near the summit.
Like many mountains in Japan there is no officially recorded first ascent. Many mountains enjoy a religious significance and have been hiked and summitted by Japanese religious ascetics for hundreds of years.
Tanigawa is not for novices as even training groups have been swept away while on the lower reaches, and hithertofore thought "safe" parts of the mountain. Climbers need to fill out route plans and have them approved by the local police before attempting a climb. Police reserve the right to stop or disapprove of certain climbs. Anyone planning a route can apply or contact the local Gunma Prefectural Climbing Information Center (群馬県谷川岳登山指導センターJapanese only).
Japan offers a high level of support with helicopter trained mountain rescue teams. With high wind however there is always the chance that they cannot be deployed. Along the upper ridges there are two safety huts. One Emergency hut for 2-3 near Ichinokura-dake (一ノ倉岳). This may be hard to find on deep snow and therefore unusable. The much larger "Shoulder Hut" below the summit of Tanigawa-Dake is much more spacious, but is unheated and unmanned in winter.