Grade IV : Class 3
To get to the Nantai southern trailhead / torii / gate at Futarasan Shrine, you can get a public bus (45 minutes to 1 hour ride) from JR Nikko or Tobu Nikko train station or make a tour. Futarasan is the name of the bus stop.
This southern gate is open between 5 May and 25 October.
It takes about 4-5 hours round trip to climb Mt. Nantai and there is a small fee to enter from Futarasan Shrine.
You will find Nantai Mountain and the trail on the Nikko tourist map (not a topographical map) available at the Nikko Tourist Information Center (Gokomachi). A link to their .pdf is kept updated here.
The last 20% of the hike is like landing on the planet Mars, the volcanic strata is a rich reddish-purple and is everywhere and makes the area seem completely barren.
If you area lucky, you will see Mt. Fuji from the peak of Mt. Nantai, a distance of 175km apart!
There are two trails to climb Nantai Mountain. From the north, the trail head is a bit difficult to get to and requires a 4WD or else you’ll need to add an extra 2 hours each way to walk to it from the main road. The closest trailhead to get to is the southern one at the Torii (gate) of Futarasan Shrine at the foot of Lake Chuzenji.
Nantai service road becomes the trail, trail continues through the gate. If you walk the road more, there’s a great view of Lake Chuzenji