Kamikochi; a convenient tourist resort at 1500 meters above sea level.
The most popular, convenient, and shortest route up to Hotaka dake is from Kamikochi. But it still requires a whole day and covers 5500 vertical feet from the Azusa River. From Kamikochi it takes about 30 minutes leisurely walk east until you reach the Ranger Station; cross the Kappa bridge (foot bridge) over the Azusa River and you are on your way. (Signs will point you toward the bridge and the human traffic tends to gravitate in that direction). After crossing the bridge, follow the signs into the forest along a well-beaten path to Hotaka. From the junction it is 3.18 km to the Dakesawa hut. It might be helpful to memorize the kanji (Chinese characters) for Hotaka dake so you can take the proper path, but it really is not that confusing. After steady hiking for about an hour you will come to the first rock clearing and there are some beautiful views to the south and southwest. In another hour you will reach the Dakesawa Hut at 2,216 meters above sea level. After the hut the trail steepens and the scenery gets better. After 3 hours of steady hiking and scrambling over a series of ladders and chains you will finally arrive at a trail junction above timberline, another 2.04 km from the Dakesawa hut. At this point you can continue for another 30 minutes up to the Mae-Hotaka Dake peak (backtrack), or continue to Oku-Hotaka Dake, the tallest in the group. If you choose the latter, the trails will wind alongside some dramatic cliffs before the final approach to the rocky summit after another 1.65 km. On the summit is a Shinto shrine.
In summer, no gear is necessary. Bring enough water and warm clothes as the weather is changeable.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.