Every spring, the stunning mountain ranges of Hokkaido welcome hundreds of hiking enthusiasts until early autumn. To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve compiled Hokkaido’s five most stunning hiking trails.
Top tip: We highly recommended renting a car to reach the trailheads if possible due to poor access by public transport.
Mt. Kamui, also known as Kamuinupuri or Mt. Mashu, rises from the edge of a volcanic lake after its volcano collapsed several thousand years ago. The 7 km trail along the ridge to the peak of Mt. Kamui gives you a great view over Lake Mashu. And there’s an ice cream shop at to reward your efforts when you get to the top.
HokkaidoWilds.org offers a great resource for hiking Mt. Kamui.
Mt. Asahi is the icon of Daisetsuzan National Park. The park is blessed with endless unspoiled nature except for small onsen towns for some relaxation after your hike. Despite being quite far from Sapporo (about 4 hours by car), the region is pretty accessible due to its popularity among Japanese hikers throughout the year. From the trailhead, which can be reached by gondola, climbing the mountain and descending along Fuufu Lake takes about 7 hours.
As one of Japan’s 100 famous mountains, Mt. Meakan is located in the heart of Hokkaido. There are three trailheads leading up to the summit which are all easily accessed from the onsen town of Akan Kohan on the shores of Lake Akan.
In general, these hikes will take 3.5 hours each way taking you through red pine forests up to a panoramic view over the surrounding hills and lakes.
Check out this Mt. Meakan hiking guide.
Poroshiri, which translated to ‘Large Mountain’ from the Ainu language, is also one of the 100 famous mountains of Japan. Some hiking enthusiasts even claim it to be the best hike in the country. The mountain is nicely tucked away in the Hidaka mountain range with splendid views over their alpine scenery, absent of any man-made structures.
Reaching for the skies off the coast of Hokkaido’s northern coast, Mt. Rishiri offers a stunning panoramic view over the surrounding ocean at about about 1,700 m high. Hiking up the dormant volcano is challenging and takes an entire day; thus, it is not a recommended trail for amateur hikers. That being said, it is a very rewarding experience to hike through the blooming alpine flora in early summer up to the summit for a truly unique view.
Since Mt. Rishiri is by far the most remote destination in this list, it may come to no surprise that getting there is quite tricky and pricey. In terms of preparation, you will need to pack plenty of water since there is no water source along the trail. Sleeping and cooking gear are equally vital in case you are not be able to make it to the emergency hut before the steepest climb of the trail.
Hope you will enjoy these stunning hikes in Hokkaido soon. And don’t forget your bear bell! If you’re looking for easier day trips, check out our Day Trips from Sapporo article.
Disclaimer: Hiking any mountain mentioned in this article is done at your own risk. Make sure you are equipped with proper equipment/gear and check mountain conditions before any hike.
This post was originally published on May 1, 2017. Last updated: July 10, 2020.