Hiking up Hokkaido’s Mountains

Bjorn

Every spring, the stunning mountain ranges of Hokkaido will welcome hundreds of hiking enthusiasts until the dawn of autumn in September. So let’s take a look at Hokkaido’s 5 most stunning hiking trails!

Before we do so, it is wise to warn you that it is recommended to rent a car to reach the trailheads due to the poor access by public transport.

Mount Kamui

Mount Kamui, also known as Kamuinupuri or Mount 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 Mount 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.

hokkaido mountains
Photo by mingyang su

Mount Asahi

On the eastern side of Hokkaido, Mount 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 on the other end of the island from Sapporo, 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.

Photo by kylelee used under CC

Mount Meakan

As one of Japan’s 100 famous mountains, Mount 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.

Photo by Makoto Nakashima used under CC

Mount Poroshiri

The ‘Large Mountain’, which the name Poroshiri translates to 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.

Mount Rishiri

Reaching for the skies off the coast of Hokkaido’s northern coast, Mount Rishiri offers a stunning panoramic view over the surrounding ocean at about about 1,700 meters. Hiking up the dormant volcano takes an entire day and is a challenge so it is not a recommended trail for those just starting out. 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.

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Photo by Emmanuel Eragne used under CC

Since Mount 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 preparations, 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 will 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!

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