30 Oct 5 Picturesque Mountain Destinations in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is the biggest prefecture in Japan. Situated in the northernmost part of the country, the prefecture makes up a fifth of Japan’s total area, and most of the land features beautiful forests, mountains, and snowy slopes. The breathtaking scenery combined with the extraordinary quality of snow makes Hokkaido one of the best winter destinations in the country.
Visiting the most picturesque mountain destinations in the prefecture is an exciting endeavor, one that will require a bit of preparation and a lot of energy. To conserve your strength, it is best to reserve a room in a nearby Hokkaido ski resort. This way, you can cut down the travel time and enjoy the scenery even if you’re just relaxing in your accommodation. You can find resorts near these majestic mountains:
Part of the massive Daisetsuzan National Park, Mount Asahi stands tall at the eastern side of Hokkaido, on the opposite end of the island from Sapporo. Aside from a few hot spring towns scattered throughout the area, the landscape shows barely any sign of human activity. Still, Mount Asahi is fairly accessible, making it a prime destination for hikers all year round. You will have to ride a gondola to get to the start of the trail. The trek ends with a descent along the equally scenic Fuufu Lake.
Also known as Mount Mashu or Kamuinupuri, Mount Kamui is located near the remains of an ancient volcano. In place of the collapsed volcano is a scenic lake that the locals call Lake Mashu. Climbing Mount Kamui can be quite the challenge, but the view from the ridge is breathtaking, especially from the peak. The trail from the ridge to the peak is about 7 kilometers, not the longest, but it should still keep you busy for several hours.
Along the northern coast of Hokkaido is Mount Rishiri, which is actually a dormant volcano instead of an ordinary mountain. Unlike most scenic mountain destinations in the area, Mount Rishiri has very steep slopes and other features that pose a challenge to more experienced hikers. Those skilled and brave enough to conquer Mount Rishiri are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the ocean from a vantage point nearly two kilometers high. However, you do have to carefully plan your hiking supplies, since there is no source of water or food during the entire trip and it’s common for hikers to spend a night outdoors while climbing this mountain.
In the middle of the island lies one of Japan’s most famous mountains, Mount Meakan. Hikers who want to take on Mount Meakan can choose any of the three trails, all of which are accessible from Lake Akan. The trails are all relatively short, but the red pine forest and the scenic view from above make the average 7-hour trek worth every step.
Considered by many hikers to be the best hiking destination in the country, Mount Poroshiri (which means “Large Mountain”) got its name from the Ainu, a group of indigenous people. Mount Poroshiri is part of the Hidaka mountain range, and is relatively far away from civilization, so to speak. As such, the views at the summit are free of any kind of human structures, a great reminder of how beautiful Mother Nature is.
Hokkaido is a land full of natural sights and sounds. Whether you’re after a challenging journey or just there to take in the scenery, Hokkaido’s mountain destinations should be on the top of your priority list the next time you visit Japan.