Hiking Distance: 12 - 13km
Time: 5-8 hrs
Elevation Gain: 850 - 1050m
12 - 13 km
850 - 1050m
Hotels or Campsites
The Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group is a mountain range located in the heart of Hokkaido and features 3 of Japan's famous 100 mountains: Tomuraushi, Tokachi, and the tallest peak in Hokkaido, Asahidake. Most commonly when people refer to hiking Daisetsuzan they are referring to the highest peak, Asahidake. There are numerous options for hiking the peak, the 3 most popular options are: an out-and-back hike to the peak that takes about 5 hours, a 7 hour loop hike that includes the natural Nakadake onsen, and the 8 hour traverse from Asahidake to Kurodake. All of these hikes start from the Asahidake Ropeway.
Daisetsuzan is the most popular destination for hiking in Hokkaido, the main area around the ropeway features interesting wild flowers, gorgeous alpine lakes, large dramatic peaks, and volcanic terrain complete with steaming gas vents. The Daisetsuzan National Park is huge and you could spend many days hiking and camping along the numerous mountains, this place really is stunning especially in summer.
Be mindful of the weather forecast as Daisetsuzan is prone to strong winds and rain, and note that any fresh water in Hokkaido needs to be boiled or filtered due to Echinococcosis, is a potentially fatal parasitic disease.
Car: If using a car you'll need to park at either the Ropeway (¥500) or the Visitor Center (free).
Train + Bus: To reach the Asahidake Ropeway you will need to catch a bus, but first you need to reach Asahikawa station. From Sapporo, the train to Asahikawa will take 1hr 25mins and cost ¥5200, or you can catch a bus which will take 2hrs 10mins and cost ¥2300.
From Asahikawa station, the bus to the ropeway will cost around ¥1500 and take 1hr 40mins. As of 2022 there are 4 departures per day at 7:11, 9:11, 13:11 & 15:11, please confirm the times on their website here.
Asahidake Ropeway: ¥2000 one-way, ¥3200 return. During summer, the first departure is 6:30am and the final descent is 5:30pm.
GPS map: Loop Hike Asahidake to Kurodake
The Asahidake Loop Hike
GPS Hiking Map: outdooractive.com
Time: 7 hrs
Distance: 12.3 km
Elevation change: ➚ 850m gain ➘ 850m loss
If you want something more than the 5 hour out-and-back hike to the peak, then the loop hike is a great option for 7 hours of hiking that includes the wild Nakadake onsen. From the ropeway the trail is clearly marked with adequate signs so there shouldn't be any trouble finding your way. You can complete the loop in either direction, but starting with Asahidake is usually considered the best route.
The Asahidake to Kurodake Traverse
GPS Hiking Map: outdooractive.com
Time: 8 hrs
Distance: 13 km
Elevation change: ➚ 980m gain ➘ 1050m loss
The whole traverse is a great option if you're using public transport and gives you some of the best features that Daisetsuzan has to offer. It's also popular to do this as an overnight hike by staying at one of the 2 campsites along the route, or Kurodake mountain hut (¥2000 for a bed, ¥500 for a tent). Much like the loop hike, the trail is well marked so it will be easy to find your way, just remember your maps and check the weather forecast.
Asahidake Loop Hike
Asahidake to Kurodake Traverse
Weather and Seasons
The summer months of July and August are considered the best time for hiking Daisetsuzan, outside of these months you will need to be prepared for snow. The first snowfall of the season typically lands around mid Sept, with autumn colours reaching their peak around the same time.
Altitude & Weather