Hiking Distance: 12km
Time: 7-8 hours
Elevation change: ➚1000m ➘1000m
➚ 1450m ➘ 1450m
Huts & Campsites
Hakusan, or Mt. Haku, is one of Japan's three holy mountains along with Mt. Fuji and Tateyama. It's a long but easy hike offering both free and paid mountain huts. It's somewhat difficult to access due to the infrequent bus schedule, so a car is generally recommended. The bus stop and parking are located at the Bettodeai trailhead which has two options, an easy and mild approach up through the forest (the Sabo Shindo), or a steeper but much more beautiful trail climbing along the ridgeline (the Kanko Shindo). There is a free mountain hut located on both trails and they're both about 2.5 hrs from the peak, however, there is a big difference in quality and size. Although the Kanko trail is more exciting, the mountain hut here, although modern, is very basic, quite small, and has no water source. On the other hand, the mountain hut on the Sabo trail is very nice, with more space and drinking water. The final option is the Murodo mountain lodge, only 30 mins from the peak, it's fully equipped with a gift shop, a humble restaurant, and many guest rooms.
Like most of Japan's famous peaks, it's worth noting that it can be very busy on weekends and holidays, so booking ahead is necessary on weekends during the summer and autumn hiking season.
Car: Driving is the best way to reach Hakusan due to the infrequent bus schedule. You just need to reach the Bettodeai car park located here. However, on weekends and holidays (July to October) they close the road, so you need to catch a 15 minute shuttle bus from the Ichinose Visitor Center.
Train & Bus: There is a bus that runs to the trailhead on weekends and holidays, it departs from Kanazawa station and takes 2 hours. Here's the official website for the bus timetable, this website also gives a good summary of the times. The bus from Kanazawa costs ¥2200.
Both of the trails from Bettodai are well maintained and easy to follow, if you're spending a night at the Murodo mountain lodge near the peak, then I recommend taking the ridgeline (Kanko) trail for more exciting terrain, more expansive views, and less people. It has some very steep sections so it's not recommended for the descent as it will be more taxing on your nears compared to the Sabo trail. From the peak of Mt. Haku you'll also see some vibrant mountain ponds that can be easily included into your itinerary. Although it's an overnight hike, the trail is straight forward so you don't need much in terms of the description or directions.
Weather and Seasons
Summer and autumn, from June to October, are the best times for this hike. There is likely to be snow hanging around until June. The autumn leaves will be colourful from mid-September to mid-October.
Altitude & Weather
Hiking Distance: 14 km
Time: 8-10 hrs
Elevation gain: 1450m