➚ 1600m ➘ 1600m
Huts & Campsites
Mt. Yotei is the most iconic mountain in Hokkaido, closely resembling the prominent classical shape of Mt. Fuji. It serves as a picturesque backdrop to the popular ski resorts in the winter, and offers enjoyable hiking in the summer.
There are 4 trailheads that lead to the peak, the two most popular trails are:
1. The Makkari trail - Starts at a nice campground, the easiest and most popular trail (but never super busy).
2. The Hirafu trail - Starts at a free campsite, steeper and more challenging.
The other two trails are not well maintained so aren't recommended. This guide will focus on the Makkari trail, along with being easier, it's also claimed to be a nicer hike. The forests around Yotei are quite beautiful and contain an abundance of wildlife, it's common to see chipmunks, woodpeckers, and foxes during your hike. Bear sightings are quite rare but occasionally happen. The views at the top can be spectacular on a clear day, hiking around the crater is quite fun with some large boulders for climbing and it adds some variety to the views, but can also be skipped depending on your stamina. The hike data provided above includes the rim, which adds an extra hour.
The Makkari Trail: Google Maps
The Hirafu Trail: Google Maps
Train - Bus - Taxi
Without a car, you'll need to either catch a taxi or catch the bus from Kutchan Station. If you catch the bus, you'll also need to walk 30 mins to either trailhead.
Hirafu station to the Hirafu trailhead is 10 mins.
Niseko station to the Makkari trailhead is 18 mins.
For the Hirafu trail, you simply get off at Yotei Tozanguchi.
For the Makkari trail, continue on until you reach the Yotei Nature Park entrance.
Google Maps provides info on bus times, just set you destination to your desired trailhead.
Weather and Seasons
Peak hiking season without snow is from July to September. Winter hiking is popular for ski touring, but requires care and planning due to avalanche risk.
Sleeping on the peak is easy thanks to the Yotei refuge hut, just bring your sleeping bag and enough water for the trip, it costs ¥1000 per night. Basic toilets are available.
Campsites are available at both trailheads.
Both of these trails are well-marked and well-maintained, so you won't have any issues with directions. For the Makkari trail, you simply walk through the campground for a few minutes and eventually you'll see the trailhead. Make sure to bring enough water as you won't be able to fill up during the hike. The hike data for the two trails is essentially the same, but the Hirafu trail is shorter and therefor steeper. The Hirafu clocks in at 12.2 km, while the Makkari is a more leisurely 14.5 km.
Hiking Distance: 14.5 km
Time: 8-9 hours
Elev. gain: 1600m