Around Daisetsuzan 6 Day Hiking TourMulti-day Guided Hiking Tour from Asahikawa
Explore volcanic craters, tranquil lakes and the wild wetlands of Daisetsuzan National Park while discovering the culture & delicacies of Central Hokkaido on this multi-day guided hiking adventure.
Tour Duration6 Days
Minimum Travellers4 People
Included Meals5 Breakfasts
- Traverse the two prime peaks Mt Asahidake and Mt Kurodake
- Meet and learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido
- Raft through a lush forest on the Siisorapci River in Minami Furano
- Explore the alpine tarns of Daisetsu Kogen, a habitat for Ezo brown bears
- Experience a natural outdoor onsen in the Shikaribestukyo Gorge
- Try your hand at making soba noodles & learn about Hokkaido’s early settlers
About Daisetsuzan National Park
Designated as Japan’s National Park in 1934, Daisetsuzan holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Hokkaido. The park covers over 2,300 square kilometres (570,000 acres), which is bigger than the size of Tokyo! and is home to a dramatic mountain range, giving Daisetsuzan the nickname “the Roof of Hokkaido”.
Keigetsu Omachi, a writer of the Meiji and Taisho periods (late 1800s, early 1900s), traversed these peaks long before a trail had been established. He famously said “To understand the height of a mountain, climb Mt Fuji. To understand the vastness of a mountain, climb the Daisetsuzan mountains.”
On this itinerary we discover the best of the vast Daisetsuzan National Park. We traverse between the two prime peaks of Mt Asahidake and Mt Kurodake in its northern part, and we explore as far south as Lake Shikaribetsu. This tour will be perfect for hiking enthusiasts who also enjoy cultural exploration and water activities between hiking.
Who is this tour for?
- Active hikers who love walking through alpine terrain for 7+ hours each day
- Curious travellers who enjoy sightseeing and other activities in between hiking
- Travellers keen to see real Japan and stay in accommodation with natural hot springs on site
Around Daisetsuzan Hiking Tour Itinerary at a Glance
*B: Breakfast D: Dinner
Day 1 Meet in Asahikawa, Hokkaido (L, D)
Day 2 Hike to Mt Asahidake & Mt Kurodake – 12.5km/7.7miles (B, L, D)
Day 3 Hike to Daisetsu Kogen, brown bear habitat – 8km/5miles (B, D)
Day 4 Hike to Mt. Hakuunzan – 5km/3miles (B, L, D)
Day 5 Soba Making & River Rafting (B, L, D)
Day 6 Finish after transfer to Asahikawa (B)
Tour InclusionsItems that are included in the cost of tour price.
- 5 nights accommodation on a twin share basis
- 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
- Ainu cultural experience
- Soba making experience
- River rafting on the Siisorapci River, Minami Furano
- Cable car return trips to/from Asahidake
- All transport as described in the itinerary
- English speaking local guide(s)
Not includedItems that are not included in the cost of tour price.
- 2 Lunches
- Personal expenses
- Drinks with included meals
Group joining in Asahikawa City
Your group will meet between 9:00 am and 9:30 am in Central Asahikawa. Once everyone is together in Asahikawa, we’ll spend some time to get to know each other and the programme for our upcoming adventure before heading off to Mt Arashiyama to warm up our legs.
Mt Arashiyama is an urban forest park, popular with Asahikawa locals for its accessibility and the panorama of the city from the top. For the local Ainu (the indigenous people of Hokkaido), this is a special place known as ”ci-nomi-sir” in their language. They perform an annual ritual at the end of May here, blessing the Gods and praying for another year full of peace and happiness.
After our hike, we will have lunch with the Ainu in a replica of a traditional house called ”cise” and learn about their culture, history and how they relate to nature in their beliefs and lifestyles. In the late afternoon, we will travel by van for approximately one hour to Asahidake Onsen situated at 1,100m/3,600ft above sea level. We stay the night here in the crisp mountain air enjoying the natural hot springs fed from Mt Asahidake.
Hiking Distance – 2 km / 1.2 miles
Elevation – 120m / 390ft
Time – 1 to 2 hours
Hike from Mt Asahidake to Mt Kurodake
Asahidake Onsen is a popular entry point to Daisetsuzan National Park. The park is Japan’s largest in size, and one of the first designated as a National Park in 1934. While Daisetsuzan is typically known as the Roof of Hokkaido, in the Ainu world, it is known as ”kamuy-mintar”, meaning the Playground of the Gods.
We make our way into this sacred location by cable car to Sugatami Station at 1,600m/5,250ft, then start climbing to the summit of Mt Asahidake (2,291m/7,516ft), the highest peak in Hokkaido. Our journey continues on the outer ring of the majestic Ohachidaira volcanic caldera, which was formed by an eruption about 30,000 years ago.
In the afternoon, we set foot on the summit of Mt Hokkai (2,149m/7515ft) and Mt Kurodake (1,984m/6510ft) before descending into the Sounkyo Gorge with the help of a chair lift followed by another cable car. Sounkyo Gorge is a picturesque onsen village nestled between the mountains and the cliffs, making it a popular destination for onsen, hiking, skiing and our welcome home for the night.
Hiking Distance – 12.5 km / 7.7 miles
Elevation – 860m / 2,822ft
Time – 8 to 9 hours
Hike to Daisetsu Kogen Plateau, brown bear habitat
Today we will have an early start and drive over to Kogen Onsen which is 1 hour away from Sounkyo. Daisetsu Kogen serves as a trailhead for the popular Kogen Numa (alpine tarns) hiking trail. This area is far from civilization and home to a great number of native brown bears, higuma, which are often spotted by hikers in early summer. Before we set out on the Kogen Numa hiking trail, we receive a safety briefing at Higuma Information Centre about the latest sightings and the rules to respect the wildlife and stay safe in higuma territory.
Situated between 1,230m-1,460m (4035ft-4790ft) above sea level, the Kogen Numa provides opportunities to observe alpine flora and over a dozen alpine tarns of various sizes scattered along the trail. Once we return from our hike, we board our van to transfer to Nukabira Onsen, the hot spring village situated by Lake Nukabira. We overnight at a historical hotel that has been renovated into a modern Japanese-style inn and is run by a friendly local family.
Hiking Distance – 8 km / 5 miles
Elevation – 260m / 850ft
Time – 5 to 6 hours
Hike to Mt. Hakuunzan
We’ll kick the day off with a drive to neighbouring Lake Shikaribetsu on a road which is only open during the snowless months from April to October. After approximately 30 mins, we’ll arrive at the start of the trail to Mt Hakuunzan on the shore of Lake Shikaribetsu. We will take a loop walk to the top of Mt Hakuunzan (1,186m/3,890ft) and back on the lakeshore trail, which usually takes about 3 hours to complete. From the summit there’s a stunning view of Lake Shikaribetsu and if we are lucky, a chance to spot the Northern pika (rock rabbit) in their rocky dwellings.
After our hike we’ll hop back in the van and head for our accommodation in the Shikaribetsukyo Gorge. This site is cherished by outdoor onsen lovers because of its remote location and authenticity of the natural hot springs. The upper valley is home to several secluded outdoor onsen sites formed by the river. If you feel up for an extra excursion this afternoon, your guide will lead you on a walk, taking bathing suits and towels with us to revel in this 100% natural onsen experience.
Hiking Distance – 5 km / 3 miles
Ascent – 280m / 920ft
Time – 3 to 4 hours
Soba Making and Rafting
We’ll take a break from walking today and drive out to Shintoku Town, the soba (buckwheat) noodle capital. Here not only will we taste fresh handmade soba, but we will also learn to make it ourselves! After having an early lunch, we will head off to Minami Furano, where we’ll jump on a raft and paddle down the Siisorapci River, which is fed directly from the Tokachi Mountains. We will enjoy rafting in the picturesque valley amongst the surrounding greenery for a couple of hours in the afternoon. By 6 pm, we’ll arrive at our accommodation in Furano, famous for its lavender fields & flower gardens.
Transfer to Asahikawa
After breakfast, we will leave for Central Asahikawa to conclude the tour. Asahikawa is 1 hour drive from Furano. We can drop you off at your desired location in Asahikawa City, Asahikawa JR Station or at Asahikawa Airport.
Please note that the stroke on the map doesn’t indicate the actual hiking routes.
Tour Meeting Point
We will meet in Asahikawa between 9:00 am and 9:30 am on the first day. We recommend that you arrive in Asahikawa the day before departure, which we are more than happy to assist you with booking your pre-tour accommodation.
If you are flying into Asahikawa Airport (AKJ) from Tokyo Haneda on the first day, please make sure you reserve an early morning flight that arrives at Asahikawa between 8:30am and 9:30am, which allows us to pick you up from the airport on the day.
An alternative to flight is a train (Japan Railway, abbr. JR), which travels every 30-60 mins between Sapporo and Asahikawa. Upon booking, please let us know your travel plans to Asahikawa, and we will confirm in detail where and what time we will meet on the first day.
You can search train timetable in English on Japan Transit Planner website.
Around Daisetsuzan Hiking Tour Accommodation
|DAY 1||Ryokan||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
|DAY 2||Ryokan||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
|DAY 3||Ryokan||Shared bathroom||Onsen spa|
|DAY 4||Ryokan||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
|DAY 5||Hotel||Ensuite||Onsen spa|
What to Bring on your Daisetsuzan Hiking Tour
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Mid- to high-cut hiking boots
- Fleece or down jacket (even in the summer the temperatures can drop below 10℃)
- Thermal layers top & bottom
- Base layers top & bottom
- Spare pairs of socks
- Gloves, beanie, and other items to keep you warm
- Sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
- Water bottle or hydration system of more than 2L
- Head torch
- Quick-dry hand towel
- Personal medications
- Rain cover for backpack
- Backpack with enough capacity to carry all of the above
- Travel insurance
- Cash in Japanese yen. Small restaurants and shops in rural parts of Japan do not accept credit cards. Lunch in general costs 1,000-1,500 yen and dinner 2,000-3,000 yen. You can withdraw cash from an ATM at the post office and convenience stores.
- Walking poles
- Cellphone power bank
- Snacks which you’re used to eating while hiking
- Swim suit for rafting and bathing in the outdoor onsen
- First-aid kit
- Safety equipment and maps
Please note that you will be asked to show your passport when checking in accomodation in Japan. It is a requirement for accommodation providers to take a photocopy of the passport of international visitors.