mountains-islands-self-guided-tour

Hokkaido Mountains & Islands 15 Day Self Guided Hiking Tour

Self-guided Hiking Tour from Sapporo

from
¥278,000
One Person ¥342,000

Explore the best of Hokkaido’s breathtaking natural alpine and island landscapes on this incredible self guided hiking adventure through Japan’s most northern island.

 

  • Tour Duration

    15 Days
  • Minimum Travellers

    1
  • Accommodation

    14 Nights
  • Tour Starts

    Sapporo
  • Included Meals

    10 Dinners
  • Tour Finishes

    Hakodate
Overview Itinerary Trip Details Gallery Enquire Now

Overview

Explore to your heart’s content and discover the best of Hokkaido’s breathtaking natural views, warm local hospitality and learn about Ainu culture and traditions up close on this incredible adventure throughout Hokkaido. Lose yourself in this land we call home and make unforgettable memories!

Tour Highlights

  • Hike through diverse natural settings of Daisetsuzan National Park
  • Explore the high moors of Kogen Onsen, the habitat for Ezo brown bears
  • Island hop between the twin islands of Rishiri Rebun Sarobetsu National Park
  • Stay in a range of overnight getaways from city hotels, Japanese-style mountain lodges to ryokan with thermal springs
  • Experience first-hand Hokkaido’s rural communities, warm hospitality, and the indigenous world of Ainu

Who is this tour for?

  • Independent travellers who like being your own guide and touring at your own pace
  • Fit hikers keen to discover trails from the highlands and lowlands to the seaside
  • Adventurers who enjoy island hopping and exploring in between hiking
  • Curious travellers who will enjoy staying overnight in locally operated accommodation in scenic locations

Hokkaido Mountains & Islands Self Guided Hiking Itinerary at a Glance

*B: Breakfast D: Dinner
Day 1 Lake Shikotsu, Shikotsu-Toya National Park (D)
Day 2 Lake Shikotsu (B, D)
Day 3 Asahidake Onsen (B, D)
Day 4 Asahidake Onsen (B, D)
Day 5 Kogen Onsen, Daisetsuzan National Park (B, D)
Day 6 Kogen Onsen (B, D)
Day 7 Wakkanai (B)
Day 8 Rebun Island, Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park (B, D)
Day 9 Rebun Island (B, D)
Day 10 Rishiri Island (B, D)
Day 11 Rishiri Island (B, D)
Day 12 Sapporo (B)
Day 13 Shiraoi (B)
Day 14 Hakodate (B)
Day 15 Finish after breakfast (B)

Tour Inclusions

Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

  • 14 nights accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 14 breakfasts and 10 dinners
  • GPX data for the suggested hiking routes
  • Detailed instructions in regards to the use of public transport as described in the itinerary

Not included

Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

  • Fees for activities
  • Entry to facilities
  • Transportation
  • Guide
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks with included meals

Tour Itinerary

 

Day 1 Lake Shikotsu

New Chitose Airport or Sapporo JR Station*

56mins/¥1,050 per person

Lake Shikotsu Onsen

Arrive at New Chitose Airport (CST) by aeroplane. You will transfer to Lake Shikotsu by a direct bus leaving from the airport (56mins/¥1,050 per person). Lake Shikotsu is a picturesque caldera lake forming a part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Being the closest National Park from Sapporo, it is a popular getaway for Sapporo locals, and it’s also a perfect location to rest after your long flight from your home country. The lakeside is blessed with natural hot springs (called “onsen” in Japanese), which you can enjoy bathing at your accommodation tonight.

*JR : Japan Railway

Day 2 Lake Shikotsu
Today is a very flexible day where you can explore to your heart’s content! Feel free to explore the lakeside on foot, call by the Visitor Centre, or join a half-day guided canoe trip on Chitose River flowing out of Lake Shikotsu. For such half-day tours, booking is essential and in general costs from ¥10,000.

Day 3 Asahidake Onsen

Lake Shikotsu Onsen

38mins/¥950

Chitose JR Station

113mins/¥5,460

Asahikawa JR Station

93mins/¥1,450

Asahidake Onsen

Today you’ll be heading from Lake Shikotsu to the Roof of Hokkaido in Daisetsuzan National Park, situated in the heart of Hokkaido. You can take a local bus (38mins/¥950) to Chitose JR* Station, and then a train to Asahikawa JR Station via Sapporo (113mins/¥5,460). Asahikawa is the second-largest city after Sapporo and there are many great eateries in the city. We recommend trying a bowl of the city’s famous noodles, Asahikawa Ramen, soy-sauce based noodle soup for lunch, before taking another bus to Asahidake Onsen (93mins/¥1,450). Asahidake Onsen is a popular entry point to Daisetsuzan, Japan’s largest National Park with easy access to hiking trails. Enjoy the onsen here in the fresh mountain air, located at 1,100m above sea level.

Day 4 Asahidake Onsen

Asahidake Onsen

15mins/¥2,900 per person return

Sugatami Station

Mount Asahidake (6 km / 3.7 miles, 5 to 6 hours return)

Nakadake Onsen (10 km / 6.2 km, 5 to 6 hours return)

Sugatami Station

15mins

Asahidake Onsen

Today we suggest hiking all the way up to Hokkaido’s tallest peak, Mt. Asahidake marked at 2,291m (7.516ft), with the help of a cable car which will take you from Asahidake Onsen to Sugatami Station at 1,600m (5,250ft). The hike to Mt. Asahidake is a constant ascent over gravel and volcanic rocks, however, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of deep Daisetsuzan Mountains that extend to the south. Alternatively, you can take a more leisurely hike to Nakadake Onsen from Sugatami Station. Nakadake Onsen is a natural thermal spring site hidden in the midst of mountains. The water is not deep enough for you to fully soak your body in, but it has been a popular foot spa site for local hikers (these hiking details are described in our 1-day guided tour page “Mt. Asahidake Adventure” and “Nakadake Onsen Explorer”). You will stay at the same accommodation as last night at Asahidake Onsen, so you can enjoy your day hike without having to carry your overnight luggage.

Day 5 Kogen Onsen

Asahidake Onsen

88mins/¥1,450

Asahikawa JR Station

115mins/¥2,140

Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal

40mins/¥0

Kogen Onsen

Today is a transfer day to Kogen Onsen, a more secluded part of Daisetsuzan National Park. From Asahidake Onsen, take a bus down to Asahikawa JR Station (88mins/¥1,450), and change to another bus leaving for Sounkyo Onsen (115mins/¥2,140). Sounkyo is an onsen resort village in a deep gorge, featuring dramatic columnar jointing cliffs. In the charming Sounkyo village, there is a visitor’s centre, a photo museum, a free foot spa, all within a walking distance from the Sounkyo Bus Terminal. You will be picked up by the staff from tonight’s accommodation at 4:30 pm to head for Kogen Onsen (40mins/¥0). The mountain inn here has a rustic character with an open-air spa, where you can enjoy gazing at the night sky in total tranquillity.

Day 6 Kogen Onsen

Kogen Onsen

Kogen Numa Hike (8 km / 5 miles , 5 to 6 hours return)

Kogen Onsen

Today is a free day which you can enjoy at your own discretion. You can choose to just relax at the accommodation, or go for a day walk to admire the alpine plants and ponds in the wetlands just at the doorstep of the accommodation. Due to the fact that this area has a high density of brown bears, before walking into the wetlands, please call in the Bear Information Centre to be informed about the latest bear sightings and movements in the area. Onigiri rice balls, Japanese hiker’s favourite lunch for hiking, can be ordered the day before to carry energy with you for your day hike (¥700).

Day 7 Wakkanai

Kogen Onsen

40mins/¥0

Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal

115mins/¥2,140

Asahikawa JR Station

3h48m/¥8,360

Wakkanai

This morning you will be driven by the Kogen Onsen staff back to Sounkyo Onsen Bus Terminal at 10:00 am (40mins/¥0) and take a connecting bus ride to Asahikawa (115mins/¥2,140). Here you will board on an early afternoon JR train to Wakkanai, the northernmost city of Japan (3h48m/¥8,360). On your train journey up north, you will travel along Teshio River, Sarobetsu Wetlands and might briefly sight Mt. Rishiri across the ocean if the weather is fine. You should arrive in Wakkanai before dark and be able to enjoy a stroll downtown in the exotic town, with the road signs written in three languages: Japanese, English and Russian! This is due to that until recently Wakkanai and Sakhalin were connected by the ferry service over La Pérouse Strait, and is frequently visited by tourists from Sakhalin.

Day 8 Rebun Island

Wakkanai Ferry Terminal

2h50m, 2nd class ¥2,850

Rebun Island Ferry Terminal

59mins/¥1,240

Cape Sukoton

Misaki Meguri Walkway (12 km / 7.5 miles, 5 to 6 hours)

Funadomari Township

43min/¥980

Accommodation

You will take an early morning ferry (2h50m, 2nd class ¥2,850) at 7:15 am departing Wakkanai Ferry Terminal to Rebun Island which forms a part of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. Rebun Island is known to the Japanese as an alpine flower garden floating in the ocean. Hiking trails are extended all over the island from north to south. This island is also a brown bear free area, and the coastline is dotted with interesting fishermen’s houses and warehouses. At the ferry terminal, you’ll meet the staff of tonight’s accommodation, to whom you can leave your overnight gear to be transferred to the accommodation. We recommend that this morning you take a local bus to Sukoton Cape (departing at 10:45 am, 59mins/¥1,240), the northern end of the island, and explore the Misaki Meguri (Around the Cape) Walkway. You can take a returning bus from Funadomari Township just after 4 pm (43min/¥980) to check-in at the accommodation.

Day 9 Rebun Island

Accommodation

Rebun Rindo Trail to Momoiwa Trail (6 km / 3.7 miles, 3 to 4 hours)

Shiretoko Township

9mins/¥320

Accommodation

Today is a free day, but it is recommended that you walk from your accommodation to Rebun Rindo Trail, and onto Momoiwa Trail, which will eventually take you to Shiretoko, the southern tip of Rebun Island (3-4 hours). This trail is probably the most popular trail in Rebun Island, for its accessibility and stunning sceneries of flowers, dramatic coastlines, and views of Mt. Rishiri across the sea. From Shiretoko Township, you can take a local bus again to return to your accommodation (departing at 2:56 pm and 5:03 pm on weekdays, 9mins/¥320), or alternatively walk for an extra an hour back to your accommodation.

Day 10 Rishiri Island

Rebun Island Ferry Terminal

40mins, 2nd class ¥950

Rishiri Island Ferry Terminal (Oshidomari Port)

Cape Peshi (3 km / 1.9 miles, 1 hour)

Continuing on with island hopping today, you will take a ferry across to the sister island Rishiri and depart at 1:25 pm (40mins, 2nd class ¥950). The entire island of Rishiri is a sleeping volcano and on a clear day, you can appreciate the cone-shaped peak sweeping out of the ocean to the height of 1,721m (5,650ft). At the ferry terminal, you will be picked up by the staff of your accommodation for a short drive to your next accommodation. This afternoon, it is recommended that you go exploring the short, sharp walkway to Cape Peshi near the ferry terminal. At a height of 90m (295ft), there is a white lighthouse and the incredible view over the bay with Mt. Rishiri on its backdrop.

Day 11 Rishiri Island

Accommodation

10mins/¥0

Trailhead of Mt Rishiri

Mount Rishiri (13 km / 8 miles, 9 to 10 hours)

Trailhead of Mt Rishiri

10mins/¥0

Accommodation

If the weather condition permits, you may like to take up the challenge of hiking to the summit of Mt. Rishiri. It is a strenuous hike, as you start climbing from just over 200m, and all the way up to 1,721m (5,645ft). The accommodation staff can drive you to the trailhead of Mt. Rishiri hiking trail in the early morning on request. If you wish, a trekking guide can be arranged in advance to accompany your hike. The total walking distance is 12km (7.5miles) from the trailhead, which generally takes a full-day, 9-10 hours. Make sure you order at the accommodation a packed lunch the day before to take with you. The alternative to this long hike is a shorter hike in one way to Pon-Yama, leading to Himenuma Pond, a popular tourist stop with a nice view of Mt. Rishiri (8km / 5miles, 5 hours walking). From Himenuma Pond, you can take a bus ride back just after 2 pm to a bus stop near the accommodation. If you would like a break from hiking, you can also book a guided sea kayaking and/or fishing tour through the accommodation (booking essential, costs ¥8,800).

Day 12 Sapporo

Rishiri Island Ferry Terminal

1h40m, 2nd class ¥2,550

Wakkanai Ferry Terminal

4h50m/¥6,200

Sapporo JR Station Bus Terminal

It is time to say goodbye to the islands. You’ll depart Rishiri Island at 8:30 am on the ferry heading back to Wakkanai (1h40m, 2nd class ¥2,550). At 11:30 am from the Wakkanai ferry terminal, hop on an Express Bus departing for Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital city (4h50m/¥6,200). Your bus will arrive at 5:20 pm at Bus Terminal of Sapporo JR Station.

Day 13 Shiraoi

Sapporo JR Station

65mins/¥3,250

Shiraoi JR Station

This morning you will take a JR Express Train from Sapporo Station to Shiraoi, a town facing the Pacific Ocean (65mins/¥3,250). Shiraoi offers travellers a great opportunity to get to know about Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people and their culture. This town is one of the most prominent Ainu tourism venues in Hokkaido, with the first National Museum of Ainu “Upopoi” opening in April 2020. Both the museum and your accommodation are within a walking distance from the Shiraoi JR Station, you may wish to leave your luggage in a coin-operated locker provided at the Station or at your accommodation before heading to the museum. You will be staying at a newly opened guesthouse tonight, within a short walking distance to izakaya bars for an unforgettable local dining experience.

Day 14 Hakodate

Shiraoi JR Station

2h40m/¥7,260

Hakodate JR Station

Today you will take a JR train to transfer to Hakodate City (2h40m/¥7,260), positioned as a gateway to/from the mainland Honshu. There are ferries, bullet trains, and flights serviced here to help you transit to your next destination in Japan. Hakodate is one of the most historic cities in Hokkaido, as it was the first place where the settlement of the Japanese began in Hokkaido. Today it remains as a popular travel destination by both domestic and international tourists. A popular night activity here is the Mount Hakodate Ropeway, which you can take up to the top of the hill, to see the city lights overlooking the peninsula.

Day 15 Hakodate

The tour finishes after breakfast at the hotel. Hakodate is known for its morning market so be sure to check out the fresh seafood before you leave town!

The hiking distance and required time indicated in the itinerary above are only rough estimates.



Trip details

Tour Accommodation

DAY 1 & 2 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 3 & 4 Ryokan Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 5 & 6 Ryokan Shared bathroom Onsen spa
DAY 7 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 8 & 9 Minshuku Shared bathroom Heated spa
DAY 10 & 11 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 12 Hotel Ensuite No spa
DAY 13 Hostel Shared bathroom No spa
DAY 14 Hotel Ensuite Onsen spa


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