Mt Asahidake & Biei Blue River
Guided overnight tour from Asahikawa
2 Day Snowshoeing Tour
Experience the best of Hokkaido’s winter wonderland on your snowshoeing adventure on Mt Asahidake in Daisetsuzan National Park and the Biei Blue River.
Tour Duration2 Day
Minimum Travellers2 People
Accommodation1 Night at Shirogane Onsen
Included Meals1 Breakfast
- Snowshoe hiking in the snow in the foothills of Mt. Asahidake
- Seeing steam roaring out from spectacular volcanic fumaroles
- Snowshoe hiking through serene forest to Biei’s Blue River
- Staying overnight at Shirogane Onsen at the base of the Tokachi Mountains
About Asahidake & Biei
Checking in at 2,291 metres (7,500 feet), Mt Asahidake in Daisetsuzan National Park is the tallest mountain in Hokkaido. Also known as the “Roof of Hokkaido”, the mountain has a special place in the hearts of Hokkaido people, including the indigenous Ainu. The mirror lakes and rugged gullies of Mt Asahidake take all hikers’ breath away in summer, but winter is as exciting as you can imagine: vapors discharging high in the air with the mighty Asahidake as a backdrop.
Biei, in contrast, has charms in its rolling hills and tranquil forests. The iconic Blue Pond gained a worldwide recognition when the image was used as the Apple wallpaper. It’s always been a highly popular site to visit in summer, but in winter the frozen waters are shrouded in silence and snow. We take advantage of the snow to put on our snowshoes to explore the forest further behind this pond, where the Biei River feeds the blue water. Mt Asahidake & the Blue River are the best-matching winter gems of the area we’d like you to experience at least once in your lifetime!
Who is this tour for?
- Brave adventurers who like to spend a day in the outdoors in winter conditions, where temperatures can drop below -20˚C/-4˚F
- Winter hikers & snow lovers who love hiking in snow with the help of snowshoes (No experience required)
- Curious travellers who love learning about the cultural and ecological values of the regions they visit
What is the Hokkaido winter like?
We run this tour from late December to early April. The first snow of the season falls on Mt Asahidake usually around the third week of September. From then the snow melts and accumulates until it stabilizes and sticks around from early December. During the stormy start to winters in Hokkaido, the snow usually grows deep enough for skiing & snowboarding by Christmas, when the Asahidake Ropeway operation gears up to accommodate skis and snowboards. Generally, January is the coldest month, easily hitting -20˚C/-4˚F or lower! The weather becomes more stable towards March, and we can still enjoy snowshoeing up on Mt Asahidake & Biei in April (quite often under blue skies), although the snow starts disappearing from the streets in the towns below.
Please be aware that the cable car at Mt Asahidake can be suspended due to the bad weather, in this case, our guided tour takes place in the native forest around Asahidake Onsen village or at an alternative site in Higashikawa.
Tour InclusionsItems that are included in the cost of tour price.
- 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
- 1 night accommodation on a twin share basis
- Return cable car to and from Mt Asahidake
- Snowshoe rental
- Visit to woodcraft workshop in Higashikawa
- English speaking local guide(s)
- Transport to/from Asahikawa
- Accommodation pick up and drop off
Snowshoeing in the foothills of Mt Asahidake
You will meet your Adventure Hokkaido guide between 8:00 am and 8:30 am in the lobby of your hotel or at a pre-arranged location in Central Asahikawa. We start off with an hour’s drive to Asahidake Onsen (1,100m/3,609ft), where we take a scenic cable car ride to Sugatami Station (1,600m/5,249ft).
We fit our snowshoes over our footwear and start hiking towards the fumaroles. There are more than 20 vents, energetically discharging the steam into the cold air, with winter temperature making the scene look even more spectacular. During the regular hiking season, we are not allowed to walk off the trail to approach the fumaroles, however in Winter the trail is wherever our snowshoes take us!
We turn around at the fumaroles to head back to Sugatami Station. Depending on the snow condition, we may have some fun sledding on the slopes by the snow-filled ponds before taking the cable car ride back to the village. We will have a late lunch at a cozy cafe/restaurant in Higashikawa and also call into a woodcraft workshop, which the Asahikawa area including Higashikawa is famous for.
In the late afternoon we transfer by vehicle to Shirogane Onsen in Biei, where we find our night lodging. We recommend you go and have a look at Shirahige Waterfall when it’s illuminated at night.
Hiking Distance – 2km / 1.2 miles
Elevation – 70m / 230ft
Time – 8 to 9 hours
Snowshoeing to Biei Blue River
You’ll have a relaxing morning & breakfast at our hotel at your leisure as we start the second day of our adventure at 9:30 am. Situated at the base of Tokachi Mountains, Shirogane Onsen (600m / 1,968ft) is a small hot spring alpine village surrounded by the forests of birch and spruce.
With our snowshoes on we venture into the forest at the hotel’s doorstep escorted by our experienced local guide. There is no established walkway or trail to approach the Blue River in this forest: in summer it’s not so easy due to the bush, however in winter, the snow gives us complete freedom to wander around at our own will!
As we proceed into the forest, we will start hearing the sound of water, the Biei River, which is feeding the famous Blue Pond. The Shirahige Waterfall emerging from the cliff and pouring into the Biei River at Shirogane Onsen is the very cause of the blue colour, containing aluminum components.
We return back to where we started by following the river line, eventually merging with the trails we made on our way in. We will have lunch at local diner in Biei, and see some of the iconic trees and the rolling hills on our journey back to Asahikawa. We drop you off back at your hotel in Asahikawa or in a nearby town around 4:30 pm.
Hiking Distance – 1.8km / 1.1 miles
Elevation – 50m / 164ft
Time – 8 hours
What to bring on your Mt Asahidake & Biei Blue River 2 Day Snowshoeing Tour
- Hard shell jacket and pants
- Winter/snow boots & thick socks
- Thick fleece or down jacket
- Warm base layers top & bottom
- Ski gloves, beanie, and items to keep you warm
- Sunscreen & sunglasses
- Insulated drink bottle
- Personal medications
- Travel insurance
- Backpack with enough capacity to carry all of the above
- Personal snacks
- Snowshoes and poles
- First aid kit
- Safety equipment and maps