Shikotsu-Toya 5 Day Hiking Tour

A view from the top of Mt. Ichankoppe. Bamboo grass slopes away to Lake Shikotsu and a mountain looms out of the lake in the distance.

Explore stunning national parks a stone’s throw from Sapporo. You’ll hike through steaming volcanic landscapes, past lakeside vistas and hidden forest oases… and of course, take a dip in some of Hokkaido’s best hot springs!

Shikotsu-Toya National Park lies close to Sapporo and is home to a number of spectacular caldera lakes and steaming active volcanoes. The volcanoes concentrated in the region have of course given rise to several natural hot springs, meaning that it is popular among domestic Japanese visitors for its many resorts.

For us, however, it is not the resorts that we are interested in but the amazing landscape that makes this national park perfect for adventure travel. As well as hot springs, it is also home to rich forests, fascinating geological hikes and incredible wildlife. The trails that open up in summer allow the adventurous to experience the unique sight of fuming volcanoes and explore forests, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Hokkaido’s nearby capital city.

Tour Highlights

Explore volcanic landscapes

Witness the power of the Earth as we take in views of several active volcanoes - some of which have erupted and formed in recent memory - and pass by steaming fumaroles.

Relax & rejuvenate each evening in natural hot springs

As we pass through this volcanic landscape, there is plenty of opportunity to soak in rejuvenating natural hot springs - perfect for those tired legs.

Visit the Upopoy National Ainu Museum

The Upopoy National Ainu Museum was opened in 2020 as a facility to teach the public about the Ainu, Hokkaido's indigenous people.

Stroll along dramatic clifftops

Explore Hokkaido's rocky coastline just off of Otaru, viewing it from above.

Experience the wild side of Niseko

Although known for its awesome winter powder snow, summer in Niseko is much quieter, offering some wonderful hikes to enjoy.


Day 1

Day 1 - Meet in Otaru & Hike Otamoi-Akaiwa Nature Trail

Our tour begins in central Otaru. Once everyone is assembled this morning, we’ll head off to our first hike, the Otamoi-Akaiwa Nature Trail, a beautiful coastal walk running through Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park. We’ll ascend through lowland forest to the clifftops, where we’ll be greeted with magnificent views of the Sea of Japan and Hokkaido’s dramatic, rugged coastline. The view is particularly beautiful in autumn, when the forest bursts into colour. After we’ve enjoyed the walk, we’ll make our way to Niseko, where we’ll be staying this evening.

Hike 5.6 km with 387 m climbing
Stay Hotel at Niseko Konbu Onsen
Day 2

Day 2 - Hike Kagami Pond & Hike the Kompira-Nishiyama Trails

After breakfast, we’ll make our way to the first hiking route of the day, Kagami Pond in Niseko ( 4.2 km ). Although Niseko is renowned as a popular skiing destination in winter, it offers some wonderful hiking opportunities in summer, too. This is a well-maintained and relatively short trail. We’ll then enjoy a local lunch before travelling to Lake Toya, a beautiful caldera lake created by explosive volcanic activity which continues to this day. We’ll walk the Konpira & Nishiyama routes this afternoon ( 4.9 km ), which will allow us to see some of the damage caused by an eruption that took place in 2000.

After appreciating the more forceful side of tectonic forces, we’ll head to our accommodation for this evening where we can enjoy the more gentle aspect of these eruptions… natural hot springs!

Hike 9.1 km with 403 m climbing
Stay Hotel at Lake Toya
Day 3

Day 3 - Hike on Nakajima Island & Noboribetsu Hell Valley

This morning we’ll catch a ferry to the island of Nakajima in the centre of Lake Toya. Other than the well maintained trails, museum and dock, Nakajima is untouched by humans, making it an oasis for wildlife… except for Hokkaido’s brown bears, which do not live on the island! Phew! Once there, we’ll explore the loop hike around the island which takes roughly 3 hours ( 8.4 km ) and passes through the beautiful Daiheigen, where you may have the chance to see Mt. Yotei in the distance on a clear day. 

After taking the ferry back to the mainland, we’ll continue to our next destination, Noboribetsu Onsen. Upon arrival, we’ll set off for a 3.2 km walk through the Noboribetsu Hell Valley, where we'll explore volcanic lakes and steaming volcanic craters.

After our hike, we’ll head to our hotel for dinner and relax in the famous hot spring waters of Noboribetsu.

Hike 11.6 km with 515 m climbing
Stay Ryokan at Noboribetsu Onsen
Day 4

Day 4 - Hike the Poroto Recreation Forest & Visit Upopoy National Ainu Museum

After breakfast this morning, we’ll make our way to Shiraoi, a coastal town home to a number of prominent Ainu sites as well as the Upopoy National Ainu Museum, Japan’s first national museum dedicated to the Ainu indigenous group.

Lake Poroto is a small but bountiful lake, surrounded by a lush forest through which runs a leisurely walking route. Animals have made their homes here too and as we explore the forest, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for wild birds and cute squirrels. After the hike, we’ll spend some time exploring the Upopoy National Ainu Museum, dedicated to preserving Ainu heritage and culture. Here you’ll be able to learn about the indigenous people who lived in Hokkaido long before it became a part of modern Japan.

W e’ll leave Shiraoi with a much more profound understanding of the region’s history as we head to our destination tonight - Lake Shikotsu, a stunning caldera lake surrounded by active volcanoes (and of course, hot springs!)

Hike 7.5 km with 275 m climbing
Stay Ryokan at Lake Shikotsu
Day 5

Day 5 - Hike Mt. Ichankoppe, Depart

Today is our last day together and we’ll end this tour with a challenge, Mt. Ichankoppe! The 829m mountain is located on the edge of Lake Shikotsu’s caldera, which means that it offers some pretty stunning views of Lake Shikotsu and its surrounds. Fresh verdures make the trail a delight in spring while in autumn, stunning red foliage transforms the landscape. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch at the summit before we descend the mountain and return to our van.

We’ll say our goodbyes enroute to Chitose, where the tour will disband. Make sure you haven’t left anything in the van and have a safe onward journey!

Hike 7.1 km with 655 m climbing

Dates & Prices

+¥34,000pp for single room

Travel Style

This hiking tour is a series of day hikes; either return or loop. We always come back to our van at the end of the day and transfer to our accommodation. This means your overnight luggage can stay in the van and you can experience the best of Shikotsu-Toya National Park with just a light day pack!