Hokkaido. Open, big sky country with wonderful mountain hiking and back-country skiing.

This trip included a traverse of the Daisetsu Kogen Plateau in central Hokkaido, Lake Akan and the surrounding volcanic peaks, and the remote Shiretoko Peninsula extending towards Russia in the far northeast. Alpine flower fields around Asahidake (2,291m), the highest peak on Hokkaido, are stunning in summer.

Particularly recommended for those who love hiking and would like to add a few days onto their Japan trip in the summer or autumn.

Highlights

Great hiking on the Daisetsu Plateau.
Powder skiing, notably around Niseko.
Snow shoeing in winter.
Famous flower fields around Biei.
Hiking in volcanic landscapes.
Excellent natural hot springs.
Sapporo Snow Festival in February.
Day 1

Arrange to meet at Asahikawa Airport (flights from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya). Transfer to Asahidake Onsen on the slopes of Asahidake.

Overnight hotel.

Day 2

Daisetsu Kogen plateau north to south traverse from Asahidake to Daisetsu Kogen Onsen via Asahidake and Hakuundake peaks; a challenging, full day trek.

Overnight mountain lodge.

Day 3

Transfer by road to Lake Akan in Western Hokkaido. Short hike in the afternoon.

Overnight hotel.

Day 4

Today we’ll climb Meakandake, described by Lonely Planet as ‘A moonscape hike on active volcano complete with hissing vents, a 300m deep crater and great volcanic vistas.

Overnight hotel.

Day 5

On arrival in the Shiretoko we’ll visit the Five Lakes where there are raised walkways protecting the sensitive ecology, before heading for our lodgings in nearby Utoro.

Overnight hotel.

 

Day 6

Weather permitting we’ll climb Rausu Peak at the on the Shiretoko Peninsula. A tough, continuous 1,400m ascent on a round trip offering great views of the Sea of Okhotsk to the north on a clear day. Farewell dinner will feature delicious local seafood.

Overnight hotel.

Day 7

Transfer to Memanbetsu Airport for return flights, or onward travel to other destinations.

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Reviews

"The trip was a big success and definitely lived up to my expectations and imagining about landscape on Hokkaido; even the exceptional weather fitted my idea of a wild place. Some of the hikes produced a real sense of exhilaration for the drama and remoteness." - Lynn, USA

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