Sapporo Area


Mt. Kokimobetsu-dake (小喜茂別岳 - 970m) is the little-sibling of the higher Mt. Kimobetsu-dake (喜茂別岳 - 1,177m) further to the north (Mt. Kimobetsu-dake route guide here). Access to Mt. Kokimobetsu-dake is just as easy though, and its mellow slopes are great for those just getting their feet wet in backcountry skiing. Expect a beginner to intermediate slope at the upper end of the route that is perfect for lapping a couple of times before heading down.

Mt. Kokimobetsu-dake Ski Touring (Nakayama Pass, Hokkaido, Japan)


The route up Mt. Onuma (大沼山 - 1,111m) near the Toyoha Mine in Jozankei (southwestern Sapporo City) may become your next favorite Hokkaido backcountry ski touring route. It is close to Sapporo City. The climb up is short; only about 2 hours or so. The terrain is suitably varied. On a clear day it boasts some magnificent views. But the real cherry on the cake is its downhill slopes. The upper, mostly tree-free slope is worthy of a few exhilarating laps, while the second half of the route back down to the carpark is a glorious dodge-em ride through nicely spaced woods.

Mt. Onuma Backcountry Ski Touring (Jozankei, Hokkaido, Japan)


I've been up to the Ginreiso Hut (銀嶺荘) on Mt. Haruka (春香山 - 910m) a number of times now in most seasons. It is one of only three huts in Hokkaido to boast a year-round hut-keeper (Mt. Tarumae Hut and Mt. Muroran's Shiratori Hut being the others). In winter it is a gorgeous, cosy oasis at the foot of Mt. Haruka's upper eastern face, giving prime ski access to easy lapping of tree- and open-runs. While the hut is owned by Tokai University and officially designated as a staff and student retreat facility, the general public are welcome to stay with prior booking when the hutkeeper is present.

Mt. Haruka Ginreiso Hut Overnight Ski Tour (Otaru City, Hokkaido, ...








Shakotan Hut provides an excellent base from which to explore peaks such as Mt. Shakotan-dake (積丹岳 – 1,255m) or Mt. Yobetsu (余別岳 – 1,298m) on the Shakotan Peninsula. About 40 minutes from the end of the snow-cleared section of dirt road, this is a public-transport accessible hut, free to use for […]

Shakotan Hut and Mt. Shakotan-dake Ski Tour (Hokkaido, Japan)




This ‘ski-by-numbers’ ski touring route is a beauty. The red ski-tour-specific trail markers, starting at #1 at Shokanso Hut (290m), make for relatively straightforward navigation up to around 1,000m in altitude. To summit Mt. Shokanbetsu (署寒別岳 – 1,491m) however, you’ll need near-perfect conditions and an early start. Right on the […]

Shokanso Hut and Mt. Shokanbetsu (署寒別岳 – 1,491m) Ski Touring ...


First impressions of the Mt. Mayoizawa (迷沢山 – 1,005m) backcountry skiing route are probably not that great. You’d be forgiven to want to shun this route, with its overbearing-looking pylons and not much of a peak to speak of. But it has two seriously good things going for it: it is […]

Mayoizawa-yama mid-week ski tour (Sapporo City, Japan)


Mt. Okotanpe (オコタンペ山 – 968m) is classed as a beginner’s mountain in the guidebook. This is probably a reasonable description if you are on snowshoes. If on skis, you’ll want to be confident of your steep uphill zigzagging and steep downhill tree-dodging skills, such that I’d class it more as […]

Mt. Okotanpe Ski Tour (Hokkaido, Japan)




The approach to Mt. Soranuma-dake (空沼岳 – 1,251m) is a convoluted mess of topography which doesn’t lend well for great downhill skiing. Don’t let that put you off though. The old forester’s outpost Bankei Hut (万計山荘) is worth the effort, and the national park landscape is magical. We did the […]

Mt. Soranuma-dake Overnight Ski Tour (Hokkaido, Japan)


When Chitose City in Hokkaido, Japan, finally gets enough snow (around the beginning of January), the local ski field grinds into action. The tow-rope lift is a brutal contraption, but once you’re used to it, the 60yen per ride (or a whopping 500yen for a day-pass) feels like the bargain […]

Chitose City Ski Field: A one-run wonder micro-resort



The Yama-no-ie Hut, tucked below Mt. Okuteine on the outer reaches of Sapporo City, is everything you can expect from a mountain hut managed by largely ambivalent Japanese university students: dingy, messy, and a glowing red-hot potbelly stove kept that way by the intrepid first-year students who hauled the coal […]

Hokkaido Ski Touring: Mt. Okuteine, Yama-no-ie Hut and Mt. Tsuge ...





With a gradual approach and nothing technical, Mt. Shakotan (1,255m) is a beginner back-country skier’s dream. And being the highest spot on the sprawling Shakotan Peninsula, the views are some of the best in western Hokkaido. Perfect for a very late spring season trip to the mountains, only a few […]

Hokkaido Back Country Skiing: Mt. Shakotan (Fumi Route)


Mt. Yoichi (1,488m) is the highest peak within the Sapporo City limits. Despite this, it is extremely accessible – it overlooks Kiroro Ski Resort, so take the ski lift to the resorts upper reaches, and you’re more or less there. But to truly experience Mt. Yoichi’s enchanting snowy wilderness, the […]

Hokkaido Back Country Skiing: Mt. Yoichi (Akai-kawa Route)