The natural beauty of Hokkaido, with its wide-open wilderness, lush forests, and many mountains and lakes, is a wonder to explore. Activity tours help you get the most out of Hokkaido’s trail network. Here are your options.
Mt. Tarumae (Tarumae-zan)
Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Tomakomai, Hokkaido
The hike to the top of Mt. Tarumae is along an easy, though steep, trail. Expect to spend around an hour hiking to the top, where you’ll have a close-up view of the lava dome and smoking sulphur vents. If you plan to hike around the crater, allot another two to three hours. While it’s possible to explore Mt. Tarumae independently, some travelers opt for a guided tour from Sapporo, which includes transportation, a stop at Lake Shikotsu, and a posthike soak at anonsen (hot spring).
Things to Know Before You Go
Wear sturdy shoes suitable for hiking over uneven surfaces.
Do not venture into the crater, as the poisonous gases can be deadly.
Some hikers find poles to be helpful, particularly over sections of loose gravel.
The last chance to stock up on water is at Lake Shikotsu.
You can find a basic restroom and a hut at the trailhead, but no other amenities.
Brown bears can sometimes be found in the area; consider wearing bear bells or bring bear repellant.
How to Get There
Mt. Tarumae is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Shikotsu. The easiest way to get there is by car, but arrive early as parking is limited. By public transport, take the train from Sapporo to Chitose Station, transfer to a bus to Lake Shikotsu, then take a taxi to the trailhead.
When to Get There
The best time to hike Mt. Tarumae is from mid-April to late November, when the slopes are not covered in snow. It’s also possible to hike in the winter, but expect a longer approach, as the access road to the trailhead will be closed.
Those who have more time or are looking for a challenge should consider hiking Mt. Fuppushi, located right next to Mt. Tarumae. From the top of Mt. Tarumae, you can follow the ridgeline across to Mt. Fuppushi, then walk back down to the lake. Alternatively, a trail to the summit of Mt. Fuppushi begins on the other side of the parking lot. Expect to spend three to four hours, and carry bear bells or bear repellant.
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- Things to do in Nagano Prefecture
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- Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsuko)
- Sapporo Beer Hokkaido Brewery
- Hoheikyo Onsen
- Mt. Moiwa (Moiwa-yama)
- Asahiyama Memorial Park (Asahiyama Kinen Koen)
- Chitose River (Chitose Gawa)
- Toyohira River
- Mt. Okura Observatory
- Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen)
- Odori Park (Odori Koen)
- Sapporo TV Tower
- Nopporo Forest Park (Nopporo Shinrin Koen)