Around Daisetsuzan 6 Day Hiking Tour

A group of hikers walk along the edge of Ohachidaira. In the background the caldera is filled with green trees and behind that, Mt. Hokuchin rises amongst the clouds.

Explore volcanic craters, tranquil lakes and the wild wetlands of the Daisetsuzan National Park on this multi-day guided hiking adventure in Central Hokkaido.

On this itinerary we discover the best of the vast Daisetsuzan National Park. We traverse the two prime peaks of Mt. Asahidake and Mt Kurodake in its northern region and we explore as far south as Lake Shikaribetsu. This tour is perfect for hiking enthusiasts who also enjoy discovering cultural connections with the landscapes they hike through.

Designated as Japan’s National Park in 1934, Daisetsuzan holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Hokkaido. The park covers over 2,300 square kilometres (570,000 acres), which is bigger than the size of Tokyo and is home to a dramatic mountain range, giving Daisetsuzan the nickname “the Roof of Hokkaido”.

Keigetsu Omachi, a writer during the Meiji and Taisho periods (late 1800s, early 1900s), traversed these peaks long before the trails had been established. He famously said “To understand the height of a mountain, climb Mt Fuji. To understand the vastness of a mountain, climb the Daisetsuzan mountains.” This well sums up the dramatic scale of this mountain range.

Tour Highlights

Traverse across the roof of Hokkaido

Summit Mt. Asahidake, the highest peak in Hokkaido before traversing to Mt. Kurodake, skirting around a giant volcanic caldera.

Explore alpine ponds at Daisetsu Kogen

Daisetsu Kogen is a lush corner of the national park, home to a number of alpine ponds - and even more Brown Bears, who make the area their home due to the abundance of tasty plants.

Meet and learn about the Ainu

The Ainu are indigenous to Hokkaido and have lived here for thousands of years. We will learn first hand about how they coexist with nature.

Gaze down on Lake Shikaribetsu from Mt. Hakuunzan

The rocky summit is also home to Northern Pika, who occasionally pop out from their rocky home to take in the views.

Hike along the spectacular summit ridgeline of Mt. Furano

On a clear day the ridge gives you panoramic views of Mt. Tokachi, an active volcano to the north and Furano town to the south.


Day 1

The group assembles in Asahikawa City

Your group will meet between 9:00 am and 9:30 am in Central Asahikawa. Once everyone is together in Asahikawa, we’ll spend some time getting to know each other and the programme for our upcoming adventure before heading off to Arashiyama to warm up our legs.

Arashiyama is an urban forest park, popular with Asahikawa locals for its accessibility and the panorama of the city from the top. For the local Ainu ( the indigenous people of Hokkaido ), this is a special place known as ” ci-nomi-sir ” in their language. They perform an annual ritual at the end of May here, thanking the Gods for their blessings and praying for another year full of peace and happiness.

After our hike, we will have lunch with the Ainu in a replica of a traditional house known as a ” cise ” and learn about their culture, history and how they relate to nature in their beliefs and lifestyles. In the late afternoon, we will travel by van for approximately one hour to Asahidake Onsen situated at 1,100m above sea level. We stay the night here in the crisp mountain air enjoying the natural hot springs fed by Mt Asahidake.

Hike 2 km with 120 m climbing
Day 2

Hike from Mt Asahidake to Mt Kurodake

Asahidake Onsen is a popular entry point to Daisetsuzan National Park. The park is Japan’s largest in size, and one of the first designated as a National Park in 1934. While Daisetsuzan is typically known as the Roof of Hokkaido, in the Ainu world, it is known as ” kamuy-mintar ”, meaning the Playground of the Gods.

We make our way into this sacred location by cable car to Sugatami Station at 1,600m , then start climbing to the summit of Mt. Asahidake. At 2,291m , this is the highest you can get in Hokkaido . Our journey continues on the outer ring of the majestic Ohachidaira volcanic caldera, which was formed by an eruption about 30,000 years ago.

In the afternoon, we set foot on the summit of Mt. Hokkai ( 2,149m ) and Mt. Kurodake ( 1,984m ) before descending into Sounkyo Gorge with the help of a chair lift followed by another cable car. Sounkyo Gorge is a picturesque onsen village nestled between the mountains and the cliffs, making it a popular destination for onsen, hiking and skiing. It will be our welcome home for the night.

Alternative Route

This is our biggest hike of the tour and it is almost entirely on exposed ridgelines. Depending on the weather and group dynamics, we may change the traverse hike to a loop hike, returning via Nakadake Onsen after summiting Mt. Asahidake. This hike still takes you to the outer rim of Ohachidaira Caldera but lets us drop down to lower elevation sooner, avoiding spending the whole day on the exposed caldera rim. The distance and the duration are similar to the traverse and we will transfer by van to Sounkyo.

Hike 12.5 km with 860 m climbing
Day 3

Hike amongst the Daisetsu Kogen alpine ponds

Today we will have an early start and drive over to Kogen Onsen which is 1 hour away from Sounkyo. Daisetsu Kogen serves as a trailhead for the popular Kogen Numa (alpine ponds) hiking trail. This area is far from civilization and home to a great number of native brown bears, higuma , which are occasionally spotted by hikers in early summer. After arriving we have a briefing at the Higuma Information Centre about the bear activity and the latest sightings before we hit the trail.

Situated between 1,230m - 1,460m above sea level, the Kogen Numa provides opportunities to observe alpine flora and over a dozen alpine ponds of various sizes scattered along the trail. Once we return from our hike, we board our van to transfer to Nukabira Onsen, a hot spring village situated by Lake Nukabira. We overnight at a historical hotel that has been renovated into a modern Japanese-style inn and is run by a friendly local family.

Hike 8 km with 260 m climbing
Day 4

Hike up Mt. Hakuunzan

We’ll kick the day off with a drive along Lake Shikaribetsu on a road only open during the snowless months from April to October. After approximately 30 mins, we’ll arrive at the start of the trail to Mt. Hakuunzan on the shore of Lake Shikaribetsu. We will take a loop walk to the top of Mt. Hakuunzan ( 1,186m ) and back on the lakeshore trail, which usually takes about 3 hours to complete. From the summit there’s a stunning view of Lake Shikaribetsu and if we are lucky, a chance to spot the Northern pika (rock rabbit) in their rocky dwellings.

After our hike, we’ll have lunch at a cafe on the lake side, and then drive 2 hours to our accommodation in Furano. The Furano area is known for its flower gardens, fresh produce and scenic landscapes and the town is sandwiched between the Tokachi Volcanic Group and the Yubari Mountain Range. Tonight, we will dine out in downtown Furano.

Hike 5 km with 280 m climbing
Day 5

Hike up Mt. Furano

We’ll have an early breakfast at our hotel, and head for Mt. Furano’s trailhead, situated at 1,270m above sea level. On the way, we will drop by a store to buy lunch and snacks to enjoy a picnic during the hike.

Mt. Furano is one of Japan’s Top 100 mountains famous for flowers and the peak attracts hikers from all over Japan to admire the alpine flowers in bloom during the summer months. As well as the flowers, the views over the adjoining peaks of Mt. Sanpou, Mt. Kamifurano and Mt. Tokachi from the ridgeline are breathtaking. It is a fitting finale to conclude our multi-day hiking adventure in the Daisetsuzan Mountains.

After the hike, we will transfer by van for 70 mins and return to Asahikawa, where we started our journey. We will celebrate the completion of our tour over dinner in downtown Asahikawa.

Hike 10 km with 570 m climbing
Day 6


Our tour finishes after breakfast at our hotel. You can walk over to the Asahikawa JR Station, from where you can take a train to Sapporo or a bus to Asahikawa Airport to head to your next destination. Itterashai!

Dates & Prices

+¥24,000pp - +¥43,000pp for single room
  1. June 26, 2023 - July 01, 2023
  2. July 31, 2023 - August 05, 2023
    Fully Booked
  3. September 05, 2023 - September 10, 2023
    Fully Booked
  4. July 09, 2024 - July 14, 2024
    from ¥342,000pp
  5. July 29, 2024 - August 03, 2024
    from ¥342,000pp
  6. August 24, 2024 - August 29, 2024
    from ¥342,000pp
  7. September 24, 2024 - September 29, 2024
    from ¥342,000pp
  8. Enquire About a Private Departure

Travel Style

This hiking tour is a series of day hikes; either return, loop or traverse routes. 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 the Daisetsuzan’s hiking with just a light day pack! Even on Day 2, the longest day where we traverse across the roof of Hokkaido from Asahidake Onsen to Sounkyo, your luggage will be transferred by van, ready to meet you at the end of the day’s hiking.

Forest Hiking to Mt Arashiyama in Asahikawa
Forest hiking at Mt Arashiyama in Asahikawa
Lookout deck on the top of Mt Arashiyama
Lookout deck on the top of Mt Arashiyama
Two people walk past a reconstructed Ainu Cise house in Arashiyama park, Asahikawa. The houses walls and roof are all is made out of thatched bamboo.
A replica of a "cise" Ainu house at Mt Arashiyama
Ainu host Hisae san at Ainu Museum in Asahikawa
Ainu host Hisae-san at the Ainu Museum in Asahikawa
Group photo at the fifth stage of Mt Asahidake
Group photo on the climb of Mt Asahidake
Alpine flowers in bloom
Alpine flowers in bloom
At the summit of Mt Asahidake, Hokkaido's highest peak
At the summit of Mt Asahidake - Hokkaido's highest peak
A group of hikers walk along the edge of Ohachidaira. In the background the caldera is filled with green trees and behind that, Mt. Hokuchin rises amongst the clouds.
Hike along Ohachidaira, an ancient volcanic caldera
Hiking to Kogen Numa, Daisetsuzan National Park
Hiking to Kogen Numa, Daisetsuzan National Park
Ezo Numa
Snow lined Ezo numa pond
River crossing at Yanbe Onsen on Kogen Numa trail
River crossing at Yanbe onsen on the Kogen Numa trail
Hiking to Mt Hakuunzan in gentle mist
Hiking along the ridge of Mt Hakuunzan in gentle mist
At the peak of Mt Hakuunzan
At the peak of Mt Hakuunzan
A northern pika calls out from a rocky perch.
Northern Pika calling out from it's rocky perch
Hikers on Mt Furanodake Ridgeline
Hikers on Mt Furano ridgeline
A group of hikers with a guide approach the summit of Mt. Furano in the Daisetsuzan National Park. The ridge line stretches away behind them all the way to Mt. Tokachi, which is partial obscured by clouds.
Ridgeline hiking on Mt. Furano
Summit sign of Mt Furanodake
At the summit of Mt Furano