Shioya Maru-yama Hike


Posted on Jun 6, 2015
16 0

Posted on Jun 6, 2015

16 0








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Shioya Maru-yama (塩谷丸山, 629m) is an easy hike close to Sapporo City, just west of the bustling tourist town of Otaru. Access is super convenient for those living in Sapporo - just get on a train to the Shioya Train station, and you're on your way. The route makes for a nice hike through lowland bush with large expansive views over the Shakotan Peninsula and the Japan Sea at the top. It is well known in the area as a great hike for beginners as well as experienced hikers wanting a quick half-day trip.

Last updated Jul 13, 2021


Route Map

Need to know details


Shioya Maru-yama sits just east of the Shakotan Peninsula northwest of Sapporo City. It’s just west of Otaru City, about 6km as the crow flies from the tourist hotspots near the Otaru canals and glass-blowing workshops. The hike starts on the northern side of the new Shiribeshi Expressway, here, accessed from Route 956 near Shioya Station (塩谷駅, location). The name of the peak is marked as ‘Maru-yama’ on maps, but there are countless peaks in Japan called Maru-yama, so ‘Shioya’ – the name of the surrounding area – is added to the front of the name to distinguish it from other Maru-yamas.

General notes

Shioya Maru-yama is an easy hike, great for beginners seeking a hike with good views, a relatively committing uphill climb, and easy access to the coast for a swim afterwards. This peak is also a great introductory backcountry ski touring location, with a slightly different winter route up the mountain. See that route overview here.

Route Timing
Up | 2hrs
Down | 1.5hrs

Hikers can either start from the large carpark next to the expressway underpass here, or take the JR train and start walking from the Shioya Station. It’s about an 850m (10 minute) walk from the station to the expressway underpass. Note that if the expressway underpass parking area is full, hikers will need to park down at the train station. If starting from the train station, walk from the station down to the main road (Route 956), and walk west (left) along the road to the first minor road on the left. Walk uphill on this minor road to a level crossing. Cross the level crossing, and walk up the local residential road, taking the first right at a fork in the road. At the t-intersection, head right. At the next t-intersection, head left, and walk the rest of the way uphill to the expressway underpass.

From the expressway underpass, walk under the expressway and head right along the gravel road to the official trailhead. Once on the official trail, it’s just a matter of following the well-trodden trail up to the summit. There’s no junctions along the way. The first 3/4 of the hike is in pleasant forest, before the vistas open up at around 450m in altitude. You’ll now be surrounded by tall sasa bamboo grass. There’s an easy, rocky scramble up boulders to a small plateau just under the summit. From there, you’ll see the final destination – the prominent, rocky summit. Make the final push, and you’ll be on the top of the world. Return the way you came.


Public transport:

The route is accessible from the JR Shoiya station here. See Google Maps for train schedule. From the station to the expressway underpass trailhead parking area (here) it’s a 10 minute (850m) walk.

By car: 

There is a large carpark at an expressway underpass (here), about 350m from the official trailhead. On weekends, we recommend getting to this car park early – this is a popular route, and the carpark can fill up. When the car park is full, hikers will need to park down at the train station car park, here.



Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Otaruseibu (小樽西部) – map no. NK-54-20-1-2

NOTE: The GSI 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen each from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

route safety

While this is a relatively straight forward and easy route, hikers should carry the normal backcountry hiking gear: waterproof rain jacket, extra insulation layer, plenty of water, food, sun protection in summer etc. Make sure to put your details in the trailhead logbook before setting off from the official trailhead. Like the rest of Hokkaido, this is bear country, so appropriate precautions should be taken.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Shioya-maruyama

Onsen nearby

If you’re traveling by car, then our recommended post-hike onsen would be any of the onsen in Asari Village (here). This is a slight detour off the main road to Sapporo. Hotel Musashitei’s (here) onsen is nice (600yen per person), as is the onsen at the large Classe Hotel (here) (800yen per person).

Extra Resources

See The Hokkaido Hiking Log‘s route description for Shioya Maru-yama here.

Guide Options

If you’d like to hike this route and/or explore other areas of central Hokkaido with a local certified guide, then contact Jun Ishiguro. He’s a JMGA (Japan Mountain Guides Association) mountain guide on the board of directors of the Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA). As a senior figure in the Hokkaido guiding scene, and with extensive experience, he can tailor trips to your needs. See a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

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Route Trip Notes

For most hiking enthusiasts in Sapporo City (in Hokkaido, Japan), a popular summer hiking route is the one that goes up Mt. Shioya-Maruyama. This easy route is less than two hours drive from Sapporo City, and is officially within the Otaru City limits.

For this trip, we had two cars for the group. One rented and one from one of the group. If you’ve not got a car, the official start of the hike is a 15 minute walk from the Shioya-Maruyama JR train station.

The trail starts along enclosed bush along a well-traveled trail. After less than 90 minutes, the trail opens up to views over the northern coast of the Shakotan Peninsula. On this particular day some low cloud obstructed the best of the views. The top of this low mountain is characterized by bare boulder outcrops. Perfect for a sun-soaked lunch at the top.

On this trip we spent a leisurely 45 minutes on the top before making our way down again.

The day was finished off with a pancake party at Stephanie’s place. A shoebox of an apartment in the Hokkaido University international scholars’ accommodation. We tried to make the most of the space.

A hike up Mt. Shioya Maruyama near Sapporo, Japan

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Shioya Maru-yama Hike Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.