Fuppushi-dake (and Tarumae-zan) Loop Hike

風不死岳 | Fupp-ushi

Posted on Jun 2, 2020
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Posted on Jun 2, 2020

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Reading time: 2 min
10km

Distance

6 hours

Time

674m

Ascent

1104m

Highest point

5/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
June-Oct

Best season

Fuppushi-dake (風不死岳, 1102m) and Tarumae-zan (樽前山, 1022m) dominate the southern shore of Lake Shikotsu and are joined by a high level ridge that enables a very worthwhile circuit hike. While no longer active like its near neighbour, the steep slopes and forested ridges of Fuppushi-dake are much quieter than the busy tourist trail up Tarumae, and its narrow summit seems to stand almost right above the lake. On the return, the transition from the forest to the dramatic open rim of the crater and its steaming lava dome provides a great finale to the day.

We visited this route on Oct 30, 2016

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Fuppushi-dake and Tarumae-zan stand on the southern shore of Lake Shikotsu 支笏湖 in the Shikotsu -Toya National Park 支笏洞爺国立公園, about 60km south of Sapporo. The hike starts just below the main Tarumae-zan trailhead car park at about 640m elevation, here.

General notes

Although the Japanese characters for the mountain appear rather grim (wind, negation and death!), in fact fupp-ushi means mountain with many todomatsu pines in the Ainu language (Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, 北海道夏山ガイド 1 道央の山々, Hokkaido Shimbunsha, p.160)

This is a circuit hike that starts at the trailhead for the popular hike up Tarumae-zan, here. The loop can naturally be done in either direction though anti-clockwise, as described here, gets the hardest climbing on Fuppushi-dake over with early in the day and gives great views over the lake on the descent from Tarumae-zan.

During summer there is a toilet at the trailhead but no other facilities. It is not possible to stay at the Tarumae-zan Hutte 樽前山ヒュッテ just before the car park. Shops and accommodation can be found at Shikotsu Lakeside 支笏湖畔 where there is also a Youth Hostel. There is a campsite and a Rider House hostel near the trailhead at Morappu モーラップ, here.

The summer hiking season is from late May into early November. The access road to the trailhead is closed in winter.

Hut

Tarumaezan 7-gome Hut (full details here)

The Tarumaezan Hut is unique in Hokkaido. It is located on the northern slopes of Tarumaezan in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, and there is a year-round hut keeper, but the hut is officially classed as an emergency hut so cannot be used for overnight stays (except in an emergency). The hut, kept warm with a giant coke stove, is a welcoming place to stop by for a quick visit on a day trip. Get the hut keeper talking about photography (his gorgeous photos adorn the hut walls), and you’ll get on like old friends.

Route

The trail is generally well defined. Take the signed path to Fuppushi-dake 風不死岳 from opposite the Tarumae-zan Hutte just below the car park at about 640m elevation (here) and head through low birch and rowan woods until it emerges into more open ground. The track stays mainly level as it traverses below the rim of Tarumae-zan with Fuppushi-dake dead ahead. After about 45 mins it begins to head up towards the col between the two hills. There are some other tracks branching off left hereabouts so keep to the main trail. After a signposted junction where the trail along the crater rim joins from the left, head up right through forest up a steepening path to a subsidiary summit at 963m in about 50 mins. One short section has a chain for aid. From here its about another hour to the summit along a narrow undulating ridge that emerges into sasa dwarf bamboo and stunted birches. From the summit marker reverse your steps back to the signed junction then keep right to Tarumae-zan 樽前山 to shortly emerge on to the open crater rim. After a short descent a steady climb around the crater brings you to the east summit 東山 of Tarumae-zan in about an hour or so. Continue over and down to the main tourist path that drops down left back to the car park in about 40 mins.

Route Timing
Up | 3hrs
Down | 3hrs

Transport

Public transport:

There is no public transport access.

By car: 

From Route 276 that runs along the southern shore of the lake, turn onto the narrow Prefectural Route 141 (closed in the winter months). After a few km when the paved road turns sharp left continue straight on up a gravel road for another 3km to the Tarumae-zan Hutte 樽前山ヒュッテ and a large car park (here) with a toilet block. Despite its size this car park can fill up very quickly on a summer weekend or public holiday.

Physical maps

Yama to Kogen Chizu 山と高原地図, No.2 Niseko Yoteizan ニセコ・羊蹄山. Published by Shobunsha 昭文社. 1:50000 hiking map in Japanese with marked routes and course times (the Sapporo region hills are at 1:85000).

Official Topo Map: Tarumae-zan (樽前山) – map no. NK-54-14-12-2
Official Topo Map 2: Fuppushi-dake (風不死岳) – map no. NK-54-14-12-4

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

route safety

While Fuppushi-dake is forested, the open slopes and crater rim of Tarumae-zan are very exposed to the wind. It can get very cold up here in the shoulder seasons. Take appropriate bad weather gear and extra layers. The path to Fuppushi-dake from the trailhead goes through flat and featureless open terrain and could be disorientating in bad visibility. Bears are well known to frequent Fuppushi-dake so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Fuppushi-dake

Onsen nearby

The closest onsen is at Shikotsu Lakeside 支笏湖畔, where Kyuka no Mura Shikotsuko (休暇の村支笏湖, location, 800yen) is open till 5pm. If heading back to Sapporo there is Marukoma Onsen (丸駒温泉, location, 1,000yen) further round to the north though ideally you should be there by 3pm to be sure of getting in as a day visitor.

Extra Resources

In Japanese: Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, 北海道夏山ガイド 1 道央の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha). These guides are updated every few years.

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

It was late October, and the snow was early that year. The road was still open but the car park was virtually deserted when Jeff and I turned up early in the morning. Luckily the snow was not deep enough to obliterate all trace of the trail so we followed it over the gently undulating terrain towards Fuppushi-dake. Once in the forest we climbed steeply up through tree branches brushed with fresh wet snow, refamiliarising our senses with the monochrome world of winter which we would go on to inhabit for the next five months.

The cloud was low and threatening, looming black on the horizon as we traversed the summit ridge. Away to the south, though, the Pacific Ocean gleamed a strange golden-orange against the gloom, the half light picking out distant industrial facilities along the shoreline. It was a moody and magical contrast. We returned down the trail, descending the slippery chimney carefully on the chain, and then picked our way along the crater rim to Tarumae-zan. It was cold now so we didn’t stay long before dropping back down the tourist track to the car, our bones anticipating the warmth of a steaming onsen and some equally steaming ramen.

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