Posted on Mar 26, 2019
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Posted on Mar 26, 2019

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Reading time: 7 min
12km

Distance

7 hours

Time

820m

Ascent

1911m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
Jul-Sep

Best season

Furano-dake (富良野岳, 1,911m) is one of the more well-known peaks in the Daisetsu Range. Situated at the western end of this massive plateau-like range of mountains, on a good day it will afford expansive views across the Furano plains to the north, and even westward towards Yubari-dake and the Mashike Ranges. In this route guide, we summit Furano-dake and then traverse across the ridge east towards Kamifurano-dake (上富良野岳, 1,893m) via Sanpo-zan (三峰山, 1,866m). If you're a peak-bagger, this route is good bang for your buck. There's nothing technical on the way up, but the track is rocky.

Attribution: Thanks to Saoka for the original planning for this trip.

Last updated Apr 9, 2019

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Furano-dake is located at the western end of the Daisetsu mountain range in central Hokkaido. This hike starts at the very end of the Tokachi Onsen access road, on the northern side of Mt. Furano’s flanks. The trailhead is on the northern side of the large carpark next to Ryounkaku Onsen, here.

General notes

Furano-dake is somewhat of a mainstay for hikers in Hokkaido. For its lofty altitude (1,911m), it is relatively accessible. Furano City takes its name from the mountain, but is a solid 40 minute drive away by car. The car park and trailhead are already located at 1,190m. This particular route maximizes time spent at altitude on on the vast Daisetsu range plateau, so rather than going up and back the same way, it takes a circuitous route back to the trailhead via Sanpo-zan (三峰山) and Kamifurano-dake (上富良野岳).

Hut

None

Route markers

The route is well defined, but there are a couple of junctions that require a certain level of Japanese reading ability to decipher which way to go. On the way up you’ll want to be heading towards signs and paint markings that say 富良野岳 or フラノ岳 (in the second, the ‘Furano’ is spelled using katakana – easier to spray-paint on rocks, I suppose). These denote ‘Furano-dake’. This route returns to the trailhead via Sanp0-zan and Kamifurano-dake, so you’ll want to follow signs that say 三峰山 and 上富良野岳 (or 上フラノ岳), respectively. More specifically, on this loop-route, there is a junction at around 1,500m where climbers will need to veer right towards Furano-dake. At the T-junction on the main ridge at around 1,730m, take a right also towards the Furano-dake summit. On the return, hikers will follow the trail along the broad ridge from Furano-dake to Sanpo-zan, then on towards Kamifurano-dake. At the Kamifurano-dake junction, the trail descends to the left, down past the first junction, and on back to the carpark.

Route Timing
Up | 3hrs
Down | 4hrs

About 3-4 hours to the summit of Mt. Furano, and then another 3-4 hours back to the trailhead via Sanpo-zan and Kamifurano-dake.

Transport

Public transport:

From JR Kami-Furano Train Station, there is a bus, run by the Kami-Furano Town Bus company, that runs to the Tokachi-Onsen spa area. You’ll want to catch the tokachidake-onsen-yuki (十勝岳温泉行き) bus from Kami-furano JR train station (駅前, here) and get off at the Tokachi-dake onsen Ryounkaku (十勝岳温泉凌雲閣) bus stop (here). See the route here: https://bus-routes.net/?lid=30092&sid=301236. As of October 2019, there were three buses per day there (08:52, 12;49, 16:31) and three returning (9:47, 13:37, 17:27). See up to date information here: http://www.town.kamifurano.hokkaido.jp/index.php?id=1522. The fare is around 500yen one way, and it takes around 40 minutes.

By car: 

There is ample parking in the huge carpark at the trailhead, about 50m east of the Ryounkaku Onsen, here.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Tokachi-dake (十勝岳) – map no. NK-54-7-8-2

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

This route is one of the highest in Hokkaido, and if doing the full loop via Sanpo-zan and Kamifurano-dake, there will be considerable time spent exposed above the treeline. The wind can be ferocious up there, so make conservative decisions in bad weather conditions. Even in summer, people can and do die of hypothermia in the Daisetsu Range.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Furano-dake

Onsen nearby

The closest onsen to the trailhead is Ryounkaku, which has great views south towards Furano-dake from the open-air bath (location | 800yen per person). It’s just 100m from the carpark and bus stop. About 1.3km down the road is Kamihoroso Onsen, which has views across to the north, down to the Furano plains from the outdoor baths (location | 800yen per person).

Extra Resources
  • Mountains of Hokkaido: Kamihorokamettoku & Furano-dake. This isn’t the exact route outlined on this page, but some parts of the route apply.
  • Blog post with photos by Angelina Hue here.
  • Good video by Alan Gardner here. He had better weather than we did!

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 and Director 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. 

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

With a full three-day weekend on offer, and it being the height of the autumn leaves season, Saoka (one of the most prolific outdoors-people I know) had proposed a two-night excursion to Mt. Furano. The idea would be to head from Sapporo to the Shirogane Campground (白金キャンプ場 | location) below Mt. Tokachi, and set up camp there for two nights. On the second day we’d do an 8-hour hike connecting Mt. Furano, Mt. Sanpo, Mt. Kamifurano, and Mt. Kamihorometokku, with a stop in at the Kamihorometokku Hut.

So we left Sapporo City around 9:30am on the Saturday, hoping to make it a leisurely drive to Furano, stopping at cafes and sights along the way. First stop was the icecream shop next to Nanporo Onsen (location). I have a personal rule not to drive past there without trying a flavour I’ve not tried before. Next was the Sandan Falls on the back-blocks Route 452 (location). This is a regular stop for us, whether we’re on bikes or in a car. Then lunch was at the awesome Goryo Cafe (location). We’d vaguely thought that we’d have lunch somewhere near the Furano Jam Garden (location), but the drive up there ended up being plentiful in jam but not so fruitful for a solid lunch.

With all this tough travelling, we only just made it to the campground before nightfall. We’d stopped in at the supermarket in Furano City (location) so we’d lost some time there too. We hastily set up camp, ate dinner, and headed down to the local onsen for a soak (location). The citizens’ onsen was basic but cheap and cheerful.

The next day we woke to a misty low cloud. The campground itself is at around 650m in altitude, so we were well situated to be in the clouds. We were hopeful that they’d clear for some good hiking conditions. We gobbled some breakfast, downed coffee, and got on our way.

By the time we arrived at the Mt. Furano trailhead, there were about 20 cars in the large parking lot. Despite the misty weather, this was still obviously a popular spot. We signed the trailhead logbook, and started up the wide track.

I’d been up this way quite a few years prior, when we stayed at the Kamihorometokku Hut. I remember then too, the crossing of the Nukkakushi-Furano River (no more than a stream at this point) just below the Ansei Crater. The entire area is a barren but beautiful volcanic wasteland, with bright oranges and whites all around. Large yellow arrows, spray-painted onto the boulders lead the way.

Once across this beautiful rocky gully, the climb starts in earnest. This is no smooth, flat path. It is more of a continuous clearing along a rocky mountain face. In places the path evens out a little, but most of the way consists of plenty of stepping up and over rocks. There’s nothing technical.

Before long the trail topped out onto the main ridge to the summit, but not before passing through a final section of beautiful autumn colors. This ridge is one that stretches the entire length of the Daisetsu Range. If you have four or five days or more on your hands, then it is possible to hike the entire length of the range, camping and staying in huts along the way. We were hoping to stop in at one of those huts – the Kamihorometokku Hut – if we had time.

The cloud didn’t clear for us at all as we approached the summit of Mt. Furano. We were shrouded in an atmospheric, beautiful mist.

From the summit we walked back the way we came to the junction to Mt. Sanpo and Mt. Kamifurano. Just as we were descending the stairs to the junction, the clouds allowed us a fleeting glimpse at the Daisetsu Range ahead of us. We would get rained on multiple times along the ridge, but never for too long. We were never feeling cold – it seemed like the perfect temperature.

When we arrived at the Mt. Kamifurano junction, we had to make a decision. We could push on for another 30 minutes to the hut, or we could start our decent. We’d need to to return to Mt. Kamifurano in order to descend from the hut, so that would be a total of an extra 1 hour on the mountain. In the end it was less time that forced our hand but the wind. I’m not sure if it is this particular spot, but the last time I was up here it was howling a gale also. Perhaps the wind is funneled up the valley, but today it was really blowing. We decided to head down, as it was already getting relatively late.

For the post-hike onsen, we chose to drive 500m down the road from the trailhead to the Kamihoroso Onsen (location). I’d been to the Ryounkaku Onsen in winter (report here), so I knew about its amazing vews up towards Mt. Furano. Kamihoroso Onsen gave a different view – down to the Furano plains below.

The next day we woke to beautiful clear skies. If only we’d been hiking today. We took a wander around the expansive campground instead. A large Hokkaido black pine had been felled by a recent typhoon, and had landed squarely on top of a toilet block. Saoka entertained with some tunes on her ukelele.

After packing up camp, we had a leisurely sight-seeing trip back to Sapporo. We went via the ever so slightly touristic Shorogane Falls – definitely worth a visit (location). The waterfall flows out of the cliff face about 1/4 of the way down. Really quite gorgeous and worth it to face the hordes of tourists.

On Saoka’s suggestion, we also went home via the less well-known but still lovely Shorogane Fudo-no-taki (location) and the Shikisai-no-oka flower fields (location). Coffee and cake at the restaurant Niji (here), and lunch at a bog-standard but delicious Nepali curry restaurant in Kami-Furano (here). All off the beaten track and all worth the stop to stretch the legs on the way back into the big city.

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