What better way to celebrate a birthday than to hike a short 2.5 hours to a mountain hut and stay overnight. The perfect place for that in the Sapporo area has to be Ginreiso mountain hut at the foot of Mt. Haruka. Even in spring, with no snow around, this is a beautiful easy hike.
My birthday was on the Sunday, so I invited a few friends to hike up to the Ginreiso Hut at the foot of Mt. Haruka, just outside of Sapporo, here in Hokkaido, Japan. The plan was to schlep up fresh veges and some meat, some drinks and dessert, and make a bit of a birthday party of it all. We’d then hike down the next day.
We started off at the start of the summer hiking trail (location) in beautiful weather, that would persist the entire time we were on the trail.
Not long after starting, we came across the most challenging part of the trail…a short washed-out part of the trail. Haidee and I had already started lowering ourselves down by the rope before the others found a new trail a little ways back along the track.
While under the shelter of the trees, the trail was cool and refreshing.
Although at times, the trail runs along an exposed forestry road, which can be hot in direct sunlight. Luckily this only continues for a very short distance.
On this trip, we opted to head straight to the summit of Mt. Haruka, just behind the hut. The summit is shrouded in trees, but there is one aspect that allows good views over the Ishikari Bay area, and northern Sapporo.
Ginreiso Hut itself is a three-story log house. There is enough room to sleep 30 people, although I imagine that would be a squeeze in the second-story cooking/kitchen area.
Rick had opted to bike up, coming from the opposite side of the valley, via Jozankei. He was following the Fuchs Loop, a circular cycle route that takes forestry roads on the way up, and takes the hiking trail on the way down (see the bikepacking route here).
Once down from the summit, we got into dinner mode. On the menu was shabushabu, a Japanese hot-pot style communal dinner. The heavy, fresh ingredients were worth their weight!
We retired to bed at around 9:30pm, and most of us slept fairly well in the 3rd story sleeping quarters.
We were up at around 5:30am to 6:00am, and settled down to a slow breakfast of coffee, porridge, cake, and more coffee. We finally got out of the hut around 9am for the meander back down to the car.