While the rest of the crew opted to get to the trailhead from Sapporo by car, Max and I decided to make a bike-and-hike trip out of it. We cycled the 20km one-way journey through the bustling city center from Hokkaido University, and sighed a breath of relief once we were on the quieter side roads heading towards Jozankei.
It was early May, and once we were all on the trail, there was still snow in places along the way. As we climbed, the weather started to pack in, with dark clouds rolling in. This didn’t seem to faze Max, opting today to hike in his kilt.
“Naturally, I’m doing it the traditional way,” he quipped. “So it’s a bit breezy and chilly down there,” he laughed.
By the time we were approaching the summit, a light rain had started to fall. Another reminder to us that it’s always a good idea to carry the rainwear, even if only for an ‘easy’ hike like Hakken-zan.
The rain had dashed our hopes for a leisurely stop at the summit, so we soon all started on the descent down the track towards the Western Trailhead. The trial was still covered in snow in places, encouraging us all to make the most of the lack of traction.
On the walk back along the main road through the orchards, we stopped in to the Hakken Winery for some wine tastings. We felt conspicuously bedraggled in the more up-market surroundings of the winery. But we were the only ones there.
All up a nice afternoon out, despite the weather.