Hangetsu Lake Circuit in Winter

Posted on Dec 26, 2016
19 0

Posted on Dec 26, 2016
19 0
Reading time: 1 min
2.5km

Distance

1 hours

Time

50m

Ascent

370m

Highest point

1/10

Difficulty

The circuit track around Hangetsu Lake in winter, at the foot of Mt. Yotei, is a good spot to get away from the mad bustle of Niseko Hirafu. It is a popular place for snowhoers. We didn't have snowhoes with us when we visited, so we had a blat around it on our touring skis. It is hardly the place for alpine skis, but with an abundance of bird-life at the trailhead, good views, and just enough elevation gain to make the second half fun, this is a great spot for honing the kick-and-glide skills.

Last updated Oct 29, 2018

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Hangetsu Lake is a crescent-moon shaped lake at the foot of Mt. Yotei near Niseko. The trailhead is here.

General notes

We’re on skis in this route guide. But really, this is a route just begging to be walked on snowshoes. In fact, the route is so popular, that most of the time you’d be quite alright in snow boots. The trail spends most of the winter packed down hard by a steady stream of nature-lovers wanting to get out of the bustle of Niseko.

Hut

None

Route markers

This route is not marked.

Route Timing

Around one hour at a very leisurely stop-and-look-at-the-birds pace.

Transport

Public transport:

Access by local bus is possible either on the Niseko Bus (Otaru-line from Niseko JR Station – ニセコバス小樽線) or on the Do-Nan Bus (Kutchan-Toya Line from Kutchan JR Station – 道南バス倶知安~洞爺湖温泉線) – you’ll want to get off at the Yotei-tozan-guchi bus stop (羊蹄登山口). From there it would be a 20 minute walk to the carpark next to the lake.

By car: 

Ample parking at the carpark here.

Physical maps

Official Topo Map: Niseko Annupuri (ニセコアンヌプリ) – map no. NK-54-20-7-2

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).

Snow and route safety

Nothing particular of note. If you plan to veer off the main lake circuit route, it would be wise to notify the police of your backcountry plans online using Compass – instructions here.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Hangetsu Lake

Onsen nearby

The closest onsen are all in Niseko. Try the Niseko Station Onsen for good down-to-earth local onsen goodness (here).

Extra Resources
No extra English resources that we know of. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments.

Photo Gallery

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Route Trip Notes

The Hangetsu Lake circuit track is a popular spot for snowshoe tours. For the throngs of Niseko visitors who have never seen snow before, it is the perfect spot to experience Hokkaido’s winter nature. It is also a fun circuit to do on skis, in order to kill some time when Mt. Yotei may not be suitable for climbing, or the weather is otherwise inclement at higher altitudes.

The track itself will likely be hard-packed, having had at least a few snow shoe tours across it per day. Best to forge your own route through the trees. You’d have to try very hard to get lost.

The track climbs slightly towards the northeast of the lake, before heading down again towards the carpark. Be ready to jump out of the snowshoe track as you’re racing down the roller-coaster.

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on hokkaidowilds.org, should you choose to follow the information on this page, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road/track closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow leave-no-trace procedures. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this information, associated GPS track (GPX, KML and maps), and all information was prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. hokkaidowilds.org, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following the information contained in this post.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route up Mt. Hangetsu Lake? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

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