Jozankei Asahi-dake Hike


Posted on Oct 26, 2020

Posted on Oct 26, 2020

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Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

Best season





At a mere 598m, this Asahi-dake (朝日岳) is not in the same league as its more famous namesake in central Hokkaido (though it's impossible to confuse the two in Japanese as the characters are different). Nevertheless, if visiting the spa town of Jozankei in Sapporo City, the short hike to the summit combined with a return along the scenic riverbank trail is a great way to stretch the legs for a few hours, especially in autumn when the colours are at their peak.

We visited this route on Oct 27, 2012


Route Map

Need to know details


Asahi-dake stands right behind the popular spa town of Jozankei (定山渓温泉), on Route 230 west of Sapporo. The trail starts behind a small shrine at the southwest end of the village, here.

General notes

This hike starts and ends within Jozankei town so there are plenty of facilities and accommodation. The hiking season is from late May into November. It is lovely in autumn when the colours are at their peak but the area is very popular with locals at that time so it can be busy at weekends with traffic congestion on Route 230.


Route Timing
Up | 1hrs
Down | 2hrs

The route is well signed and clearly defined. The trail begins behind the shrine at the top of the village (over the Toyohira River on its west bank) by a small park  (岩戸公園). Go up the steps to the trailhead, and into the forest where the path winds up through the trees to eventually merge with another trail coming in from the left. Turn right and on to the top in a few minutes, about an hour from the start in total. There is a large summit sign but the views are only partial given the forest cover. Return to the trail junction and this time take the other path down the mountain to where it joins a gravel road in about half an hour. Continue on down and cross the Toyohira River. On the other side of the river turn left along the riverbank trail that takes you back into Jozankei in less than a hour.


Public transport:

Regular buses run from Sapporo Station and Makomanai Station to Jozankei Onsen. Get off at the stop by the Dai-ichi Hotel (第一ホテル前, daiichi-hoteru-maelocation) and just walk a bit further up the road to the trailhead park (Iwato Park, 岩戸公園).

By car: 

Jozankei Onsen is about an hour from central Sapporo along Route 230. The roads may be busy and parking in the village difficult during peak period weekends. There’s a large car park across the road from Daichi Hotel, here.



Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Jozankei (定山渓) – map no. NK-54-14-15-1

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

route safety

This is only a relatively gentle stroll but it’s always worth having rain gear, food and water with you. Even around here there are bears so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Jozankei Asahi-dake

Onsen nearby

This is Jozankei – there are onsen everywhere from upmarket resort hotels to the roadside Ashi-no-yu 足の湯 where you can soak your feet for free.

Extra Resources

In Japanese: Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, 北海道夏山ガイド 1 道央の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha, 2010) pp.20-23. These guides are updated every few years.

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 on the board of directors 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. See a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

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Route Trip Notes

It’s now some time since I did this, back in the days when Leon Roode was still in Sapporo organising wonderful outings with his Hokkaido International Outdoor Club. As ever on those trips it was a fun day out in good company, and we enjoyed the fine autumn colours on the hillside and down in the gorge of the Toyohira River. We rounded off the day this time with a leisurely visit to the baths in one of the more upmarket resort hotels.

Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this Jozankei Asahi-dake route? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Jozankei Asahi-dake Hike”

  1. Great description. Really solid info. Thanks. Time estimates were helpful, as was info about coming down the other way. The only thing I’d stress is that for beginners or especially elderly, it’s probably not doable. Thin track in many places, right on the edge of the mountain, and you need to climb over (and sometimes under) many many fallen trees, and in places it’s really steep. It’d be dangerous for some, but I enjoyed it in the very early morning, returning to my hotel for onsen and buffet breakfast!

    1. Thanks very much for your feedback Andy, it’s really useful for us to get up to date reports on trail conditions. Sounds like that buffet tasted good! At the start of the season there are often trees down due to the heavy snowfall and generally the local trail volunteers clear them away, but as I haven’t been there for quite a while I don’t know if it was due to that or storm damage in recent years.

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Jozankei Asahi-dake Hike Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.