Monbetsu-dake Snowshoeing


Posted on Feb 8, 2019
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Posted on Feb 8, 2019

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Reading time: 3 min


5 hours





Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

Best season

Monbetsu-dake (紋別岳, 865m) is a very beginner-friendly hill on the Lake Shikotsu caldera rim. It is a particularly fun hill on snowshoes. The route follows a road most of the way up, so navigation is a breeze. From the summit, there are expansive views across Lake Shikotsu. In the winter, the antennas and radio towers are a welcome presence at the summit - on a windy day the lee of the buildings will provide some shelter from the wind.

We visited this route on Feb 18, 2017

Last updated Mar 23, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details


Monbetsu-dake (紋別岳, 865m) is a peak on the Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖) caldera rim, about 30km south of central Sapporo City. The trailhead location (in both summer and winter) is here, just north of the Shikotsu Village center.

General notes

Like many of the peaks on the Lake Shikotsu caldera rim, Monbetsu-dake has a nice final approach on a ridge that directly faces the lake. The whole way up you’ll have great views of the lake below. As mentioned above, the route follows the road on the way up and down. While the route marked in this guide leaves the road just before the summit, it is possible to just stay on the road the whole way. It will wrap around the back of the summit and arrive at the top from the north. If confident of your navigation abilities, however, it is worth cutting off the road just below the summit, and climbing  up the steep ridge. This provides the best views of Lake Shikotsu.

Monbetsu-dake on skis: Monbetsu-dake would also be possible on skis, but there are not many open areas to get a good run. If you’re happy with relatively dense trees (or skiing on the road), then being on skis would cut the downhill time.




This snowshoe route is not marked. The road is relatively well defined, even in winter, but there may be times that you may need to take your bearings to make sure you’re on the right track.

Route Timing
Up | 2.5hrs
Down | 2hrs

The road is not particularly steep the whole way up and down, so it is best to allow plenty of time for the downhill  – there won’t be much sliding involved.


Public transport:

This route is accessible by public bus from Chitose JR Station. See bus information here. You would take the bus to Shikotsu Village, and then walk the 450m from the bus stop to the trailhead (route here).

By car: 

There is parking for about 10 cars at the trailhead here.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Shikotsuko-onsen (支笏湖温泉) – map no. NK-54-14-12-1

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

Notify the police of your backcountry plans online using Compass – instructions here.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Monbetsu-dake

Onsen nearby

The very upmarket Lake Shikotsu Mizu-no-Uta (水の歌) is right next to the bus stop (here), and costs 1,080yen per person.

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

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Route Trip Notes

An easy dayhike in winter. That was the idea for today, so Mt. Monbetsu was an easy choice. We arrived at the trailhead at 10:30am, and got ready to head off. We were all ready to put our snowshoes on when we noticed that the trail was so well packed that we ended up walking without snowshoes for the first hour of the trip.

We had a couple of false starts at getting up onto the ridge directly below the summit. We eventually found the right place though, and started climbing up direct to the summit. This is where the views really opened up. Snow showers came and went across the lake, giving us glimpses here and there of the hills.

After a quick lunch in the lee of one of the buildings at the summit, we started out descent back down the way we came.

We were down in time to drive back to Sapporo via Chitose City. We stopped in at the Bird Watching Cafe for an afternoon snack.

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on, 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., 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

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