Muine-yama Dayhike (Motoyama Route)

無意根山 | Muy-ne-sir

Posted on Apr 9, 2019
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Posted on Apr 9, 2019

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Reading time: 3 min


6 hours





Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

Best season

The bulky whaleback mountain of Muineyama (無意根山, 1464m) is the second highest mountain in the Sapporo area and holds snow well into early summer, making it a striking sight from various places on the outskirts of the city. There are two summer routes. Here we describe the northern Motoyama Route (元山コース) starting from the abandoned mine at Toyoha (豊羽鉱山) above the Jozankei Onsen area. After climbing up the forest to the ridge the trail makes a long traverse through sasa dwarf bamboo to the stunted forests of the long summit ridge. On a clear day the views from the top in all directions are stunning.

We visited this route on Oct 04, 2018

Last updated Apr 27, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details


Muine-yama is located about 30km southwest of Sapporo. The Motoyama Route starts from the abandoned mine at Toyoha at the end of the local road running west from Jozankei, here.

General notes

This route can feel like quite a long day out at times, especially on the central section along the broad plateau-like ridge that can be hard going if the rough trail through the over head-high bamboo is muddy and slippery underfoot without even a view to compensate. Snow lingers well into June on this mountain and the trail may be hidden in places early in the season. There is no hut on this route, but the Hokkaido University Muine Hutte (無意根ヒュッテ) is down the Usubetsu Route (薄別コース) east of the main ridge.




The route is well defined throughout. From the trailhead at 600m it climbs steadily up to the main ridge at Senjakukochi (千尺高地), then makes a long traverse through sasa bamboo to the only trail junction where the Usubetsu route joins from the left before the final climb up to the summit ridge. There are two summits and a number of markers and cairns on the main ridge. The real high point (1464m) is hidden in stunted mountain birch trees and has no views, so continue on to the main summit marker post (1460m) a few minutes further. A little further again from here, as the ridge starts to descend slightly, is another large cairn and an open viewpoint over to Yotei-zan and the Niseko hills.

Route Timing
Up | 3.5hrs
Down | 2.5hrs

Bank on around 3hrs 20min from carpark to the 1460m summit, and another 2hrs 40mins back down.


Public transport:

There is no access to the trailhead by public transport.

By car: 

Road access is from Jozankei via Prefectural Route 95 west of Jozankei. The road ends at the old mine at Toyoha. The trailhead is a short distance up a side road branching off left near the end of the road. There is plenty of space for parking.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Muine-yama (無意根山) – map no. NK-54-14-15-3

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

This is a high and wild mountain and can be a dangerous place in bad weather with real risks of hypothermia for poorly equipped hikers. Conditions can change quickly, it is very exposed to the wind and the upper slopes can be much colder than down at the trailhead. Carry appropriate gear. In spring when snow is still plentiful be careful around the large cornices on the east side of the ridge. Like all high mountain areas in Hokkaido this is bear country.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Muine-yama

Onsen nearby

Hoheikyo Onsen (豊平峡温泉, location) with its massive outdoor pools is always high on the list of recommended onsen in the area (1,000yen per person). But if you’re traveling on public transport to Jozankei, then Yu-no-hana onsen (湯の花, location, 800yen) is a good choice – they have a free shuttle bus back to Sapporo, and their outdoor pools overlook the river below. If you are traveling by car back to Sapporo, the cheap and cheerful Matsu-no-yu (松の湯, location, 650yen) has pokey outdoor baths that overlook the river too.

Extra Resources

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

The first time I did the Motoyama Route was one early spring, at the tail end of April as the Golden Week holidays started. The summer trail was still under a meter or more of snow, but it was firm enough to walk on without needing snowshoes and relatively easy going. Enough people had been up to leave clear tracks to mark the way, though as the weather was perfect it was simple enough to follow the ridge up while enjoying the amazing views. Only at the top did we begin to occasionally break through the snow where it loosely covered the creeping pine bushes.

At the summit another climber was listening to his radio (it’s quite common for hikers to play radios to keep bears away). By chance, I just caught a brief news item about a Spanish solo hiker who had been rescued by helicopter from the central Daisetsuzan mountains after getting lost attempting a traverse. My ears pricked up since the very same guy had contacted me a few weeks before asking for information. Not knowing his skills and experience (and not having done it myself in winter) I had just mentioned that it was still proper winter up there at this time of year and potentially a serious undertaking, but I never heard back. It turned out that he had got lost but was able to inform his family, who then contacted the Spanish Embassy who in turn alerted mountain rescue. I just hope they didn’t present him with a large bill ……

My next trip up the Motoyama Route was in late autumn. This time it was harder going thanks to some early snow that had since melted but turned the trail into a muddy and slippery ordeal over the tangled roots of the sasa bamboo up on the broad ridge. As the sasa grows above head height on both sides of the trail, we didn’t even have any views to uplift the spirits so we slogged on up to the summit ridge. Here, though, perfect weather treated us again to the panorama of peaks near and far. After negotiating the sasa trail once again on the descent we enjoyed some late autumn colours as we dropped back down to the trailhead.

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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