Niseikaushuppe-yama Dayhike

ニセイカウシュッペ山 | Niseykauspe

Posted on Sep 27, 2019
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Posted on Sep 27, 2019

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Reading time: 2 min

11km

Distance

5hrs

Time

711m

Ascent

1879m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
Jun-Oct

Best season

Driving east along Route 39 to Sounkyo, the imposing mass of the Daisetsuzan massif rears up on your right, but my eye is always drawn left to the pointed peak of Niseikaushuppe-yama ニセイカウシュッペ山 on the other side of the dramatic gorge. Only a couple of hundred meters lower at 1879m, it is the highest point in the Kita-Daisetsu range. Often overlooked in favour of the broad volcanic landscapes of their more famous neighbours, these hills are much quieter and have a completely different character with forested slopes and alpine ridges, some narrow and rocky. Niseikaushuppe-yama is the queen of the range with broad views over to Daisetsuzan, and its west ridge makes a fine day walk.

We visited this route on Oct 07, 2017

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Niseikaushuppe-yama is the highest peak in the Kita-Daisetsu range of mountains in central Hokkaido, north of Sounkyo 層雲峡. This hike starts and finishes at a trailhead about 1140m elevation, 13km up a gravel forest road (with a locked gate) off Route 273 just past Kamikawa 上川.

General notes

The splendid Ainu name Niseykauspe means mountain above the sheer cliffs, as befits its position above the Sounkyo gorge. The summer hiking season is from mid-June into October. The road to the trailhead is accessed by a locked gate 2.5 km up the forest road from the turn off Route 273. The combination to the lock can be obtained from the Kamikawa Forestry Office 上川林業事務所 01658-2-2001 (though you cannot assume English will be spoken). (EDITOR’S NOTE: Recent Yamareko reports as of Sept 2019 suggest lock has been removed). The nearest facilities are in the small town of Kamikawa 上川町.

Route Timing
Up | 2.45hrs
Down | 2.15hrs
Route

From the trailhead at 1137m the route follows the west ridge out and back. It is well defined, first through forest, then low scrub birch, sasa dwarf bamboo and haimatsu dwarf pines nearer the top. There are no official trail junctions though traces of a now disused path branch off right just beyond the subsidiary peak of Oyari 大槍, and there is another faint track along the east ridge towards Himanayama, but the main trail is always obvious. The ridge rises steadily and narrows as you ascend, and the views become more dramatic, especially near the subsidiary peaks of Oyari 大槍 and Koyari 小槍 on the narrow ridge joining from the right at around 1800m. From here the path curves left around the head of the valley up to the main summit. Return by the same trail.

Transport

Public transport:

There is no public transport access.

By car: 

If coming from the west, take the signposted turning right off Route 273 a few km past Kamikawa (here). After passing under the expressway the forest road continues for 2km to another signed junction where you turn right (here). The locked gate is 500m beyond this. Continue another 10.5 km to the trailhead and a large parking area.

Hut(s)

None

Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Bankeiheki (万景壁) – map no. NK-54-7-2-1

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

The route traverses exposed alpine terrain 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. Like all high mountain terrain in Hokkaido it is bear country so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Niseikaushuppe-yama

Onsen nearby

There are no onsen near the trailhead. If heading west there is the rustic Kyowa Onsen 共和温泉 (location, 500yen per person) just north of the small town of Aibetsu 愛別町.

Extra Resources

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

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

This was our first trip into the Kita-Daisetsu mountains and Jeff and I were both eagerly anticipating getting away from the fleshpots and crowded trails on the other side of Sounkyo. We were not to be disappointed.

It had been a simple matter to call the forestry office for the combination to the gate, and a straightforward drive to the trailhead a few days later. Here and there the gravel road showed evidence of repairs after the previous year’s typhoons. It was the first week of October and at the trailhead there was an inch or so of fresh snow, the first of the season. I didn’t have any gaiters so resigned myself to wet feet.

The ridge climbed steadily up, never very steep, and soon the views opened out. The whole of northern Daisetsuzan, topped with early season snow, was spread out across the deep gorge of Sounkyo to our right; on our left a small river valley led our gaze up to the imposing summit of Nisekaushuppe above. The leaves had gone up here but down below we could see the spectacular autumn colours. As the main ridge narrowed the views got better, with the sharp peaks of Oyari and Koyari – Big Spear and Little Spear – dominating a narrow ridge of pinnacles marching in from the right.

After negotiating a few narrow sections of trail, slippery in the new snow, we traversed around the head of the small valley on our left and through deeper snow up to the summit. At this point the weather decided to close in and a cold wind whipped up, so after a few minutes we headed back down. Having denied us a view from the top the mountain gods then brought back the sunshine. We didn’t mind too much as we enjoyed the delicate tracing of the bare birch forest on the hillside opposite. Back at the car I removed my sodden boots and dried out my feet, then it was back down the road for a soak in Kyowa Onsen near Aibetsu.

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Niseikaushuppe-yama Dayhike Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

B

35

Time ascending

C

3

Technicality

Altitude

A

10

Hazards

D

Navigation

D

Totals

48/100

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.