Posted on Jun 11, 2020
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Posted on Jun 11, 2020

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Reading time: 2 min

11km

Distance

5hrs

Time

870m

Ascent

1293m

Highest point

4/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
May-Oct

Best season

Sapporo-dake (札幌岳, 1,293m) is a peak in the Jozankei area (定山渓) southwest of the Sapporo City center. The peak gets its name from a river once called 'Sapporo River' (now the Toyohira River), which has its source below the peak. The name has roots in the Ainu language, meaning 'the large dried up river'. Along the main route is the rustic, well-maintained Hiyamizu Hut (冷水小屋). The route can be muddy on the upper reaches, but for the well-prepared hiker, this is a beautiful, iconic hiking route within the Sapporo City limits.

We visited this route on Oct 07, 2017

Last updated Aug 25, 2021

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Sapporo-dake is situated about 20km southwest from Sapporo City center. The trailhead (here) is a few kilometers up the road from Hoheikyo Onsen, going towards Hoheikyo Dam.

General notes

There are three approaches to Sapporo-dake on foot. The most popular is the route from the Hoheikyo trailhead, going via the Hiyamizu hut (hut details here). There’s also a less-used traverse trail from Toyotaki settlement on the mountain’s northern side (see the route details here). There’s a longer traverse route still, via Soranuma-dake (Soranuma-dake details here). However this latter traverse route is no longer maintained, and should only be attempted by the most experienced and fit hikers. From the Sapporo-dake summit, there are views across Sapporo City, Yotei-zan, Muine-yama, and Jozankei-tengu.

Sapporo-dake can also be enjoyed on skis (or snowshoes) in the winter. The winter route is the same till the hut, but from the hut the winter route goes via the Hiyamizu Gully behind the hut. Full details on the Sapporo-dake winter route here.

Route Timing
Up | 3.5hrs
Down | 1.5hrs
Route

This route is only sporadically marked, but the trail is well-defined. From the official trailhead, hikers will first pass through a stand of plantation conifers, with long, straight trunks. Soon after, the route has you weaving your way along a tight gully with high valley walls, up to the hut. From the hut, there’s a steep clamber up a short spur. From the top of the spur, it’s a gradual climb along a wide trail. This upper section can be very muddy at times. From the summit, return the way you came.

Transport

Public transport:

Getting to the trailhead is fairly straight forward by public transport, so long as you don’t mind the 3.5km walk to the trailhead. Take the Nanboku Subway Line all the way to the final station, Makomanai Subway Station. From there, catch a bus to Hoheikyo Onsen (hot springs). If you time it right, you can catch a free bus all the way to Hoheikyo Onsen. The free bus leaves Makomanai Subway Station at 10am each day, and takes 45 minutes (https://www.hoheikyo.co.jp/en/access/index_e.html). The bus leaves about 100m down the road from Makomanai station (42.990827,141.356258).

By car: 

There is ample parking along the side of the road near the Sapporo-dake trailhead (here).

Hut(s)

Mt. Sapporo Hiyamizu Hut (full details here)

Hiyamizu Hut is a two story, 81.89㎡ hut that sleeps 30 people. It was originally built in 1933, but burned to the ground in 1950. A replacement hut, which stands today, was built in 1952 (details in Japanese here). The hut is owned and managed by Hokkai Gakuen University (TEL: 011-841-1161), and is available for use from the 1st of Jan till 31st of October on the first and third weekends of the month.

Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Sapporo-dake (札幌岳) – map no. NK-54-14-15-2
GSI Topo Map 2: 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

Sapporo-dake is a solid day out in the mountains, so hikers should be well prepared for a range of weather conditions. It can be much colder higher up than at the trailhead. Make sure to carry plenty of water and snacks. This is bear country, so the usual precautions should be taken. As noted above, the traverse route from Soranuma-dake to Sapporo-dake is no longer maintained.

  • See our tips for keeping safe while hiking in Hokkaido here.
  • Notify the police of your backcountry plans online using Compass – instructions here.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Sapporo-dake

Onsen nearby

Hoheikyo Onsen (1,000yen per person), one of the best in Hokkaido with a massive outdoor bathing area, is only 2.5km away (here). They also have a good food court with Indian curry and soba.

Extra Resources
  • Alternative, more challenging traverse route, here on Hokkaido Wilds.
  • Mountains of Hokkaido’s detailed writeup here: Sapporo-dake
  • Hokkaido Hiking Log’s Sapporo-dake report here.
  • Sapporo-dake winter route on the Hokkaido Wilds here.
  • A shorter trip on snowshoes in winter in the area here.

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

As is so often the case, Sapporo-dake was a peak I’d been to the summit of in winter on skis, but I’d not been in the non-snow season. So five of us set off from the trailhead rather late in the morning one Saturday. The first stand of dead-straight conifers was reminiscent of when I skied through them in winter.

Mt. Sapporo and Hiyamizu Hut ski touring in Hokkaido, JapanMt. Sapporo Hiking trail (Hokkaido, Japan)

It was already autumn for this current trip. The autumn colors were a nice accent to the babbling brook on the valley floor. 

Before long, we arrived at the hut. It just so happened there was a Hokkai Gakuen University hutkeeper there – Hokkai Gakuen University owns and manages the hut. Usually, it’s not possible to stay in the hut during the non-snow months, so it was nice to see it open. We had a look around.

By the time we got to the hut, it was getting on in the day. Four of us hurried on to the summit, while one of the team started their unhurried descent back to the trailhead. There wasn’t much to see at the summit anyway, with low cloud and a strong gale blowing. We made a hasty retreat, and got back to the car just after our more wise companion had arrived back at the trailhead.

Comments | Queries | Reports

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Sapporo-dake Dayhike Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

B

35

Time ascending

C

3

Technicality

Altitude

B

6

Hazards

D

0

Navigation

D

0

Totals

44/100

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.