Shari-dake Dayhike

斜里岳 | Onnenupuri

Posted on Apr 2, 2020

Posted on Apr 2, 2020

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Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

Best season





Shari-dake (斜里岳1547m), one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains 百名山, is an extinct volcano that rises out of the coastal plain of east Hokkaido about halfway between the hills of Akan and Shiretoko. Reaching the narrow summit ridge requires occasional mild scrambling and boulder hopping up a stream bed but on a clear day the effort is amply rewarded by commanding views over eastern Hokkaido, the caldera lakes of Mashu-ko and Kussharo-ko and the sea of Okhotsk.

We visited this route on Oct 14, 2019

Last updated Apr 6, 2020


Route Map

Need to know details


Shari-dake lies south of the small town of Shari 斜里町, about 40km east of Abashiri on the Okhotsk Sea coast, midway between the National Parks of Akan and Shiretoko in eastern Hokkaido. The closest town is Kiyosato 清里町, a few kms from Shari. This hiking trail up Shari-dake starts at the Seigakuso Hut, here, on the western side of the mountain.

General notes

The mountain is the source of the Shari River, most likely a corruption of the Ainu saru meaning wetlands where reeds grow. Along with other nearby hills the range was known in Ainu as Onnenupuri, parent mountains (Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 6, 北海道夏山ガイド 6道東・道北・増毛の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha, p.50).

The trail splits into two partway up, the Old Route 旧道 which follows the stream, and the New Route 新道 which climbs up to a ridge above before rejoining near the top of the stream. If conditions are good it is better to climb up the Old Route and descend via the New Route but if water levels are high if may be better to use the New Route both ways.

The summer hiking season is from mid-June into October.

Route Timing
Up | 3.5hrs
Down | 2.5hrs

The trail starts from the car park by the Seigakuso hut at about 680m elevation and is well defined, with signposts at junctions and pink tape marking the stream crossings. After a short distance it joins a forest road for a few hundred meters until you meet the stream. From here the route crosses and recrosses the stream multiple times – look out for the pink tape markers. In under an hour you should reach the first junction with the New Route 新道 at Shimofutamata 下二股. Continue straight on up the Old Route 旧道 with more stream crossings and some mild scrambling in places. After another hour you reach the second junction where the New Route rejoins at Kamifutamata 上二股. From here the stream is much smaller and you soon branch off up the hillside to an eroded shoulder on the ridge at Umanose 馬ノ背 in about half an hour. Turn left and climb the ridge past a small shrine to the summit in another 20-30 minutes. On the descent, retrace your steps to the Kamifutamata junction and then turn left to take the New Route down along a ridge until it drops down to rejoin the stream.


Public transport:

This route is not accessible by public transport. A taxi from the Kiyosato-cho JR train station (清里町駅, location) to the trailhead (15km) will likely cost around 4000yen one way. Call Kiyosato Hire (清里ハイヤー) to book a taxi –  TEL: 0152-25-2538.

By car: 

From Local Routes 857 or 1115 south of the small town of Kiyosato 清里町 look for signs to the trailhead turning off east. These take you along minor roads to the large car park at the trailhead, here, at a height of about 680m.


Seigakuso Hut (full details here)

Standing at the main Shari-dake hiking trailhead in eastern Hokkaido, Seigakuso is a large, bunker-like concrete building masquerading as a trailhead hut. It was built in 2004 after the old hut burned down. The hut has power, lighting, an immaculate interior, full kitchen, and bedding for rent. It’s only open from mid-June till early October. The views from the raised outdoor deck across to the Okhotsk Sea are incredible.

Physical maps

Yama to Kogen Chizu 山と高原地図, No.1 Rishiri, Rausu (Shari, Akan) 利尻・羅臼. Published by Shobunsha 昭文社. 1:50000 hiking maps in Japanese with marked routes and course times.

GSI Topo Map: Sharidake (斜里岳) – map no. NK-55-31-6-1

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 summit ridge is exposed to the wind and the appropriate bad weather gear should be taken. The multiple stream crossings and boulder hopping on the Old Route will be more difficult if water levels are high during or after heavy rain. The usual bear precautions should be taken.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Shari-dake

Onsen nearby

There is a basic indoor onsen down the hill in Kiyosato with sauna and relaxation room called Ryokuseiso (緑清荘, location, 450yen). Papas Land Onsen (パパスランド温泉, location, 390yen) a bit further southwest is also good – there’s an attached local produce store (michi-no-eki), restaurant, and the onsen here has a nice outdoor pool. There are many more onsen to the southwest in the nearby town of Kawayu 川湯, and along the shores of Lake Kussharo 屈斜路湖.

Extra Resources

In Japanese: Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 6, 北海道夏山ガイド 6 道東・道北・増毛の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha). 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

We were late in the season, and the locked up Seigakuso hut looked ugly and unappealing in the early morning light. I thought back nostalgically to the first time I had climbed Shari-dake many years before, remembering how the warden of the previous ramshackle old hut had invited myself and a local hiker in for a cup of sake on our return and regaled us with anecdotes. But today it was a chilly morning with nobody else around, so we pulled on our boots and set off.

There had been some recent wet weather and the stream was full enough to make us choose our crossing points with care. There had also been a sharp drop in temperature and a little further on we began to encounter ice. Soon it was everywhere, coating everything – rocks, branches, leaves, even a few remaining berries and fruits – in clear water ice as though they were delicately encased in glass. The effect was magical and breathtakingly beautiful, and something I had never seen before on this scale. It made negotiating the rocks by the stream rather awkward, however, and some of the little rocky pitches became definitely interesting.

We persevered up the Old Route and eventually the trail left the by now tiny stream and set off up through the fragile glass encased shrubs on the hillside. Ice tinkled down behind us as we brushed past. On the shoulder a cool wind greeted us but we followed the ridgeline up past the little shrine and onto the small summit. It was a clear day and the 360 degree panorama was stunning, from Shiretoko to the Akans, the caldera lakes around Teshikaga, and seemingly right below our feet the Okhotsk Sea coast stretching west to Abashiri.

We returned down the glassy hillside, now dazzlingly reflecting the sun from a million icy branches, and turned off onto the New Route for the panoramic descent through haimatsu dwarf pine down a minor ridge. After a small summit we dropped steeply back down to the stream bed for more careful boulder hopping, now enjoying the striking autumn colours in contrast to the icy world above, finally emerging once more at the trailhead. We agreed that it was a great mountain in its own right in any event, but the rare meteorological conditions had created a special kind of magic for us that day.

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Shari-dake Dayhike Difficulty Rating





Vertical Gain



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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.