Soranuma-dake Dayhike

空沼岳

Posted on Jul 3, 2020
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Posted on Jul 3, 2020

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Reading time: 2 min

17.5km

Distance

7hrs

Time

908m

Ascent

1251m

Highest point

5/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
June-Oct

Best season

Soranuma-dake 空沼岳 (1251m) stands virtually within the suburbs of southern Sapporo. There are two huts in a picturesque location by a small pond in the forest, and other pretty lakes on the upper slopes. It is a popular route for Sapporo locals and makes a good full day out in the hills with a great panorama from the summit back towards the city, southwards to the mountains around Lake Shikotsu, and over towards Muine-yama and Yotei-zan in the other direction.

We visited this route on Jan 9, 2017

Last updated Oct 28, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Soranuma-dake is just to the south of Sapporo City, off Route 453 to Lake Shikotsu. The trailhead is at the far end of a large quarry, here.

General notes

The trailhead used to be fairly easily accessible by public transport but the bus service has been cut back in recent years. A bus runs from Makomanai Station 真駒内駅 to the trailhead bus stop (Soranuma Tozanguchi) 空沼登山口 next to a quarry on weekends and public holidays between early June and early October. At other times you can still get an infrequent bus to the end of the line at Soranuma Futamata 空沼二股 and walk up the road to the quarry and trailhead in about half an hour. Check timetables in advance. The return bus from the trailhead leaves early in the afternoon and while it is certainly possible if you are fit to get up and back by then it does not leave much time to enjoy a leisurely break by the lake or take in the views from the summit. A few later buses leave down the road from Soranuma Futamata or it’s another hour’s hike into town where buses run more regularly. Sharing a taxi to the trailhead would be another option though arranging the return would be more problematic. See Transport below for more details

There are no facilities at the trailhead. The hike to the summit is a full day out mostly in forest and can be hot and sticky in summer, so bring plenty of food and water. There are two huts by the small lake about two thirds of the way up; the second, larger hut is Bankei Sanso 万計山荘 and is open all year round (hutkeeper present on summer weekends only) if you need to take a break away from bad weather.

The trail is free from snow from late May into November.

Route Timing
Up | 4hrs
Down | 3hrs
Route

The route is clearly defined and signposted. The bus stop is by a small office at the quarry entrance at about 330m elevation. Walk through the mounds of gravel (signposted 空沼岳) over a bridge and up a dirt road and along by a small river for 15 mins or so to the official trailhead with its small hut. Typhoon damage from recent years has left this rough in places. Cross the river here (again, how easy this is depends on the level of the river and recent repairs) and begin to climb up through the forest. The gradient is never very steep and you should reach the huts at Bankei-numa 万計沼 within two hours. From here the trail undulates a bit as it climbs up to the larger lake of Mamisu-numa 真簾沼 after 40 mins. Continue past the lake to a final short steeper climb up to the summit ridge where the traverse trail from Sapporo-dake comes in from the right. The summit is a few minutes further along the ridge, less than an hour in total from the lake. Return the same way.

Transport

Public transport:

Infrequent buses (Chuo Bus, TEL: 011 231 0500; https://www.bustei.com) leave from outside Makomanai Station 真駒内駅 for the Soranuma Trailhead Bus Stop (空沼登山口, location) from early June to early October on weekends and public holidays. Google Maps has public transport directions (bus stop here). It is advisable to check the timetable in advance as the service has been reduced in recent years and may well be cancelled one day. At present (June 2020) there is only one bus that leaves at 7.15am and takes about 25 mins. At other times catch the bus to Soranuma Futamata (空沼二股, location) and walk up the road to the quarry (location) from there. The return bus to Makomanai from the trailhead bus stop (空沼登山口, location) is currently at 13.57 which does not give much time if going for the summit so you will have to walk down to Futamata where there are a few later buses into the early evening (空沼二股, location). If you miss the last one or can’t be bothered to wait you can just walk down the road for another hour or so and pick up a bus or taxi further into town at somewhere like the Geijutsu no Mori Sculpture Park (芸術の森, location).

By car: 

Turn right (signposted) off Route 453 soon after leaving the last residential areas in the suburb of Tokiwa 常盤 and continue up for a few km to the quarry and locate the unsurfaced road at the far side. There are a few spaces for cars along this track (around here) but use discretion, especially if the gravel works is in operation.

Hut(s)

Bankei Sanso Hut (full details here)

The Bankei Sanso Hut was built in 1965 as a forest workers’ hut, and is currently managed and maintained by the Bankei-sanso Hut Volunteer Society. The spacious two-story hut sleeps approximately 100 people. It is located about 3 hours up the Mt. Soranuma summer trail.

Physical maps

Yama to Kogen Chizu 山と高原地図, No.2 Niseko Yoteizan ニセコ・羊蹄山. Published by Shobunsha 昭文社. 1:50000 hiking map in Japanese with marked routes and course times (the Sapporo region hills are at 1:85000).

GSI Topo Map: Soranuma-dake (空沼岳) – map no. NK-54-14-11-4

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

This is a full day out so take appropriate gear for hill walking including raingear and a warmer layer, and plentiful food and water. Despite its proximity to the city there are bears in the forest so take the usual precautions. The stream crossings may be difficult after heavy rain.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Soranuma-dake

Onsen nearby

Unfortunately there are no onsen in the vicinity of the trailhead, it will be necessary to go back into Sapporo. If you have a car you can cut across via backroads to Route 230 and head out to Koganeyu Onsen (小金湯, location, 800yen).

Extra Resources

In Japanese: Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, 北海道夏山ガイド 1 道央の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha, 2010), pp.106-111. 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

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Every morning I could look out from my ninth floor apartment directly across the city to Soranuma-dake. I could watch the seasons shift by charting the changes in the colour of the forest or the level of the snow on the peak. I also went up it a number of times in all the seasons. The imposing wooden hut is in a beautiful location and staying overnight with friends one winter was a special highlight.

The subway and bus make access easy in summer, but it helps to get the timing right. One fine day, being alone I had made good time up and down the mountain only to find I’d missed the early afternoon bus back to Makomanai by 5 minutes. Since there wasn’t another bus for three hours and an ugly quarry is hardly the place to hang around, I had to resign myself to a lengthy trudge all the way back down the road to Geijutsu no Mori. A memorable day for a different reason.

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Soranuma-dake Dayhike Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

A

40

Time ascending

B

6

Technicality

Altitude

B

6

Hazards

D

Navigation

D

Totals

52/100

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.