Posted on Oct 13, 2019
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Posted on Oct 13, 2019

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Reading time: 2 min
12.7km

Distance

7 hours

Time

940m

Ascent

1558m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
Jun-Oct

Best season

Teshio-dake (天塩岳, 1558m) is regarded as the highest mountain in northern Hokkaido on the main island, though it is actually not that far north of the Kita-Daisetsuzan range making it still fairly centrally located. Accessed by a long forest road, it is a remote and broad massif whose tops provide a fine horseshoe route in wild, open country with the added attraction of not one, but two, mountain huts. It is well worth staying the previous night at the spacious and comfortable Teshio-dake Hutte at the trailhead for an authentic Hokkaido hut experience.

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Teshio-dake is the last major mountain on the main island to the north of the main Daisetsuzan mountain range in central Hokkaido. This area is sparsely inhabited and the trailhead is not close to any major settlement, the closest small town being Aibetsu 愛別町on Route 39 northeast of Asahikawa. The trail itself starts from the Teshio-dake Hütte, here.

General notes

In the Ainu language the mountain takes its name from the Teshio River, teshi-o-pet, teshi meaning fish trap (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.216). The trailhead is remote, so although this is listed as a day hike it makes sense to stay the night before at the Teshio-dake Hutte at the trailhead, either in the hut or camping outside. Take all supplies with you. The summer hiking season is from June till late October. The nearest facilities are in the small town of Aibetsu 愛別町.

Hut

Teshio-dake Hütte (full details here)

The Teshiodake Hütte (天塩岳ヒュッテ) an imposing but comfortable hut at the Teshio-dake trailhead. This large two-story log-building hut is free to stay, it has no warden and can sleep 40. You need to take your own bedding, food and cooking equipment. There is a camping area with taps and a toilet immediately outside. In the summer the hut is accessible by car, but in winter, it is a 9km skin along a mostly flat road to get to the hut – a sled is recommended.

Teshiodake Emergency Hut (full details here)

The Teshiodake Emergency Hut (天塩岳避難小屋) is a basic A-frame hut high up on the approach ridge to Teshio-dake in northern central Hokkaido. It is a well-built hut, but very basic – no stove, water, or bedding.

Route markers

The circular route is well defined and signposted throughout. From the hut, take the Mae Teshio-dake trail 前天塩岳コース. Follow a creek through the forest with a number of small stream crossings, passing the junction with the trail that connects to the New Route 新道連絡路 after 40 mins. 20 mins or so further on ignore the little used Old Route 旧道 trail that continues up the river and follow the main trail that rises up the shoulder of Mae Teshio-dake into open country, climbing more steeply near the top to the ridge. Here a traverse path to the right avoids the summit but it is best to continue up over rocky scree to the top, in all about another hour and a half. From here the trail turns south, dropping 200m down to a col before climbing up again to the main peak of Teshio-dake in about an hour. From the summit return by the New Route along the broad western ridge past the Teshio-dake Refuge 天塩岳避難小屋 after about 30 mins. Continue down the ridge northwest for another 50 mins to the junction with the connecting trail 連絡路分岐, turn right and drop down more steeply through the forest to rejoin the original route, then back to the hut in another half hour.

Route Timing
Up | 4hrs
Down | 3hrs

Transport

Public transport:

There is no public transport access.

By car: 

Take local route 101 north from Aibetsu 愛別町 for about 20km and turn right (signposted) a short way past a tunnel onto a narrow surfaced, then gravel, road for 17km. Continue on past the New Route trailhead 新道登山口 a little further to the Teshio-dake Hutte 天塩岳ヒュッテ and trailhead where there is plenty of parking space.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Uennaizan (宇江内山) – map no. NK-54-7-1-3
Official Topo Map 2: Teshiodake (天塩岳) – map no. NK-54-7-1-1

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

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. There are a few small river crossings that could be a bit tricky after heavy rain. Like all high mountain terrain in Hokkaido it is bear country so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Teshio-dake

Onsen nearby

Rustic Kyowa Onsen 共和温泉 (location, 500yen) is on local route 101 just north of the small town of Aibetsu 愛別町.

Extra Resources

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

After stocking up at the convenience store in Aibetsu, Jeff and I drove along the long forest road deep into the hills and drew up in front of the imposing Teshio-dake Hutte. A couple of other parties had already arrived to stay, but there was plenty of room upstairs to find a quiet corner and spread out. A few more cars outside appeared to belong to fishermen seeking trout in the rolling and tumbling river the road had followed on the way up. One man was expertly filleting a very decent sized fish for sashimi in the campsite kitchen area. ‘Where did you learn to do that?’ we asked, impressed with his skill. ‘YouTube,’ he replied laconically as handed us each a piece. It was delicious.

After a comfortable night we set off next morning under a beautiful blue sky, and within a couple of hours were out of the forest into open high mountain country with the whole circular route spread out before us. After a short break on Mae Teshio-dake we dropped down to the col through the creeping pines and scrubby birch bushes. It was getting hotter now, making the climb up the other side feel tougher. But soon enough we were at the top enjoying the panorama in all directions.

The return led us down along the broad west ridge through a sea of sasa dwarf bamboo to the sharply angled roof of the emergency refuge, set in a broad col between two minor rounded lumps. Before the hut we spied a faint trail heading up Nishi Teshio-dake so nipped up to claim the third nail in the horseshoe. The weather was still flawless as we ambled slowly down along the ridge to where the connecting trail dropped down to the right into the forest, to rejoin our outward path and head back to the Hutte. All in all a very satisfying day in some wild country.

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on hokkaidowilds.org, 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. hokkaidowilds.org, 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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