Toishi-yama Dayhike (Sapporo)

砥石山

Posted on Jul 10, 2020
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Posted on Jul 10, 2020

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Reading time: 3 min
8.5km

Distance

4.5 hours

Time

560m

Ascent

826m

Highest point

3/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
May-Nov

Best season

Toishi-yama 砥石山 rises 826m in the southern suburbs of Sapporo city and is easily accessible by bus or taxi. There are three trails to the summit, though the northern approach is rather defaced by an ugly active quarry. From the other side, though, you can wander into quiet forested hills that make it hard to believe you are only a few miles from the centre of one of Japan's largest cities. With flowers along the stream in spring and ablaze with colour in autumn it makes a great little escape from the bustling streets below.

We visited this route on Nov 02, 2017

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Toishi-yama (here) is in the outskirts of Sapporo city, southwest of the centre and behind the more well-known Moiwa-yama 藻岩山. For location of each of the trailheads, see the Route Description section below.

General notes

There are three trailheads for the mountain, all lying on Prefectural Route 82 that skirts round the hilly western suburbs of Sapporo past the Bankei ski area ばんけいススキー場. Two are directly accessible by bus, while the central trailhead is at the top of the diminutive Kobayashi Pass and can also be reached by walking up the road a short way from the south. Or you can cycle it, this is one of my regular rides in Sapporo since a new tunnel went underneath taking all the traffic. There are no facilities at the trailheads apart from a toilet at the southernmost one, Nakanosawa. The northern approach from the Toishisawa trailhead 砥石沢登山口 is disfigured by a dusty active quarry and so is best avoided, especially during weekdays, though if you wish to traverse the mountain it makes a reasonable descent route. This post describes the ascent from the other two trailheads at Nakanosawa 中丿沢 and Kobayashi Pass 小林峠.

Hut

None

Route

The trails are well defined and signposted.

Nakanosawa Trailhead 中丿沢登山口 (location): From the bus stop (elevation 140m) head up the side road past houses and then fields, cross a bridge then turn right and then follow the road round and slightly down to the trailhead car park in about 20 mins. There is a large signboard with a map of the route. The path continues up beside the stream before eventually leaving it to climb more steeply up to the ridge where the trail from Kobayashi Pass comes in from the right, about an hour from the trailhead. From here the path continues along the ridge with some ups and downs, past the little pointed peak of Sankaku-yama 三角山, and on to the summit, about another hour or so from the junction.

Kobayashi Pass 小林峠 (location): The trail starts right at the top of the pass near a commemorative stone plinth. It follows the ridge the whole way, with various ups and downs, meeting up with the Nakanosawa path coming up from the left in about an hour, then continuing as above.

Toishisawa Trailhead 砥石沢登山口 (location): From the bus stop walk up the gated road past the quarry and through the works. We have not climbed it from this direction so will not attempt a full description, but in descent on a trip some time ago the path appeared obvious and was signed and routed to divert around the works itself. Above this is a forest road then the hiking trail itself.

Route Timing
Up | 2.5hrs
Down | 2hrs

These approximate times are for the Nakanosawa route out and back. The Kobayashi Pass route would take slightly less, while a full traverse over to the northern trailhead would total at least 5 hours.

Transport

Public transport:

Nakanosawa Trailhead: From Makomanai Station 真駒内駅 at the end of the Nanboku subway line take a local bus operated by Jotetsu Bus (011-572-3131) heading for Sansui Danchi 山水団地行き and get off at Kitanosawa Kaikan Mae 北丿沢会館前.

Toishisawa Trailhead: From Kotoni or Hassamu Minami stations on the Tozai subway line catch a JR Bus (011-631-4111) to Fukuientei Mae 福井えん堤前 and get off at the last stop by the entrance road to the quarry.

Kobayashi Pass Traihead: From Makomanai Station 真駒内駅 at the end of the Nanboku subway line take a local bus operated by Jotetsu Bus (011-572-3131) heading for Sansui Danchi 山水団地行き and get off at Sansui Danchimae 山水団地前.

Sharing a taxi to any of the trailheads might be more convenient.

By car: 

All the trailheads are located on Prefectural Route 82 that skirts round the hilly western suburbs of Sapporo past the Bankei ski area ばんけいススキー場. Kobayashi Pass is now bypassed by a tunnel so you need to turn off onto the old road.

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).

Official Topo Map: Sapporo (札幌) – map no. NK-54-14-10-4
Official Topo Map 2: Ishiyama (石山) – map no. NK-54-14-11-3

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

Although this is within city limits it is still a proper day in the hills and raingear and extra layers should be taken (on our traverse of the route in late autumn a few years ago it rained heavily the whole day and we got wet and cold despite having good kit). Even this close to the city there are bears so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Toishi-yama

Onsen nearby

Unfortunately there are no onsen nearby.

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. 28-35. These guides are updated every few years.

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

My first trip up Toishi-yama was with a small group of friends from the now sadly defunct Hokkaido International Outdoor Club, led by that legend of the Hokkaido outdoors, Leon Roode. Unfortunately the weather did not favour us that day, and what started out as a light drizzle after leaving the bus stop soon turned into persistent heavy rain.

Undeterred, we headed up the path by the stream and onto the main ridge. By the time we reached the summit we were getting a bit damp, and in the chilly November temperatures it was no place to linger over lunch. The low cloud meant no views either. After wolfing down a few bites of whatever we had brought, a couple of the party elected to return by the same route. The rest of us continued on to traverse the mountain to the northern trailhead.

The descent was occasionally slippery and the small streams crossing the path had been turned by the incessant rain into obstacles to be waded or otherwise circumvented. Eventually we made it down onto the forest road and into the quarry, deserted and quiet on this gloomy Sunday afternoon. The path took us around and through the wet machinery, the dust that normally coated all the leaves now turned into a dirty white paste, and onto the exit road.

There was no bus from the closest stop but we were able to get one back to a subway station from a small park a few hundred yards down the road. The driver seemed unfazed by the large puddles that accumulated on the floor around our seats as we dripped and steamed on the twenty odd minute ride to the station.

Since then I’ve returned a number of times in good weather to enjoy the forest trails, sometimes cycling to the trailhead. Somehow it’s always that first trip that remains the most memorable though.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

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