Tokushunbetsu-yama and Horohoro–yama Dayhike

徳舜別山|ホロホロ山 | Tushi-shu-un-pet

Posted on Oct 21, 2019
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Posted on Oct 21, 2019

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Reading time: < 1 min

12km

Distance

5hrs

Time

800m

Ascent

1322m

Highest point

5/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
Jun-Nov

Best season

The wonderfully named and shapely twin peaks of Horohoro-yama (ホロホロ山, 1322m) and Tokushunbetsu-yama (徳舜瞥山, 1309m) are connected by a high-level ridge that gives one of the best day hikes in the vicinity of Sapporo. Due to the cold winds off the Pacific Ocean the forest is sparse higher up and the ridge provides a fine open panorama to the sea in one direction and Lake Shikotsu and Yoteizan in the other. Each mountain can be climbed separately in only a few hours but it is better to take longer and enjoy the ridge walk. They can be climbed from either end out and back, though starting from Tokushunbetsu-yama gives a slightly shorter initial climb. This post describes the routes from both trailheads.

We visited this route on Oct 04, 2015

Last updated Oct 22, 2019

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

These two hills lie southwest of Lake Shikotsu and inland from the town of Shiraoi on the Pacific coast halfway between the cities of Muroran and Tomakomai, a little under a two-hour drive from Sapporo. The Horohoro-yama summit sits on the border of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The Tokushunbetsu-yama trailhead is on the western side of the small range, and the trailhead for Horohoro-yama is on the east.

General notes

The delightfully difficult kanji characters 徳舜瞥 that form the Japanised name for Tokushunbetsu-yama sound out the Ainu tushi-shu-un-pet, meaning river of amemasu trout. Mountains were often named after the rivers that issued from them (Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, Hokkaido Shimbunsha, p.178). Horo is common in Hokkaido place names and means large in Ainu. The summer hiking season is from June into November.

Route Timing
Up | 3hrs
Down | 2hrs
Route

The trails from both trailheads are well defined and signposted. The connecting ridge between the two peaks takes 30-40 minutes in either direction with some rocky steps near Horohoro-yama.

  • From Tokushunbetsu-yama Trailhead: The trail begins at an altitude of about 700m. The first part of the trail has been scoured by flash floods and is a bit rough, but then climbs up through the forest, crosses the stream and climbs more steeply up to the ridge where a disused trail comes in from the left. Continue up via switchbacks through shrub birch to the summit in about two hours.
  • From Horohoro-yama Trailhead: The trail begins at about 620m elevation past a small dam then up beside a creek with a couple of crossings until you reach a forest road. Cross this and continue on up the trail past a viewpoint at 1050m and onto a ridge and the summit in a little over two hours. If descending from here be careful not to follow the track off the north ridge instead of the main path.

Transport

Public transport:

There is no public transport access.

By car: 

  • Tokushunbetsu-yama Trailhead 徳舜瞥山登山口: From the minor road that runs parallel to Route 453 north of Kitayuzawa 北湯沢locate the signposted turning that leads southeast past a campsite up to the trailhead car park.
  • Horohoro-yama Trailhead ホロホロ山登山口: From Prefectural Route 86 (closed during winter) that connects Date and Shiraoi townships turn southwest on to a signposted gravel road leading to the trailhead and parking area in 4.5km.

Hut(s)

None

Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Tokushunbetsuyama (徳舜瞥山) – map no. NK-54-15-13-1

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

Although relatively short, the route traverses exposed terrain on the ridge 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 from the ocean and the upper slopes can be much colder than down at the trailhead. Carry appropriate gear. Like all high mountain terrain in Hokkaido it is bear country so take the usual precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Tokushunbetsu-yama and Horohoro-yama

Onsen nearby

Kitayuzawa onsen 北湯沢温泉is just down Route 453 towards Date and has various options including the unassuming but sprawling hotspring facility that is Horohoroso ホロホロ荘 (location, 850yen).

Extra Resources

Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido 1, 北海道夏山ガイド 1 道央の山々 (Hokkaido Shimbunsha). These Japanese-language 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

‘If you asked a kid to draw a mountain, that’s probably what they’d come up with,’ observed Dirk, looking back at the snowy pyramid of Tokushunbetsu-yama after a fine spring day spent on the mountain on skis a few years ago. In most seasons bar midwinter, this is one of my favourite hills in Hokkaido. As Dirk pointed out, it looks like a real mountain and with its twin Horohoro-yama along the ridge makes for a great day out among hills that feel higher than they really are. Good weather rewards you with sweeping views in all directions, though I have been surprised at how cold the wind can get up there. On my last trip we were greeted near the top by the first snowflakes of winter and a magical dusting of rime on the stunted birches along the ridge. The keen wind only made the post-walk rotenburo at our favourite Horohoroso onsen all the more inviting. The drive back to Sapporo goes past the Mushroom Kingdom きのこ王国rest area where a 100 yen bowl of tasty and warming mushroom miso soup is always welcome.

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Tokushunbetsu-yama and Horohoro–yama Dayhike Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

B

35

Time ascending

C

3

Technicality

Altitude

A

10

Hazards

D

Navigation

D

Totals

48/100

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.