Uryu-numa Marsh and Minami Shokan-dake

雨竜沼湿原・南暑寒岳

Posted on Dec 9, 2020
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Posted on Dec 9, 2020

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Reading time: 2 min

18km

Distance

7hrs

Time

756m

Ascent

1296m

Highest point

5/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
June-Oct

Best season

Uryu-numa 雨竜沼 is a large marshy area lying at an altitude of 850m that is famous for its profusion of wildflowers in early summer. For that reason it can be busy on the raised boardwalks that circumnavigate the wetland but those with time can go further and climb Minami Shokan-dake (南暑寒岳, 1296m) up its broad east ridge for views over the high and wild hills towards the Japan Sea coast.

We visited this route on Jul 01, 2012

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

The Uryu-numa wetlands lie in the hills about 30km west of Uryu Town 雨竜町 just north of the city of Takikawa 滝川市 in central Hokkaido. This hike starts at the Uryu-numa Shitsugen Gate Park (雨竜湿原ゲートパーク, location).

General notes

Uryu-numa is well known for its wildflowers and the best time to see them is probably from mid-July though it can be busy at weekends. The marsh itself has a circular wooden walkway that is supposed to be walked clockwise. On the trail up to the wetlands there are a couple of suspension bridges that might not have their walkways reassembled until mid-June.

The trailhead has a small campsite and a hut (the Minami Shokanso 南暑寒荘) run by Uryu Town and is known as Uryu-numa Shitsugen Gate Park 雨竜沼湿原ゲートパーク (tel: 0125-77-2155). Check in for both facilities is at the management office 管理棟 on site. Donations can be made here for the upkeep of the trails. The nearest shops and other facilities are back down in the valley in Uryu Town.

Route Timing
Up | 4hrs
Down | 3hrs

Allow 4-5 hours if just doing a circuit of the wetlands.

Route

The path is clearly defined and signposted, with boardwalks in the marshy areas. From the trailhead at 550m elevation follow the path up the gorge of the Penkepetan River ぺんけぺたん川 over a suspension bridge and past a waterfall below, Hakuryu no Taki 白竜の滝 after 40 mins. Cross another bridge and continue till the trail reaches the open expanse of the wetlands in less than an hour. Pass a large wooden observation platform and follow the boardwalk until it forks. It is good etiquette to keep left and do the circuit clockwise, which would take a leisurely hour and a half if this is as far as you wish to go. If climbing Minami Shokan-dake 南暑寒岳 continue on to a small observation deck just above the marsh.  From here the trail climbs up through haimatsu dwarf pines and sasa bamboo to the summit in about two hours from leaving the marsh. Return the same way.

 

Transport

Public transport:

There is no public transport access.

By car: 

From Uryu Town 雨竜町 take the local Route 432 that turns off Route 275 and head west past Uryu Dam 雨竜ダム. In the final few km the road becomes a narrow gravel track up to the trailhead at the Uryunuma Shitsugen Gate Park 雨竜沼湿原ゲートパーク. There is a large parking area but it could be busy at peak times.

Hut(s)

None

Physical maps

Shobunsha 1:50000 Yama to Kogen Series No.2: Niseko, Yoteizan, Shokanbetsudake 山と高原地図2ニセコ・羊蹄山・暑寒別岳 (昭文社). In Japanese with course times.

GSI Topo Map: Shokanbetsudake (暑寒別岳) – map no. NK-54-13-6-4
GSI Topo Map 2: Etaidake (恵岱岳) – map no. NK-54-13-6-2

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

Walking around the wetlands is relatively safe as the path is obvious but if bad weather comes in it is very exposed and there is a risk of hypothermia for poorly equipped hikers so carry appropriate wet weather gear. This is bear country so be aware and take the necessary precautions.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Uryu-numa Marsh and Minami Shokan-dake

Onsen nearby

The nearest onsen are back down in the main valley around Uryu Town and Takikawa City.

Extra Resources

Hokkaido Natsuyama Gaido Vol.6 (北海道夏山ガイド6道東・道北・増毛の山々、北海道新聞社, 2012), pp.260-67.

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

The main draw of Uryu-numa is of course the colourful profusion of wild flowers in early summer. Unfortunately on both my visits to date I didn’t get to see them.

The first time, many years ago, the weather was foul and the marsh was shrouded in thick mist with visibility down to only a few feet. On my second visit, with a group from the Hokkaido International Outdoor Club, we were just a bit too early in the season and only a few flowers such as the early blooming mizubasho were out. That was only a slight disappointment though; we’d had a fun previous evening on the campsite enjoying one of Leon’s famous BBQ feasts. The weather was great too, so next day we enjoyed the sounds and sights of spring; Himalayan cuckoos (tsutsudori) serenading us from the trees and the open panorama of snow-patched mountains all around. We then walked up the broad hillside behind the wetlands and over the odd lingering snowfield to the open summit of Minami Shokan-dake for the wild views over to Shokanbetsu-dake and Gunbetsu-dake.

As for the flowers – third time lucky perhaps!

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Uryu-numa Marsh and Minami Shokan-dake Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

B

35

Time ascending

B

6

Technicality

Altitude

B

6

Hazards

D

Navigation

D

Totals

47/100

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.