Posted on Mar 19, 2019
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Posted on Mar 19, 2019

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Reading time: 2 min
13km

Distance

7 hours

Time

1225m

Ascent

1668m

Highest point

6/10

Difficulty

Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)
Jul-Sept

Best season

Yubari-dake (夕張岳, 1668m) is a rugged, bulky mountain that marks the limit of the broad fertile plain east of Sapporo. Its plateau-like broad upper ridge is home to unique species of flowers in spring and early summer, while in autumn the colours are breathtaking. The summit is surprisingly narrow with spectacular views over wild country in all directions on a clear day, making the long approach well worth the effort. A few hundred metres past the trailhead is the beautifully refurbished Yubari-dake Hütte which would be a great place to stay the night.

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Yubari-dake is at the southern end of the central mountain range that runs from the internationally known ski resort at Furano City (a country town in reality) to the old mining town of Yubari east of Sapporo. This hike starts from a trailhead (here) at around 560m at the end of a forest road about 20kms northeast of Yubari City.

General notes

The main season for summer hiking on Yubari-dake is from mid-June to the end of October, although the forest road may be closed early and late in the season, in which case an additional 10km of walking up and down the road is necessary, taking at least an extra two hours. For instance, in autumn 2018 the gate was closed from the beginning of October. If unsure, check with the local Forest Department (Sorachi Shinrin Kanrisho, 0126-22-1940). The trail proper starts and finishes at the end of the road a few minutes below the hut. There are spaces for a number of cars at a couple of spots but no facilities at the trailhead. The trail soon splits into two routes that rejoin below the main ridge; this description climbs the Hiyamizu Route (冷水コース) and descends the Uma no Se Route (馬の背コース).

Hut

Yubari-dake Hütte (full details here)

The Yubari-dake Hutte (夕張岳ヒュッテ, capacity 30) is located about 20 minutes above the trailhead at the bottom of the Uma no Se trail. It was recently rebuilt by the members of the club that own it out of their own pockets and looks very comfortable. In 2018 it was available daily between the third Saturday in July and August 31, and on Saturdays in September. It has water (boil or filter) and a toilet, but no bedding or cooking utensils. There is a warden during July and August and there is a charge to stay overnight.

Route markers

The route is well defined through forest, birch shrubs and dwarf juniper, with occasional markers and signs (in Japanese) fixed to trees. On the broad main ridge much of the trail runs along duckboards through marshy areas rich in flowers. From the trailhead the forest road continues for a few hundred metres before the Hiyamizu Route (冷水コース) branches off to the right. Take this then climb steadily through the forest for an hour and a half before a rising traverse left joins up with the ridge and the junction with the Uma no Se trail (馬の背コース). From here there is only one trail that rounds a shoulder past a lookout point and onto the broad main ridge. It passes close to the large rocky outcrop of Gama-iwa (ガマ岩) then continues, often on duckboards, across the plateau to a small col (Fukitoshi 吹き通し) after a couple of hours. From here a short steep climb leads to the summit in about 20 minutes past a small shrine just below the top.

Route Timing

Up | 4hrs
Down | 3hrs

About 4 hours from forestry road end to Yubari-dake summit, and another 3 hours back down.

Transport

Public transport:

There is no access to the trailhead by public transport. The nearest JR train station is Yubari and it would be necessary to take a taxi from there.

By car: 

Road access is from Route 452 northeast of Yubari, turn right over a bridge across the reservoir after about 10km and follow the generally well maintained forest road. There is parking in a couple of places near the trailhead though it can be busy in season.

Physical maps

Official Topo Map: Takinosawa-dake (滝ノ沢岳) – map no. NK-54-8-14-1

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

This is a high and wild mountain 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. Like all high mountain areas in Hokkaido this is bear country.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Yubari-dake

Onsen nearby

There is an onsen in Yubari itself, but if returning to Sapporo there are many options along the way, including Yunni no Yu ユンニの湯at Yuni (650yen, location).

Extra Resources

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 and Director 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. 

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

The first time Jeff and I did this route early one July we were rather displeased to come around a corner still kilometers from the trailhead to find the gate across the road firmly locked. Knowing that this would now mean 13km in each direction we pulled on our boots and slogged up the road grumbling to ourselves. The only explanation for the closure we could see was a slight washout above a drop to the stream, but there was still enough room for vehicles to pass with care so we cursed over zealous officials and carried on. As a result of this, however, there was nobody else around and we had the mountain virtually to ourselves for the whole day. Despite some rolling mist and being just too early for the full glory of the flowers, it was a good day out nonetheless.

We returned in autumn a few years later; this time the road was open and the weather was glorious. Although the flowers were gone the autumn colours were beautiful, not just the fiery hues of the foliage itself but also the delicate tracing of the bare mountain birches on the hillsides. One of the few other people we met that day was flying a drone and politely asked if we minded if he flew it. We didn’t, and in return he later sent some fantastic 360-degree aerial footage of the three of us on the summit.

On the way back we stopped in at the Yubari-dake Hutte to find preparations for a party in progress. It turned out that this was in fact the last weekend the road was open and the club members had gathered to celebrate the end of the summer climbing season. We were given a guided tour of the new hut, which looked very comfortable and a great place to stay sometime. After envious glances at the large amounts of food and alcohol being readied for the party we walked the last few minutes back down to the car. This time we’d been lucky with the road – why the Forest Department has to close it when there is still a few weeks of hiking season left was beyond us, but we decided it might be a good idea to check in future!

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Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route up Mt. Yubari-dake? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

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