Last updated Mar 17, 2020
The Aizanso Hut is located about 7km up the Shiretoko Pass road (Route 334) at around 510m altitude (here), in far eastern Hokkaido. It is on the climber’s right hand side of the road, about 150m into the forest, just after the 20.5km sign on the Shiretoko Pass road.
Aizanso Hut (愛山荘) is a two-story hut, belonging to the Abashiri Alpine Club (網走山岳会). The name of the hut literally translates as “Love for the Mountains Hut”. It was built and is maintained as a winter base for exploring the mountains in the immediate vicinity, such as Rausu-dake, Chinishibetsu-dake, and it would also support skiers attempting full winter traverses of the Shiretoko mountain range (such as a 14-day solo unsupported traverse by a Abashiri Apline Club member – Day 1 here).
The hut is fully funded and maintained by the club. Therefore, the hut maintenance depends heavily on hut fee donations by users. For the services provided (effective wood stove with plenty of wood, plus an outside toilet), the alpine club requests a donation of at least 1,000yen per person per night.
- Winter entry to the hut
The main entrance to the hut is on the ground floor. This entrance will be blocked by snow during winter, so either dig the snow away from the entrance, or enter via the second floor. There was a sign in the hut advising people not to force the ground floor door open. If it is difficult to open, use the second floor entrance. When we were there in March 2019, the second floor was being used more as a storage space than a living space. There is a flight of stairs down to the first floor.
- “Close the doors”
When we were there in March 2019, there were multiple notices reminding users to close the entrances (both ground and second floor) securely when leaving. There have been instances of doors being left open, leading to most of the hut filling with wind-drifted snow.
Access to the hut in winter is usually from the Utoro side of the Shiretoko Pass. Skiers will park up at the Shiretoko Nature Center (here), and go from there. A representative from the Abashiri Alpine Club requested that visitors to the hut mention to nature center staff that they’ll be leaving their car parked overnight or longer. If a car is left overnight or longer, sometimes the nature center staff get concerned that the owners might be lost in the mountains.
TEL: 0152-24-2202 | NOTE: All inquires should be in Japanese, and please mention that you do intend to make a donation of 1000yen per person per night – there have been recent cases of people using the hut without contributing.
There is no need to book. The hut is unlocked and available for use year round. All users must sign the guest book.
All users are requested to contribute 1000yen per person per night. There is a donation box inside the hut. Your donation helps to cover fuel (wood plus labor) costs, as well as general upkeep of the hut. All users must sign the guest book.
Heating: The hut is heated via a wood stove, with wood provided. When it is loaded up with plenty of wood, the stove will melt a large pot of snow and, if transferred to a kettle, will bring the melted snow to a boil in around 45 minutes. There is plenty of tinder for lighting the stove, and there are axes for cutting kindling.
Water: There is no running water supply at the hut in winter.
Kitchen/cooking: There is a selection of pots, frypans, some cutlery, knives and grilling meshes at the hut. There are a couple of ‘cassette gas burners’ at the hut, so bring your own compatible non-threaded gas canister (like this, available in supermarkets for around 150yen per canister) to use them. Club members will have priority on all equipment in the hut, so we recommend bringing your own cooking equipment as a backup.
Bedding: No bedding is supplied.
Toilets: There is a large portable toilet outside, about 20m from the hut. In winter, you’ll need to dig a space for the door to be opened. Make sure to close the door securely with the supplied cable. Don’t force the door open – take the time to clear enough snow from around the door.
Cell reception: No.
Special Aizanso Hut Notes
The vast majority of huts in Hokkaido are 100% maintained through passionate volunteer time and effort, and the Aizanso Hut is no exception. If you make a visit, please give the place a clean, post your 1000yen donation per person in the box provided, and make sure to sign the guest book. Always leave a hut cleaner than you found it.
Aizanso Hut Trip reports
Aizanso Hut Photo Gallery
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