Last updated Feb 20, 2019
Helvetia Hut (location) is about 200m from the relatively busy Prefectural Route 1 heading to Sapporo Kokusai ski area. The hut’s location may seem curious nowadays, but when it was originally built in 1927, there was no road.
Helvetia Hütte is one of the few remaining links in the 1920’s ‘chain of huts’ built in the hills west of Sapporo during the ski boom of the early 1900’s. The hut is currently owned by Hokkaido University, and maintained by the Hokkaido University Academic Alpine Club. It is available for use year round in the weekends – the hut is locked, and requires picking up a key from Hokkaido University. The hut was designed by Swiss architect Max Hinder. The original hut was built in 1927 by Hinder, and two professors from Hokkaido university, Dr. Haruo Yamazaki and Dr. Arnold Gubler. It was the last hut that Hinder designed while living in Sapporo before moving to Yokohama. It was donated to Hokkaido University in 1934, and rebuilt in 1985. It is known as a base from which to climb Asari-dake (朝里岳, 1287m), Yoichi-dake (余市岳, 1488m) and Shirai-dake (白井岳, 1301m). It is registered as one of Sapporo’s ‘100 Hometown Culture’ artifacts (さっぽろ・ふるさと文化百選, No. 44). The roof is made of Cyprus wood shingles. Officially the hut can sleep 12 people, but it would feel pretty crowded if it was full; with six of us in the hut, it was just about the right size.
The hut is securely locked, and requires a key that can be obtained from Hokkaido University. Use of the hut must be registered in person at Hokkaido University at least three working days before intended use. Either call 011-706-7456 directly to book and then head into the university to pay up and pick up the key, or if your Japanese is rusty, then head straight to the No. 3 window on the ground floor at the Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education at Hokkaido University to book and pay (location on Google maps). The hut is only available for use by the public on Saturdays and Sundays.
250 yen per person per night (Hokkaido University faculty, staff, and students can stay for free).
Heating: The hut is heated with a large, solid, new wood stove. Wood, kindling, and newspaper is provided. Extra wood is stored under the hut, on the far left-hand corner at the back of the hut. The stove is plenty hot enough to boil water and cook on.
Water: No running water in the hut. Either melt snow or collect water from the nearby creek. In either case, water should be boiled before consuming.
Kitchen/cooking: There is a basic sink, but this should not be used in winter (water will just freeze in the pipes). There are a number of large nabe pots and fry pans available for use. There is also a small selection of cutlery, but club members will have priority for use – best to bring your own.
Bedding: There are sturdy two-level bunk beds built into the hut, with moderately thick (about 7cm) foam mattresses. Beyond that no other bedding is supplied.
Elecricity: There is no electricity in the hut.
Toilets: There is an out-house next to the hut, but a sign on the door instructs visitors not to use it in winter. The toilet is a basic long-drop.
Cell reception: Yes.
There is no hutkeeper, although club members may be present.
Special Helvetia Hut Notes
The vast majority of huts in Hokkaido are 100% maintained through passionate volunteer time and effort. While the Helvetia Hut is owned by Hokkaido University, the Hokkaido University Academic Alpine Club (made up of student and alumni volunteers and donors) take care of the day-to-day maintenance and funding for upgrades and repairs. If you make a visit, please give the place a clean, and make sure to sign the guest book. Always leave a hut cleaner than you found it.
Helvetia Hut Trip reports
Helvetia Hut Photo Gallery
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