Featured image by Szilvia Nagy. Szilvia Nagy (SN) and Kaydi Pyette (KP) contributed photos to this post.
Last updated Dec 26, 2022
The Yotei-zan Refuge Hut is located high up on the western side of the summit crater on Yotei-zan, about half way along the connecting trail between the Hirafu and Makkari Trails, here. From the hut to the Yotei-zan summit, it’s about a 30 minute walk.
The present Yotei-zan Refuge Hut is a relatively new hut, built in 2014 to replace the ageing hut that previously sat just next to this newer hut. The hut is managed by the Mt. Yotei Management & Conservation Liaison Committee (羊蹄山管理保全連絡協議会), a conglomeration of a number of parties including the Ministry of the Environment and the multiple municipal bodies that cover ‘slices’ of the mountain (Kutchan Town, Makkari Town, Niseko Town, Kyogoku Town, and Kimobetsu Town). During the summer hiking season, there’s a hut-keeper present (mid June till mid October).
- Winter use: The hut can be used in winter, but there’s no hut keeper present. Usually, entrance to the hut in winter is via the second floor entrance (use the ladder). Double- and triple-check that the door is closed tight when leaving.
- Summer high season: The hut can get extremely busy in August and on the weekends. Make sure to book in advance if planning to stay overnight.
- Camping: There are no camping areas on or around the Yotei-zan summit (including in the vicinity of the hut).
If planning to stay overnight in the summer hiking months, stays must be booked in advance. Call the Liaison Committee on 0136-23-3388. On their web page, they request no groups over 10 people, and no stays more than one night. In winter, there’s no need to book.
Overnight stays are 2000yen per night. In summer, pay this to the hutkeeper. In winter, put the hut fees in the payment box provided. If just using the hut for a rest during the day, visitors are asked to pay 300yen.
Heating: The hut is heated by a small but efficient coke stove on the ground floor. In the summer hiking season, the stove is generally tended to by the hut keeper. In winter, visitors are welcome to use the stove, but note that coke is notoriously tricky to get (and keep) burning. Also note that only a limited amount of coke is stored over winter in the hut – you may find there’s no fuel from mid-winter onward.
Water: There’s no water supply at the hut. Visitors must carry up their own drinking/cooking water.
Kitchen/cooking: There’s no dedicated cooking/kitchen area – visitors will either cook outside on the picnic tables, or inside in the communal/sleeping areas.
Bedding: As of 2022, due to pandemic concerns, bedding is not available for rent. Previously, there was some basic bedding available for rent (summer only): blankets (200yen), sleeping bags (300yen). No mattresses are available – generally, people would rent a blanket and a sleeping bag, using the blanket as a mattress on the wooden sleeping platforms.
Elecricity: During the summer months, there is lighting inside the hut, powered by solar panels. There are no charging ports for electronic devices.
Toilets: There are basic long-drop composting bio toilets in the hut. Toilet paper and sanitary products must not be disposed of in the toilets – all toilet paper and sanitary products must be packed out (bring a couple of durable ziploc bags for the purpose).
Cell reception: Most major mobile carriers will have reception at the hut.
There is a hut-keeper present from mid June till mid October.
NOTE: For number references to official printed topographical maps, check the main route report ( Yotei-zan Hirafu Route Ski Touring ).
While there is a hut keeper at this hut in summer, 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 – this is particularly so if visiting in winter.
Yotei-zan Refuge Hut Hut Trip reports
Yotei-zan Refuge Hut Hut Photo Gallery
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