Posted on Jan 13, 2019
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Posted on Jan 13, 2019
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42 0
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5.3km

Distance

3 hours

Time

550m

Ascent

641m

Highest point

3.5/10
Difficulty
Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds
Jan-Apr

Best season

Gin-zan (銀山, 641m) is a prominent hill in Niki Town, mainly due to the massive radio repeater station at its summit - it is visible from pretty much anywhere in town. Given its location, it gives great views across to Yotei-zan (羊蹄山), the Niseko Range, and Yoichi-dake (余市岳) further afield. It is on the same main ridge as Inaho-mine (稲穂峰, 565m), so if you're looking for a longer day, then consider joining them up. All in all, a great hill for beginners looking to stretch the legs and hone skills.

We visited this route on Jan 13, 2019

Last updated Apr 2, 2021

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

This backcountry ski route starts about 2km southeast of Ginzan JR Station in Niki Town, about 2 hours west of Sapporo City. The trailhead in winter is at the end of the snowclearing, just above Kotokuji Temple (孝徳寺), here.

General notes

As mentioned above, Gin-zan is in the same general vicinity as the slightly lower Inaho-mine. If you had to choose between the two, Inaho-mine would probably be higher on the priority list. Inaho-mine has the better slopes for downhill skiing higher up. Or, ski up Gin-zan, do the traverse to Inaho-mine (about 2 hours) and make the descent down via the Inaho-mine slopes. Either way, Gin-zan is a great area for beginners, and the large radio repeater station is a curious-looking goal to aim for. Pack a lunch, dig out a snow-table, and enjoy the views at the summit. The name Gin-zan (銀山) literally means ‘silver mountain’, and comes from the fact that in the past, there were mines that produced gold, silver, copper, and zinc in the area, such as the Rubeshibe Mine (ルベシベ鉱山) and Otomi Mine (大富鉱山).

Hut
None
Route details

This route is not marked.

Route Timing
Up | 2hrs
Down | 0.5hrs

About 2hr 10mins from end of snow clearing to summit, and then about 40mins back down.

Transport

Public transport:

If you’re willing to walk or ski 2.5km from the station, the most obvious choice for public transport is by rail to Ginzan JR Station (銀山駅, here). For train times, just look up Ginzan Station (Niki Town) on Google Maps and choose the train option. There used to be a local bus service to Ginzan from Yoichi City, but this is no longer in service.

By car:

There is no official parking spot. There is usually room for about 2 or 3 cars at the end of the snow clearing (around here), but make sure to park well to the side of the road. Consider digging out some extra space on the side of the road.

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Ginzan (銀山) – map no. NK-54-20-6-2

NOTE: The official 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

Aspect
The main aspect skiers are exposed to on the descent and/or ascent is North. Therefore, keep an eye on the weather forecast a few days ahead of your trip to monitor wind, snow, and temperature. Also, since this route is in the general vicinity of the Shiribeshi area, consider looking at the Japan Avalanche Network weekly avalanche bulletins or the daily Niseko Avalanche Information website. These may give extra insight into avalanche conditions in the greater area around the route.

Snow and
route safety

The gullies on either side of the main ridge are known to be avalanche-prone, and are essentially massive terrain traps. Make conservative decisions when considering descent options.

Gin-zan Half-day Ski Tour Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

C

30

Time ascending

D

0

Technicality

Altitude

D

0

Hazards

D

0

Navigation

C

6

Totals

36/100

GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy).  More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Ginzan
Onsen nearby

The closest onsen is the very nice Akaikawa Caldera Onsen (400yen per person, here), about 20 minutes away from the station by car (no public transport options). It is known for its very hot indoor bath (43degC), but the outdoor bath and another newer indoor bath are more humane.

Extra Resources

See Hokkaido Hiking Logs’ writeup of the winter Gin-zan route here.

Guide Options

If you’d like to ski this route and/or explore other Niseko areas together with a local certified guide, get in touch with Jun Horie. He’s a Niseko-resident guide with seven years experience advanced-level ski instructing in Austria (he speaks German as well as English and Japanese). He has also guided in New Zealand and has previously led guiding operations in Hokkaido before going independent. 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

Route blurb from the Hokkaido Yukiyama Guide (2015), p. 182 (translated by Hokkaido Wilds)

Gin-zan is next to Inaho-mine, and it is possible to traverse between the two. Gin-zan is a small mountain, but its summit can be seen from anywhere in town due to its large repeater station at the top. From the summit can be seen Daikoku-yama to the north, and Yotei-zan and the Niseko Range to the south, making for good views despite the low altitude. There’s a lot of snow in this area, and Gin-zan is popular among skiers looking to ski its northern slopes, where the powder snow is relatively unaffected by the sun.

Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route to Ginzan, or others nearby? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback, reports, or queries here. Thanks!

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Gin-zan Half-day Ski Tour Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

C

30

Time ascending

D

0

Technicality

Altitude

D

0

Hazards

D

0

Navigation

C

6

Totals

36/100

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.