Posted on Jan 24, 2016
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on twitter
Share on google

Posted on Jan 24, 2016

Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on twitter
Share on google
Reading time: 2 min


4 hours





Highest point



Snow Icon | Hokkaido Wilds

Best season

Mt. Maetokachi (前十勝岳, 1,790m) is another classic staple for backcountry skiing in the Tokachi Ranges. Its broad, plank-like north-western face is a veritable playground of wide gullies and snow-fields. Here, I outline the classic Kabawara Ridge route, which is the most-traveled route on the mountain for backcountry skiing. Like Mt. Sandan, the route is accessed from the hopelessly amazing Hakuginso Lodge - a mountain lodge boasting to be the "mecca of powder" with everything you could possibly want: onsen hotsprings, a large communal kitchen, a large basement drying room, friendly staff, and only 2,750yen a night.

Last updated Mar 18, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details


Tokachi mountain range, central Hokkaido. About 3 hours drive east from Sapporo, 5hrs by train and bus. Route starts here, at Hakuginso Lodge.

General notes

The broad northwest facing face of Mt. Maetokachi is a veritible playground in the winter. It has endless options for scoping out nice powder staches, with multiple gullies running down the slope. This route climbs along the Kabawara Ridge, through the scorched stumps of a has-been forest. At the top of the ridge, it is up to the skier as to how they get down. Take the ridge as a safest-of-the-lot option. Head further to the skiers’s right to find some of the more protected gullies.


Hakuginso Lodge (full details here)

Hakuginso Lodge (吹上温泉保養センター白銀荘, 1,020m) is a beautiful lodge perfectly situated for access to a number of excellent ski touring and hiking routes in the Tokachi region of the Daisetsu National Park. As a base for backcountry ski touring, it is second to none. Accessible by car, and already at just over 1,000m in altitude, the lodge has some of the driest powder snow in Hokkaido on its doorstep. The onsen at the lodge and just down the road are also second to none. All this for a paltry 3,100yen (3,250yen in the winter) a night.

Route details

There are no route markers.

Route Timing
Up | 3hrs
Down | 1hrs

About 3 hours from Hakuginso Lodge to the 1,790m summit. There’s not much getting in your way on the way down, so it’s a quick 1 hour back to the lodge from the summit.


Public transport:

From JR Kami-Furano Train Station, there is a bus, run by the Kami-Furano Town Bus company, that runs to the Hakuginso Lodge. You’ll want to catch the tokachidake-onsen-yuki (十勝岳温泉行き) bus from the train station and get off at the Hakuginso bus stop (白銀荘). As of March 2017, there were three buses per day going to the lodge (08:52, 12;49, 16:31) and three returning (10:01, 13:51, 17:40). The fare is around 500yen one way, and it takes around 30 minutes.

By car: 

There’s plenty of parking at the Hakuginso Lodge (here).

Physical maps
Official Topo Map: Shirogane Onsen (白金温泉) – map no. NK-54-7-8-1

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).

Snow and route safety

As mentioned above, the entire face of Mt. Maetokachi is somewhat of a playground. Just watch out for exposed rocks on the northern end of the face and near the ferrules. The altitudes in these areas are much higher than the snowy playgrounds elsewhere in Hokkaido – be extra respectful of mother nature here.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Maetokachi-dake
Onsen nearby

The Hakuginso Lodge is an onsen – a very nice one at that. They charge 600yen for day visitors. You can stay overnight for just under 3,000yen (see details here). 10 minutes walk down the road from the lodge is the natural, free, mixed-gender Fukiage Onsen (location). The Ryounkaku Onsen (location – 600yen per person – accessible by same bus that gets you to Hakuginso Lodge) has an incredible view, and they also offer lunch.

Extra Resources

Guide Options

If you’d like to ski this route and/or explore other areas of Central Hokkaido together with a local certified guide, get in touch with Takao Miyashita. He’s a born-and-bred Hokkaido based guide. From a young age he cut his teeth on peaks around Tokachi-dake, Asahi-dake, Sandan-yama and others. He has multiple 6,000m-plus peak international expeditions under his belt (including a ski descent from 7,400m on Mt. Manaslu, Nepal). He is one of the leading senior figures in the local guiding and outdoor associations here in Hokkaido and Japan. See a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Route blurb from the Hokkaido Yukiyama Guide (2015), p. 372 (translated by Hokkaido Wilds)

Mt. Maetokachi is the advanced guard in front of Mt. Tokachi. It boasts a beautiful triangular shape when viewed from Hakuginso Lodge, and the ferules which rise from the surrounding craters give it another level of impressiveness. Overnight, deep snow can transform into exposed rock, so it doesn’t have the most predictable snow conditions. In general, mid-February and later is the best time to visit. Visual guides up the mountain such as trees are non-existent here, so good clear weather is the key to enjoying it. Mt. Tokachi is an active volcano, so make sure to check activity reports on the Meterological Department website or at Hakuginso Lodge.

This route report is a continuation of sorts from our trip up Mt. Sandan (here). Along with the boys from France, we had skirted across a gully from Mt. Sandan’s northwest face to Mt. Maetokachi’s northwest face.

The skin up Mt. Maetokachi started through spooky scarred forest. But soon enough we found ourselves once again dodging the dreaded low-lying pines.

In the end, we only made around an hour and a half of progress up Mt. Maetokachi before making the call to head down for the day. The peak was clearly in dense cloud, we’d already climbed in total for almost five hours, and the descent was not looking promising with the low pines. We did, however, take the time to scout the area out for terrain that would allow for a more enjoyable downhill ski run. The answer came in a beautiful wide gully, full with waist-deep powder. It was magic.

As if as icing on the cake, our final few minutes of descent were punctuated by a clear view over the Furano plains. Up till this point in the day they had been obscured by clouds. Smiles and more smiles.

The day was finished off with a soak in the free Fukiage Onsen (here). This wild onsen is just 10 minutes walk from the Hakuginso lodge, and is a great way to soothe the muscles after a long day. Just perfect.

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on, should you choose to follow the information on this page, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road/track closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow leave-no-trace procedures. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this information, associated GPS track (GPX, KML and maps), and all information was prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed., its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following the information contained in this post.

hokkaidowilds.orgに掲載されるすべてのスキールート、自転車ツーリングルート、ハイキングルートと同様に、本ページに掲載される情報を利用し行動する場合、必ず自己責任で利用することを条件とします。出発する前に現地の天候や状況、通行止め情報などを確認しましょう。行動中は、公有地/私有地に関係なく必ず現地の利用条件を守るようにし、適切な安全装置や、コンパスや地図などのナビゲーション道具を身に着けてください。いうまでもありませんが、自然に与える人間の影響を少なくし、ゴミの持ち帰りをはじめ環境を傷をつけない(Leave No Trace)ようなアウトドア行動にしましょう。本サイトに掲載される情報はあくまで計画を立てるための一つの情報源に過ぎなく、行為者の先んじて払ってしかるべき正当な注意義務及び努力と合わせて利用することを条件とします。本ページのGPSトラック(GPXとKMLと地図)を含む情報は提供者のできる限り正確な調べにより提供しているものの、その情報の正確性や、提供者の行動判断は、hokkaidowilds.orgは一切の責任を負いかねなく保証できません。また、本ページに掲載される情報を利用することによるいかなる怪我、器物損壊等、その他事件 ・事故等においてhokkaidowilds.orgや本サイトの関係者は一切の責任を負いかねます。

Comments | Queries | Reports

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See More Like this