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Hiking & Trekking

Hiking & Trekking in the Hakuba Valley

hakuba summerIf you come to Hakuba in the summer (and between you and I, you really should) chances are you'll want to get your walking boots on and go on a ramble or two. There's so much to choose from the only difficulty comes in picking a route to do! Fortunately, the Hakuba Valley possess one of the most complete and well maintained network of mountain footpaths in the Japanese mountains. With so many marked trails in the valley, walking here can be as easy or as technical as you want it to be.

Below are some of our tried and tested suggestions for walks and hikes in the area. There are routes to suit those of you that would like a gentle promenade, suitable routes if walking with children and some longer day hikes for the relatively active walker.

 
Before Heading Off......

oldfolk hiking hakubaAlthough the footpaths are very well maintained and signposted, you should always exercise caution when venturing into the mountains, particularly at the beginning of season when there may still be snow covering some parts of the footpaths which must therefore be crossed with caution.
Before you embark on any activities in the mountains you should remember that you are likely to be at a considerably higher altitude with more rugged terrain than you are used to at home. For that reason it is particularly recommended that you:

  • Are as physically fit as possible - Ensure you are fully aware of your limitations and of those accompanying you (children and elderly people)
  • Are appropriately equipped - Choose sturdy footwear with ankle support, warm, water repellent clothing (even if the sun’s been beating down for days), sun cream, sunglasses, map, plenty water, food and snacks, first aid kit....
  • Allow plenty time for your chosen route - Additionally, leave an extra margin in case of incident. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Nightfall may take you by surprise so it is wise to carry a flashlight
  • Stay on the marked trails - This is especially important on steep slopes or precipices. Never take short cuts as doing so causes erosion, channeling the rain water and resulting in deterioration of the trails that are so hard to maintain
  • Respect the environment - The mountains here are breathtakingly beautiful but the balance of nature is very fragile. In order to maintain the beauty of the valley; don’t light fires, ensure you take your rubbish with you, leave the flowers for others to admire and avoid making excessive noise that may disturb the wildlife.
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    Getting Around and Up the Mountains

    Tsugaike Gondola

    Getting around the Hakuba Valley and up into its high mountain terrain is made easy thanks to gondolas and chairlifts that are used widely by walkers and climbers alike, whisking you up to around 1500m, or taking you back down! Using the lifts can cut a good 2 hours off a walk thus enabling you more time to enjoy the views at a higher altitude without unnecessary slog. The lift system comes into its own in the event of deteriorating weather, injury or just plain tiredness, when it will swiftly transport you back to the valley floor (providing you are within the lift operating hours).

     
    Gentle Walks in the Valley

    3 peaks

    There are numerous walks around the valley. Some of our favourites are as follows.

    • Iwatake forest and Iwatake ski area. (can you find the goats?)

    Highland Ski Area. - Check out the woods between Green Sports Park and Highland Ski Area (Some great views to be had)

    Water wheel and Oshida Suspension Bridge. Beautiful area throughout the year. (You'll see many people painting)

     

     
    One Day Hikes Above 2000m

    Happo Ike

    The following high altitude hikes are all largely based above 2000m and give some of Hakuba's most picturesque views of the valley.

    Happo-ike Pond (xxxxm)

    Starting Point: Top of Grat Qaud (Happo-One)

    Duration About 90 mins one way.

    Happo-ike Pond is a particular favourite of ours as it offers a truly alpine route without the need for proper mountaineering skills. From the top of the Grat Quad its about a 90min climb along the rocky Happo ridge first to the top of Happo Mountain. (1974m). The course is clearly marked with  wood decking over wetlands as well as a rocky path. There is a toilet facility at xxx. Further up you will come to xxx Cairn. This itself is a good viewing point but its only another 350m to Happo -ike Pond.

    The pond circumference is about 300m. On most clear days the peaks of the adjacent mountains are reflected off the surface. There are plenty of alpine flowers to view. Please note further up the mountain will require some mountaineering skills.

     

    tsugaike autumnTsugiake Nature Park (1850m 2010m)

    Starting Point: Top of Ropeway at Tsugaike Ski Area

    Duration: About 1.5 hours

    Take the gondola Eve and Tsugaike Ropeway to the top of the mountain. From the Nature Park entrance it is an enjoyable walk on wood decking over wetlands in the national park. The park is still covered in snow from up to about mid June. In mid summer alpine flowers bloom beautifully. In autumn the fall colors of red and bright yellow bring in the photographers looking for that one shot. Views across to the Hakuba three peaks is amazing. This route is suitable for children.

     
    Multiple Day Hikes Above 2000m

    HikingThe following high altitude hikes are all largely based above 2000m and give some of Hakuba's most picturesque views of the valley.

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    Sanosaka view map

    Sanosaka contacts

    Website
    www.sanosaka.com/english/index
    Phone Number
    +81 (0)261 75 2452
    Email
    info@sanosaka.com