Hangetsu Lake, also referred to as Half Moon Lake, is the perfect introductory hike. Enjoy a family friendly stroll to the volcanic lake situated at the base of Mt Yotei. Surrounded by dense forest, there is a strong possibility to you will encounter wildlife on your trail. After some light exercise and fresh air, we recommend making a stop at nearby udon restaurant Hozuki. Carry on to handmade gelato store, Ruhiel, if you feel so inclined.
This hiking trail is best visited between May to mid October. Of course, it is possible to complete this hike during winter, but you will need a pair of snowshoes and we suggest taking a local guide. See more here if you are interested in a guided snowshoe tour.
Hangetsu Lake is conveniently located 5-10 minutes' drive from our three MnK resorts. Follow Route 343 until you reach National Route 5. Make a left, then right when you see the sign indicating Mt Yotei's trail head is up ahead. Free parking is available and a toilet is located near the trailhead.
Follow the white sign with an arrow towards the Hangetsu Lake walk. Be aware, there is also a trailhead for a hike up Mt Yotei, so keep left towards the lake. The walkway from the car park will take you the lake's shore. Be prepared with suitable footwear as the path leading to the shore is narrow and steep.
Once you clear the forest containing species such as Yezo spruce, Sakhalin fir, Painted maple and Mountain birch, Mt Yotei and Lake Hangetsu come into view. We suggest budgeting 45 minutes to an hour for the round trip.
A popular lunch spot for locals and tourists alike, Houzuki Udon is a must visit any time of the year. Located only minutes from the Hangetsu walking trail on the corner of Route 343 and National Route 5. Katsuya-san of Hozuki Udon hand makes his udon every morning with Hokkaido wheat and spring water from Mt Yotei, and vegetables are sourced from nearby farms. Be sure to arrive early (sometime between 11:30am – 12:30pm) to avoid long queues, and call ahead to check for opening days.
On a warm day, there is nothing better than an ice cold, home made gelato. As one of Niseko's most well known ice creameries, Ruhiel produces home made, seasonally flavoured gelato. In summer, expect flavours such as gold kiwi, grapefruit, plum, watermelon and melon to be featured on the menu.
From Houzuki Udon, take a right and follow Route 5 until the intersection with Route 631. Turn left, then right about 1.8km down the road until Route 343, where you turn right. Ruhiel is located about 50 metres up ahead on the left. Just look out for the giant ice cream sculpture located on the roadside.