4 Unique Summer Hikes and Walking Trails to Add to Your Itinerary
July 21, 2020

4 Unique Summer Hikes and Walking Trails to Add to Your Itinerary

4 Unique Summer Hikes and Walking Trails to Add to Your Itinerary

Lace up your boots, because we've compiled a list of Niseko's best summer hiking and walking trails. We've included family friendly adventures, options suitable for beginners, and those who are looking for a more adventurous trail.

Why Summer Is Ideal for Hiking

Summer is an exceptional time to get outdoors and experience nature. Hokkaido summers are particularly pleasant due to frequently mild temperatures and low humidity. After the snow melts, there is an endless array of mountains, volcanoes, calderas and marshes to explore.

How to Prepare for Your Next Hike

To ensure you are prepared for whatever adventure you decide to embark on, we recommend packing the following items:

  • Hiking boots – Ensure you have a sturdy, comfortable pair that will keep your ankles protected in case of uneven terrain.
  • Insect repellant – To help protect against black fly (buyo), mosquito and other insect bites, be sure to spay yourself from head to toe before venturing out on the trail.
  • Sun protection – Rain or shine, it's important to protect yourself against the sun and UVA/UVB rays. We recommend wearing sunscreen, a hat and pair of sunglasses.
  • Bear bell – As a safety precaution and depending on your terrain, check in advance if you need a bear bell. Doing so will help warn bears or other animals of your presence so you don't accidentally startle them.
  • Water and food – Be prepared with enough water and food for the length of your hike or walk to keep you hydrated and energised.

1. Kutchan Asahigaoka Ski

Asahigaoka is a small ski hill located behind Kutchan train station. In winter, the slope provides an area for local residents to practice snow sports. However in the green season, the slope transforms into a mountain bike flow trail and a beginner friendly walking trail emerges. The path to the top of the hill is made of concrete, with the trail head directly opposite the parking area.

Portions of the trail can feel relatively steep, however bottom to top should take you roughly 10-15 minutes making it suitable for families and beginners. The path takes you through tranquil forest, and you are rewarded with amazing views of Kutchan town, Mt Yotei and beyond.

We suggest packing a picnic or bento to enjoy on the grass at the base if you wish to make a day of it. At the bottom of the hill there is also a pump track, so be sure to bring along bicycles or skateboards for extra fun.

We recommend this hike for: This hike is suitable for all levels of fitness
Approximate trip length: 20-30 minutes (round trip)

Kutchan Asahigaoka Ski Hill and Flow Trail
Kutchan Asahigaoka Pump Track
Kutchan Asahigaoka Park
View of Kutchan Town from the top of Kutchan Asahigaoka Ski Hill

2. Lake Hangetsu

Lake Hangetsu, also known as "Half Moon Lake" for its crescent shape, is a volcanic crater that sits at the west foot of Mt Yotei and is surrounded by lush forests. A popular site with the MnK team, Lake Hangetsu provides the ideal terrain for a snowshoe adventure in winter and orienteering in the summer months with our EdVenture kids' camp participants.

Free parking with access to a toilet is available at Hangetsukohan Natural Park Parking Lot. The trailhead begins at the set of stairs beside the toilet block. After walking approximately 10 minutes, there is a signboard indicating the direction to travel to the lake. A somewhat narrow and relatively steep path will lead you lakeside, and you will reach the shore after another 5 minutes or so.

We recommend this hike for: This hike is suitable for all levels of fitness
Approximate trip length: 20-30 minutes (round trip)

Hangetsu Lake in autumn
Carpark and toilet at Hangetsu Lake
Aerial view of Hangetsu Lake during summer
Our EdVenture kids' camp participant drawing lakeside

3. Cape Kamui

The Cape Kamui walking trail delivers magnificent 360 degree views of the Sea of Japan. Witness rugged cliffs and clear blue water, famously referred to as "Shakotan blue", on this unique scenic trail. Located on the Shakotan Peninsula, Cape Kamui juts out into the sea, providing the perfect vantage point to take in all the sights around you.

Make your way to the Kamuimisaki Parking Lot, located 1 hour and 30 minutes' drive from Niseko. From here, you can follow the well maintained trail to the cape, taking around 60 minutes for a round trip. Observation decks are available along the way allowing you to stop and soak up the views. If your time is limited, you can also enjoy views from the Nyonin Kinsei gate.

We recommend this hike for: This hike is suitable for all levels of fitness
Approximate trip length: 40-60 minutes (round trip)

Cape Kamui surrounded by crystal clear blue water
Stop along the way and enjoy the views of the Japan Sea
The trail is well maintained with observation points along the way

4. Mt. Tarumae

Mt. Tarumae is an active volcano located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, with an altitude of 1,041m. The mountain was formed by an eruption in the Shikotsu caldera some 9,000 years ago and as such, the slope consists mainly of rock and volcanic ash.

There is a small parking lot at the 7th station (650m above sea level), and from the trailhead the hike to the summit takes around an hour. Do note that during peak hiking season, this carpark can fill up quickly, especially on weekends. Overall, the hike is a few sightly challenging steep sections. Be sure to wear hiking boots as the gravel leading to the peak can prove slippery. Once at the crater's edge, you can walk all the way around, adding an extra hour or so to your trip. Enjoy dramatic views across Lake Shikotsu, the Chitose Plains and the Pacific Ocean.

We recommend this hike for: This hike is suitable for all levels of fitness
Approximate trip length: 1.75 hours (an additional 1 hour if you walk around the caldera rim)

Share your summer moments with us

We hope that you and your family or friends have an incredible summer in Hokkaido, and are able to tick a few if not all of these hiking and walking trails off your list. If you would like further recommendations on hiking and walking trails in Niseko, be sure to get in touch with our friendly reservations and guest services team. Be sure to tag your hiking moments with our hashtag #mnkmoments so that we can catch up on all your adventures.

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