SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2013

Best Discovery: Hai Country, Japan

Can you really find true wilderness in the most civilized country on Earth?

by: Ted Alvarez

Sulphur vents steam below 7,516-foot Mt. Asahidake.
Sulphur vents steam below 7,516-foot Mt. Asahidake.
Dwarf Azaleas bloom in the first few weeks of July.
Dwarf Azaleas bloom in the first few weeks of July.
Guest shoes line the entrance to Hakuun Hut.
Guest shoes line the entrance to Hakuun Hut.
A sign warns you're entering bear country near Kogen Onsen.
A sign warns you're entering bear country near Kogen Onsen.

Daisetsuzan Map
Trip Planner

Get there Fly to Sapporo via Tokyo or Osaka ($800-1300 from Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles during high season, June-September). From Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport, catch the Super Kamui #43 to Asahikawa ($54, http://www.hyperdia.com/). From Asahikawa Train Station, ride the shuttle bus to Asahidake Onsen (website TK, five buses a day, $10). Asahidake Ropeway is at the end of the road 1/4 mile from the onsen ($16 one-way, http://wakasaresort.com/eng/).

Huts/Camping Frontcountry camping at traverse endpoints is available the base of Asahidake and Tokachi ($5). Kurodake hut spots ($17) fill up fast on weekend afternoons; camping spots ($5) do not. Same at Hakuun ($10 hut; $5 tent site). Chubetsu, Hisago, Biei-Fuji, and Tokachi huts, as well as Uraasahi, Futagonuma, and Minaminuma tent sites, are all free.

Hotel/Onsen Asahikawa Grand Hotel (from $160, asahikawa-grand.com/eng/). Shirakabaso Youth Hostel is 400 meters from Asahidake ropeway and offers private and dorm-style rooms, including onsen facilities ($35-59, http://park19.wakwak.com/~shirakaba/home2.html). Kogen Onsen ($63, includes traditional dinner and breakfast; http://www.daisetsu-kogen.com/default.htm [site in Japanese])

Season July to August for better weather and flowers, but more visitors. September showcases incredible fall foliage and wildlife activity, but more temperamental weather. Snow typically melts off trails by mid-July; it returns the last week of September.

Gear Daisetsuzan’s capricious and sometimes violent weather necessitates bombproof raingear and tents. Bring crampons and an ice axe in June/early July. Fog can strike anytime—know how to navigate with map and compass. Gear up at the Montbell store in Higashikawa (on the way to Asahidake, -2-2, Higashimachi, Kamikawa-gun, Higashikawa-cho, Hokkaido) and 7-11 (do not leave without eating chicken katsu from the hot case).

Guide
Michiko Aoki ($150/day; info@namaranokuni.com)

Info
 Daisetsuzan National Park: bit.ly/DaisetNP Don't speak Japanese? Contact the Japan National Tourism Organization for planning, logistics, and travel advice. http://www.jnto.go.jp/

Don't-miss trail foods

  • Prepackaged Asahikawa ramen. Not as good as the real stuff, but darn close. (Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen is one brand.)
  • Spicy calpas sausage (available at every convenience store).
  • Japanese-style boiled peanuts.
  • Kaede: maple syrup hard candies
  • Add dried sesame nori (seaweed) to everything
  • -Look for small packages of Teriyaki or curry chicken to add to your riceSapporo Classic beer, an extra-delicious lager only available on Hokkaido



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Southern
SEC! SEC! SEC!
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: CajunHiker
Trailhead Register
New random photo thread.
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: Echo
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions