Hiking in Hokkaido

Hokkaido Things to Do

Hokkaido, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 10:58AM

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3 Hokkaido Hiking Spots

Hokkaido is a perfect place for those who enjoy the outdoors. Filled with gorgeous, natural scenery, there are so many mountains, trees, volcanoes - wildlife is abundant on the island. 

Because of this, the perfect thing for people to do is go hiking. There are trails that are perfect for all levels of hikers, and it's a great way to explore the beauty of Hokkaido. For those who aren't sure of what to do in Hokkaido, hiking is a recommended activity here. Just be mindful of the season and weather, as there are places that will be inaccessible during certain times of the year. 

Here is our top three great hiking locations to check out in Hokkaido. We'll have a second part to this article up soon with more hikes including more strenuous hikes listed so keep a lookout! 

1. Noboribetsu Hell Valley

Starting off with a relatively easy hike for any hiker is Noboribetsu Hell Valley as the walkway is paved as a trail and easy to follow. Located more towards the western side of Hokkaido, Noboribetsu is right on the southern edge of the island bordering the sea. Noboribetsu is famous for their hot springs, particularily in a place called Jigokudani or Hell's Valley. It is a popular spot in Noboribetsu for their many walking trails. People can walk up and enjoy the view of Oyunuma, a sulphurous body of water, and also enjoy a hot spring footbath, dependent upon the trail taken. There are some more advanced trails, but some easy walking ones as well, and it is up to you to decide the course best suited for you.

2. Mount Usu

Mount Usu is an active volcano whose last eruption was around March and April of 2000. Due to the eruptions, many new craters were formed and it resulted in more walking trails along the volcano as well. The walking trails are more paved and classified as easy to medium in level, although there are stairs involved down one trail that some may find strenuous and tiring. There are two main trails- the Kompirayama Walking Trail and the Nishiyama Crater Walking Trail. There are also hikes that you can take along the rim of the volcano, and it is most easily accessible first by cable car. Hikers can be treated to the view of gas escaping along the side of the craters as well, and it is a reminder of the activity of the volcano. It is, however, a beautiful spot with some natural wonders that make walking and hiking up slopes worthwhile.

3. Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park is a perfect place for those who enjoy spending time outdoors and hiking. Trails are classified as easy to difficult so there are options for different levels of hiker. The most accessible trails are numbered, but there are multi-day hikes to slightly more remote areas for those who are more adventurous or experienced. Located in eastern Hokkaido, this is a fairly frequented location. Known for the beautiful landscapes, some people partake in multi-day treks here to see more of the park and increasing the likelihood of seeing amazing wildlife, albeit hopefully from a distance. Bears, foxes, and deers have been spotted here and it can make for a potentially great place for wildlife photographers as well. Hiking here can be long and complicated because many of the places are not easily accessible, but there are short hikes for those who prefer a brisk walk. 
Spring, summer, and fall are the recommended times to go, as in the winter the snow can sometimes inhibit you from being able to hike. Depending on conditions, hikes may be closed or inaccessible, so that is something to keep in mind. 

Friendly Reminders and recommendations

It is better to be prepared no matter what type of hike you're planning on partaking in especially in a foreign area. A few things to remember prior to going on a hike are to bring the appropriate equipment and wear appropriate attire. With a bit of preplanning you can prevent any injuries or such, so it's a good idea to research a bit about the place you plan to go hike. Some areas may be slippery, rocky, or have the potential for wildlife encounters, and it's a good idea to stay informed and bring any necessary supplies. Bringing items such as sunblock, bug spray, and water is also a good idea as you never know if you will need it. Many of these hiking places especially if you venture deeper into wooded or mountainous areas, do not have restrooms, so it is expected that you bring a wastebag. In addition, wearing the correct footwear can result in a not only more comfortable hike, but a safer one as well. 

Hokkaido is also known for their wildlife including bears and snakes. It is always a good idea to leave wildlife alone and observe from a distance. There are bears found in many places throughout Hokkaido, especially in Shiretoko, and it's best to leave them undisturbed. Locals recommend wearing bells to alert bears to your presence so you do not startle them and provoke a dangerous situation. 

Hokkaido has so many more beautiful places to hike, and hiking something amazing to do to be able to see the natural beauty of the place.

Happy Hokkaido Hiking!

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