Daisetsuzan National Park: What you Need to Know about Hiking in Japan’s Largest Wilderness

Andrew AstonMarch 11, 2019

Situated among highly mountainous terrain featuring some truly astonishing and stunning forests, woods, lakes, waterways and alpine meadows, Daisetsuzan National Park is one of the most beautiful locations in all of Japan, located on the island of Hokkaido, in the North of the country.

The landscape of the park is dominated by three distinct volcanic groups, the Daisetsuzan, Tokachi and Shikaribetsu, and it draws visitors from all over the world who are attracted to its raw natural beauty and brilliant conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking.

The park has long been recognized for its beauty, with its unspoiled wilderness featuring a wide array of rich and vivaciously coloured flowers and vegetation, as well as numerous animal species such as deer, brown bears, birds and foxes.

Some of the most rugged landscape, scenery and terrain in Japan is located within the park, which was established in 1934, and nestled within is the peak of Asahidake (2290m), the highest summit on the island of Hokkaido.

There are numerous hiking adventures to partake in among the park, ranging from gentle, single-day trips to more challenging multi-day trips.

To get you excited for your next hiking holiday here, we’ve taken the time to compile a list of useful information you’ll need to know to plan your trip.

Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
The sheer beauty of the national park. Photo courtesy of Jun Ishiguro.

3 Reasons to go Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park

Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
Hiking here is fun, interesting and easy. Photo courtesy of Yasuko Kikuchi.

The Views and Scenery

Outdoor adventurers have been visiting this region for years in order to enjoy its sublime beauty. Whether you climb to the top of one of the towering and majestic volcanoes or hike around their bases, you will be met by stunning views at every turn.

The combination of  huge volcanoes, mesmerizing waterfalls, tranquil lakes, lovely hot springs, lush vegetation and absolutely breath-taking and colorful flowers  means there is no shortage of stunning scenery to take in. You will constantly be reaching for your camera!

The Variety of Hiking

There is something for everyone when it comes to hiking around Daisetsuzan National Park.

There are several gentle and easy 1-day hikes, often entailing reaching the summit of one mountain over the course of the day, and can be done by most people with a decent level of fitness.

The multi-day trips are slightly more challenging, but not to an extreme level, and it is one these trips that you will have ample time to truly take in and bask in the sheer beauty of much of the landscape.

Either way, whatever trip you choose will guarantee much beauty and many unforgettable memories.

The Flora and Fauna

Despite the at-times harsh weather conditions, there is a an astonishing array of exquisite alpine flora and fauna in the park, with the blooming flowers each year being a particular highlight for many.

There are also opportunities to encounter many of the exotic and wild animals that live in the park, some of which can only survive and thrive in the cold alpine climate of this region.

Where to Go? Best Spots / Itineraries in Daisetsuzan National Park

Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
There is spectacular scenery at every turn. Photo courtesy of Jun Ishiguro.

By far the most popular place to hike on and around in the national park is the volcanic peak of Asahidake, standing at 2290m high, and the majority of trips on offer will go via here.

There are several nearby peaks which are also popular to hike, and these are often scaled in combination with Asahidake, with some of the best including Hakuundake (2230m), Kurodake (1984m), Tomuraushi (2141m) and Chubetsudske (1963m).

Check out one of our 4-day hikes, here, which entails hiking on and up all of the above mountains.

Alternatively, we have a 1-day adventure that involves hiking up Asahidake and Kurodake, here.

What is the best time to go hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park?

Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
June, July and August are the best months to hike. Photo courtesy of Jun Ishiguro.

Due to its very cold and arctic climate for most of the year, the best time to go hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park is from June-August, when the weather is warmest and conditions less hostile.

How to get to Daisetsuzan National Park?

The easiest way to get to Daisetsuzan National Park is to fly to Sapporo, the biggest city and capital of Hokkaido, and then either drive or catch a bus or train to Asahikawa, 137km North.  From there it is a 2-hour bus trip to the national park.

Where to stay to visit Daisetsuzan National Park?

Hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
Some of the blooming flowers of the park. photo courtesy of Jun Ishiguro.

For all multi-day hikes, you will either be spending each night in tents to camp in, or in one of the non-serviced, basic mountain huts dotted around the park.

For those who would rather attempt 1-day hikes from a base, the two best places to stay are either Kurodake, a nearby ski resort with modern facilities, or Sounkyo, an area of the park known for its hotels and hot spring resorts.

As can be seen, Daisetsuzan National Park is a true wonderland of idyllic and amazing hiking, with plenty to see and fun hikes. Book your hiking trip now to experience the magic and beauty of Daisetsuzan National Park.

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