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Intro to Ice Climbing in Sounkyo, Hokkaido

Hire a local certified mountain guide, Yu, for a 2-day ice climbing trip to explore the ice climbing scene in Sounkyo, Hokkaido!


2 Days

Jan, Feb




Sounkyo Ice Climbing.

I'd like to introduce ice climbing in Hokkaido, in Japan, and show you that Hokkaido is not all about skiing! I will take you to Daisetsuzan area for 2 days, which is the best known ice climbing area in Hokkaido, with more than 10 large scale waterfalls. The scenic gorges have a lot of both ice and mixed routes.

This course is more for beginners or those with some prior experience.

Required Levels:

Beginner / Intermediate – You will need to have had a prior summer rock climbing experience, as you would need to know how to belay someone. You need to be fit enough to walk the 30min approach, and be comfortable crossing a section of water with water level lower than knee height in wellington boots (available for rent if feet size in between 25-27cm at JPY 1,000 per pair) or on bare foot.

Beginners to ice climbing are very welcome!


Day 1: From Sapporo, we will drive to Sounkyo valley (140km, 3hrs), located within Daisetsuzan National Park. We will head to "Ginga no taki" (Waterfall of Galaxy) for ice climbing (120m, WI3*, 4 pitches). Overnight stay at an accommodation with onsen.

Day 2: Visit the "Kinshi no taki" (Waterfall of Tinsel) for ice climbing (100m, WI3/4*, 3 pitches). A relaxing dip in an onsen before driving back to Sapporo. Estimated time of return is around 6pm.

*Ice Climbing Grades:

WI3 – generally sustained in the 60-70 degree range with occasional near-vertical steps up to 4 metres

WI4 – near-vertical steps of up to 10 metres, generally sustained climbing requiring placing protection screws from strenuous stances

If you're after a more challenging course then please have a look at my ice climbing programme for more experienced / advanced ice climbers.

Included in Price:-

Guide Fee

Excluded from Price:-


Climate: Temperature in this area ranges from -8 to -15c. The waterfall is in a valley so it is not affected by the wind. Prepare yourself with layers of warm clothes!


– Crampon compatible Mountaineering boots
– Technical ice axes
– Harness
– Helmet
– CramponsItems such as ice axes, harness, helmet, and crampons can be rented at JPY 2,000 each (rental of ice axes are JPY 4,000 for the 2 days). Other ice climbing gears such as ice screws, quick draws etc. will be provided.

Other Info:

  • Reservation opens 6 months prior to the trip date. Please reserve well in advance

  • Full payment needs to be made at least 1 month in advance


  • In case of bad weather / conditions (including road conditions), the trip itinerary may be altered and/or date change can be discussed.

  • Riding on the guide’s car is considered as ride sharing and thus will only covered under normal car insurance. The guide’s responsibility and liability is only applicable from the departure from the start of the approach path until our return to the same point.

  • Please make sure all participants are individual insured appropriately with international travel insurance which specifically covers ice climbing.

  • For any injuries in the mountains, the guide will not be liable and will need to be paid by your own means.

Accommodation options in SOUNKYO:

Mount View Hotel: Onsen, lots of Asian tourists. Half board. JPY 10,000.

Choyo-tei: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). Great food! JPY 15,000-20,000.

Price includes

- Guiding fee

Price details

Accommodation is not included. Please note that clients will have to pay for the guide´s accommodation expense on the spot as well (JPY 10,000 per night, including half-board)


More info

- Clients need to rent or bring snowshoes and ski poles

Meeting point

About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Guide

I am an JMGA mountain and ski guide born in the local village of Obihiro in Hokkaido. Mountains have always been close to me, as I started climbing mountains when I was 8. My mountain passion extended to backcountry skiing since 2006, around which time I also started guiding in the mountains.

I decided to become a mountain guide because not only did I like being in the mountains as a climber but I got more joy out of sharing the experiences and excitements with the people I climbed with. I just really enjoy it when others are also having a fun time!

I guide and enjoy both skiing and telemark skiing, but I prefer telemark skiing for its higher versatility in the mountains. Telemarking lets you enjoy the mountains in a different mindset to skiing. Even though it is more challenging to ski on them especially on more technical terrains but I embrace the challenge it offers. I also find it much easier to hike up on my telemarks than on my skis.

In the summer, my favourite guiding is long mountain traverse routes whilst in the winter my guiding activity includes backcountry skiing, snowshoe trekking, and ice climbing in Hokkaido. The beauty of guiding gin the winter is that one is not confined to ‘hiking routes’ like in the summer. My guiding fields of choice are places near Sapporo, Niseko and Daisetsuzan (Asahidake) area for backcountry skiing, but mostly I guide long routes on less crowded, more local mountains. It is my guiding policy, to not guide "slack country skiing", where we need to stick to the sides of ski resorts and is crowded with people. I feel there is more value add for me to take groups away from the crowds in less known areas best suited for the day’s condition and the weather.
As for popular areas, I do guide Mt Yotei (on the sides with less people), and Asahidake area but there isn’t much peak hunting to be done in Hokkaido.

My passion is to guide my clients to less populated areas, let them discover new areas and new kind of fun. I want visitors from all over the world to enjoy the accessible famous powder snow in Hokkaido, but I’d also like for you to venture into the depth of the mountains with me and to experience having the mountain all to ourselves. Please contact me if you’re keen on discovering the Hokkaido nature with me, whether it be in the summer or the winter!



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What people are saying about this trip



Takao is very professional. I enjoy climbing with him very much. Also, the waterfall at 2nd day leave a good memories for me. If I climb in Japan again, I will find him again.



Great, experienced guide. Very knowledgeable and professional and had a great time. Would definitely recommend.



We had a wonderful time ice climbing despite some rather crazy weather conditions! Takao was great company, very clearly experienced in the area and equipped with all necessary equipment. He was always on time and made exceptional efforts to get us out to the ice and back safely to Sapporo. The onsen, river crossing and thigh-high snow trek were as important as the actual climbing to the whole experience. We highly recommend and hope to be back to the area for summer climbing!



Great, experienced guide. Very knowledgeable and professional and had a great time. Would definitely recommend.

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