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Intro to Ice Climbing in Sounkyo, Hokkaido

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

Mountain RangeDaisetsuzan
Duration2 days
Offer periodJan, Feb
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripPrivate


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.



Accommodation options in NISEKO: - Hotel Kanronomori: Japanese style onsen hotel (half-board). JPY 12000~20,000 (pp per night) - Goshiki Onsen: An Onsen accommodation in the mountains, far from ski resorts. Self catering JPY 4,000. Half board JPY 10,000. - The Woodpeckers: mountain hut-like accommodation, just below Niseko Moiwa ski resort. Half-board included. JPY 7,500. Accommodation options in TOKACHI: - Ryounkaku: Half-board with onsen. JPY 10,000. - Hakuginso: Self catering. Guide can arrange booking. Amazing onsen outside! JPY 3,000 Accommodation options in ASAHIDAKE: - Shirakabaso: For youth. Half board, JPY 8,000 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 Accommodation options in SAPPORO: - Route Inn Sapporo and Sapporo Aspen Hotel: Food not included. JPY 8,000-9,000 - Sapporo Grand Hotel: JPY 10,000-20,000 Accommodation options in OTARU: - Kourakuen: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). JPY 20,000 - Musashitei: Japanese style onsen hotel (half board). JPY 20,000

More info

- Clients need to rent or bring snowshoes and ski poles



About the guide

guide profile img

I am an experienced IFMGA mountain guide, born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan. I started skiing when I was 3 and started climbing when I was 6. My high school years were spent in ski competitions and I joined mountaineering club at University, where I developed my ski mountaineering skills. I have been a ski instructor for Miura Dolphins founded by Yuichiro Miura (first ski descent of the Everest “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” and the oldest Everest summiting record holder at 80 years old) and also supported Yuichiro's Aconcagua ascent and ski descent in 1984 as a part of his 7 summits ski descent challenge.

I was inspired by the works of mountain guides in Chamonix when I visited there in 1983, and decided to start guiding as a mountain guide in Japan in 1989 to share my passion and experiences in outdoors sports with other people, as well as to offer instruction to people enjoying the mountains to be better climbers / skiers. I have also contributed to the proper training of JMGA (Japan Mountain Guides Association) guides and the affiliation of it to IFMGA. I am responsible for the pioneering of the climbing and backcountry skiing scenes in Japan.

My main guiding arena is alpinism, whether it be mountaineering or ski mountaineering, mainly in Hokkaido. I usually take a small group of people (2-5) for Sawanobori (canyoning up waterfalls), alpine climbing, ice climbing, and ski touring in the more remote areas of Japan.

I enjoy finding the best experience for each client accordingly to their physical abilities, preferences, and weather/conditions. I guide because I like watching and feeling that people are enjoying and having fun, and see how this buzz infects other people through skiing and climbing. I find this invaluable as a mountain guide.

There is more to Hokkaido than skiing lift accessible powder in January and February. Please reach out to me to find your own customised way to enjoy Hokkaido’s mountains, natures and culture!

What people are saying about this trip

Prices per person

Group of 1

JPY 103093 each

Group of 2

JPY 72165 each

Group of 3

JPY 51547 each

Group of 5

JPY 15464 each

Want a different number of travellers?

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)

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