Hiking in Niseko
17 Sep, 2010
Mt Niseko-Anupurri is much better known for its skiing and snowboarding than it’s hiking and for good reason. The mountain has some of the greatest riding on the planet and every year people come in droves to experience just that. Summer is a very different story though. At this time the area is relatively quiet, warm and green, provides us with a gentler mountain experience and usually much better visibility.
Standing at 1308 meters Mt Niseko Annupurri is reasonably high for a Japanese mountain as the view from the top testifies. There are a number of hiking trails on the mountain, the one we chose is fairly short, easily accessible by car and offers superb views of the surrounding area from Shakotan to Hakodate.
The trailhead is located on the right hand side of Goshiki Onsen and has a good-sized parking lot. There are a couple of walks starting from this point so be careful you don’t find your self walking to Mt Moiwa. The Niseko-Annupurri trail is the second trail up from the bottom of the car park.
The hike is fairly steep from the beginning and takes about an hour to get to the summit. The trail begins by winding through lush vegetation and as you gain elevation the vegetation begins to thin and you find yourself in a more sub alpine environment and the trail begins to follow a rocky ridge. From here the view just gets better and better until finally you reach the top and look across to Mt Yotei and down on the Hirafu Resort.
The hike is very accessible by either car or bus and buses depart twice daily from both Niseko and Kutchan stations. There is accommodation readily available at Goshiki Onsen and Hirafu Village. You can even return to Hirafu via the ski resort lift, which is open during summer.