- July 2nd, 2017
[Mt. Esan in Hakodate] Blue Sea and Superb Views Can Be Enjoyed in Place Like Different World
- Mt. Esan
- List of Lookouts at Mt. Esan
- List of accommodations
Mt. Esan (恵山) is an active volcano with 618 m of the altitude in the eastern part of Hakodate city, the easternmost of Oshima Peninsula (渡島半島). Around there has been desinged as Esan Prefectural Natural Park (恵山道立自然公園). Mizunashi-Kaihin Onsen (水無海浜温泉), Esan Onsen (恵山温泉), Ishida Onsen (石田温泉) and Misaki Onsen (御崎温泉) are at foot of the Mt. Esan, but the Mizunashi-Kaihin Onsen are not linked with others via a road, so visitors should make a detour. The Mt. Esan is well-known as an easy trekking mountain for beginner hikers, and Yezo Mountain Azalea is full in bloom from late May to early June, and it is a famous place to see fall foliage, too. The end of Esan-Tozan Road (恵山登山道) beside Esan Onsen Ryokan (恵山温泉旅館) is Esan Kakogen Parking Lot (恵山火口原駐車場). The Esan-Tozan Road under traffic control is available from 06:00 to 18:00. Do not be left behind! A public restroom and a resting station are built around the parking lot. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge, too.
Mt. Esan Brochure (Japanese)
The Mt. Esan from the sea side looks an usual small mountain covered with green plants, but probably Mt. Esan from the back side is true. The surafce of the mountain is rough, and it emits smoke. The color of the mountain just looks like Jigokudani (地獄谷 * Hell Valley) in Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉). The Mt. Esan also has a place called Sai-no-Kawara (賽の河原 * Children's Limbo), and early peoples wanted to name around volcanoes dread names for some reason. I wonder if those might be catchy names. Some lookouts and hiking courses are built at the mountain, and Kaikyo Lookout (海峡展望台) and Esan Azalea Park (恵山つつじ公園) are relatively close to the Esan Kakogen Parking Lot.
At the Esan Azalea Park, Esan Azalea Festival (恵山つつじまつり) is held from late May to early June.
Kaikyo Lookout (恵山展望台) is a lookout at about 350 m above sea level on the mountainside of Mt. Esan (恵山) with 618 m of the altitude in the eastern part of Hakodate city, and comes into sight after finishing going up Esan-Tozan Road (恵山登山道) with some s-curves beside Esan Onsen Ryokan (恵山温泉旅館). I suppose that its name is named after a view of Tsugaru Strait (津軽海峡). * The Kaikyo means "A strait" in Jappanese. Although a signboard written "Esan Lookout (恵山展望台)" is built, the Esan Lookout is built at an another place, so it is a little more confusing. The Esan-Tozan Road under traffic control is available from 06:00 to 18:00. Do not be left behind ! There is not a facility in particular. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge, too. Read More
Esan Onsen (恵山温泉) is a hot spring place in Esan, Hakodate city located in the eastern part of Hakodate city. Esan Onsen Ryokan (恵山温泉旅館) is built at about 90 m above sea level in the foot of Mt. Esan. There are Esan-Kakokgen (恵山火口原), Esan Observatory (恵山展望台), Misaki Lookout (岬展望台), Azalea Park (つつじ公園), Ishida Onsen (石田温泉) and Misaki Onsen (御崎温泉) around here. Unfortunately, convenience stores are not built around the building. The Esan Onsen Ryokan is adjacent to the Azalea Park that is famous for beautiful azalea. A guide map introduced "The distance between a trailhead and a lookout around a hilltop is 500 m. It takes about 20 minutes on foot". I supposed that it was easy to go up because the distance was very short, but there was very rough path, and the path was a steep slope, and I was considerably out of breath. Esan Tsutsuji Festival (恵山つつじまつり) is held in late May. Read More
Ishida Onsen (石田温泉) is a hot spring place in Esan, Hakodate city located in the eastern part of Hakodate city. Ishida Onsen Ryokan (石田温泉旅館)is built at about 50 m above sea level in the foot of Mt. Esan. There are Esan-Kakokgen (恵山火口原), Esan Observatory (恵山展望台), Misaki Lookout (岬展望台), Azalea Park (つつじ公園), Esan Onsen (恵山温泉) and Misaki Onsen (御崎温泉) around here. Unfortunately, convenience stores are not built around the building. The Ishida Onsen Ryokan is relatively near the Azalea Park that is famous for beautiful azalea. A guide map introduced "The distance between a trailhead and a lookout around a hilltop is 500 m. It takes about 20 minutes on foot". I supposed that it was easy to go up because the distance was very short, but there was very rough path, and the path was a steep slope, and I was considerably out of breath. Esan Tsutsuji Festival (恵山つつじまつり) is held in late May. Read More
Mizunashi-Kaihin Onsen (水無海浜温泉) is a hot spring place at the foot of Mt. Esan in the eastern part of Hakodate city. The distance is around 50 km away from the center of the Hakodate, and a natural onsen and Hotel Cape (ホテル恵風) are built along Hokkaido Road 635 at the easternmost tip of Kameda Peninsula (亀田半島). Drive carefully because a road is narrow. Esan-misaki Park (恵山岬公園) is developed around here, and Esan-misaki Lighthouse (恵山岬灯台) and Hakodate Municipal Lighthouse Museum (函館市灯台資料館) are built there. Unfortunately, restraunts, cafes, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built. Read More
Misaki Onsen (御崎温泉) is a hot spring place in Esan, Hakodate city. Only Hama-no-Yu (浜の湯) is built nearby Esan Fish Port (恵山漁港) at the end of Hokkaido Road 635, and is a secret onsen like a hideout. The distance between the Misaki Onsen and the center of the Hakodate is around 50 km. There are Esan-Kakokgen (恵山火口原), Esan Observatory (恵山展望台), Misaki Lookout (岬展望台), Azalea Park (つつじ公園), Ishida Onsen (石田温泉) and Esan Onsen (恵山温泉) around here. Unfortunately, restraunts, cafes, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built around the Misaki Onsen. Read More
By the way, Express Hakodate-go (高速はこだて号) and Hakodate Limited Express New Star-go (函館特急ニュースター号), express buses, run between Sapporo and the Hakodate. Unfortunately, the express bus does not run between New Chitose Airport and the Hakodate. Besides, Rent-a-car can be rented around Hakodate Station, Hakodate Airport, the Goryokaku Fort and Hakodate Ferry Terminal.
Hakodate (函館) that about 260,000 people live is the 3rd largest port city in Hokkaido, and is a regional hub city of the Southern Hokkaido area. The Hakodate became incorporated with Toi town (戸井), Esan town (恵山), Todohokke village (椴法華) and Minami-kayabe town (南茅部) in 2004, and most of Kameda Peninsula (亀田半島) has changed to the Hakodate. It is one of most popular tourist cities in the Hokkaido, and about 5 million people visit here. The downtown of the Hakodate from Mt. Hakodate toward former Goryokaku fort is developed on a large sandbar between the seas, and a unique seashore landscape is very popular. Although a lot of tourists think the center town of the Hakodate is around Hakodate Station and the Mt. Hakodate, it is around Hakodate Streetcar Goryokaku Koen-mae Stop (函館市電五稜郭公園前駅). The Hakodate is also well-known as a city with a lot of slopes, and there are 19 slopes with its name such as Hachiman-zaka slope (八幡坂), Daisan-zaka slope (大三坂) and Motoi-zaka slope (基坂), so around the Mt. Hakodate has a lot of slope lands, and the Hakodate has a lot of narrow roads. As for a climate, the Hakodate is wamer than other cities in the Hokkaido because it is located of the Southern Hokkaido, and it does not snow hard. Read More
List of Lookouts at Mt. Esan
5 hiking courses, 1,979 m length Gongendo Tozan Course (権現堂登山コース) to the mountain top, 2,283 m length Todohokke Course (椴法華コース) to near the Mizunashi-Kaihin Onsen, 1,337 m length Esan-Tenbodai Course (恵山展望台コース) to Esan Lookout, 2,500 m length Kaikozan Tozan Course (海向山登山コース) to Mt. Kaiko and 1,500 m length Misaki Chobo Course (岬眺望コース) to Misaki Lookout, are built around the Esan Kakogen Parking Lot. The Gongendo Tozan Course and the Kaikozan Tozan Course are mountain hiking, so hiking rules stocks are provided at each trailheads. My visited lookouts are as follows.
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (100 cars)|
|Business hours||Open 24 hours|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||875 183 504*81|
Misaki Lookout is a lookout at about 390 m above sea lavel in the northeast part of Mt. Esan, and visitors can hike from the Mizunashi-Kaihin Onsen side, too. The distance is about 1.5 km from the Esan Kakogen Parking Lot to the Misaki Lookout. It takes from 30-40 minutes on foot. The hiking route is relatively flat, so it is easy to walk rather than other hiking courses. I hiked the Misaki Chobo Course in June 20, 2017.
I walked a trail toward the Misaki Lookout while seeing the Mt. Esan with emiting smoke. Alpine plants such as Rhododendron (シャクナゲ) were coverd with along the trail, and Redvein Enkianthus (サラサドウダン) were in full bloom, too. I forgot daily life very much after seeing the Sai-no-Kawara. It is said that the Mt. Esan is as miraculous efficacy as well as Mt. Osorezan (恐山) at the opposite of Tsugaru Strait (津軽海峡), so some small statues of Buddha are built here and there.
I reached the Misaki Lookout for about 30 minutes on foot. Stone-stacking is a mark. Only a bench is provided at the site. A sightseeing facility is not built. Todohokke area (椴法華の町) and the Pacific Ocean can be viewed if it is fine weather.
Atmosphere of Misaki Lookout Can Be Watched on Youtube
The Esan-Tenbodai Course of about 1.4 km length is the closest to the Esan Kakogen Parking Lot. It is built at about 400 m above sea level, and is famous for enjoying a good view. It takes about 30 minutes on foot. The hiking course is a gentle steep gravel path, so it is a little hard to walk. I visited here to see beautiful fall foliage in November 7, 2018, but my friend says that the unusually bad fall foliage appeared in years because of a violent wind. That is a shame.
I reached the Esan Lookout for about 30 minutes on foot. Nothing disturbs hikers's views, so Aomori Prefecture can be seen through the Tsugaru Strait. It is a nice view! I think that this lookout is the best lookout to easily see the superb view in the lookouts of the Mt. Esan.
Mountaintop of Mt.Esan
The Gongendo Tozan Course of about 2 km length is the most famous hiking course in the Mt. Esan, and the mountaintop is at about 620 m above sea level, and a nice view can be enjoyed there. It takes about 60 minutes on foot. The hiking course is a steep and narrow path with large or small rocks, so it is hard to walk. I went up the hiking course after visiting the Esan Lookout.
A rocky place called "Sai-no-Kawara (賽の河原 * Children's Limbo)" is along a path to a junction with directions of the mountaintop and the Misaki Lookout, and I feel as if I were in different world in a distance, and weathered rocks look like cool designed walls up close. It is nice. But beware of falling rocks if you see it up close.
A relatively steep path continues on from here to the mountaintop. But some parts of wooden steps are built, so it is not hard to walk very much. Hikers head to the mountaintop while seeing the Misaki Lookout and the Pacific Ocean on the left-hand side, and a view is good.
Some caution signs for the falling rocks are built here and there, and the fallen rocks actually are on the path. If the rocks hit hikers, I think they are dead by the rocks. If the earthquake occurs or hearing strange noises while hiking, hikers should beware of the upper part.
Some fumaroles are along the hiking course. The air sometimes smells like sulfur, so beware of volcanic gas depending on the wind direction, too. But onsen fans often want to smell. Yellow crystal of the sulfur is precipitated, too.
Alpine plants grow around the mountaintop, so I was suprised because any plants never grew along the steep path. I felt as if those were well-kept moss of Japanese garden, but those has grown up naturally. It may be said that here is a small garden of Gods.
A mountaintop sign is built on the top of the mountain. Finally, I reached the mountain top. As I expected, a view of the Tsugaru Strait was comfortable. Esan Daigongen Shrine called "Gongendo (権現堂)" is built here. It is said that the shrine was established in 1600s. I am suprised at an unexpected place with one of the oldest shrines in Hokkaido. I suppose that the Mt. Esan has been famous as a sacred mountain since a very long time ago. By the way, wind was strong, so it was a little chilly.
Atmosphere of Mt. Esan Can Be Watched on Youtube
List of accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Mt. Esan. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
Around Mt. Esan
South Part of Hakodate Downtown
North Part of Hakodate Downtown
A page of Hakodate is here
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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