- October 1st, 2014
[Mt. Asahidake in Daisetsuzan Mountain Range] Most Earliest Beautiful Fall Foliage in Japan and Onsen Can Be Enjoyed in God's Beautiful Garden
Mt. Asahidake (旭岳) is an active volcano at an altitude of 2,291 m in Higashikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city. In Omote-daisestu Area (表大雪エリア), Daisetsuzan National Park, the Mt. Asahidake is the highest mountain in Daisetsuzan Mountain Range (大雪山), and is also the highest mountain in Hokkaido. The Daisetsuzan Mounatin Range has been called "Kamuimintara (カムイミンタラ)" by Ainu people since a very long time ago, and means "A garden that gods have a good time" in Ainu lanugae, and I think that you will be satisfied with the translator if you see a grandmagnificent scenery. But an another meaning is "a home of brown bears", and local people call here a nest of the brown bears, so a lot of the bears inhabit. Asahidake Onsen (旭岳温泉) at the mountainside is a sightseeing base that about 300,000 tourists come in the Daisetsuzan National Park along with Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉), and is popular with hikers as trailheads for the Daisetsuzan Mounatin Range.
There are beautiful spots to see fall foliage, Asahidaira (旭平) and Susoaidaira (裾合平), and there are Komadome Falls (駒止の滝), Gama-iwa Rock (ガマ岩) and Daisetsu Asahidake Spring Water (大雪旭岳源水), too. A skunk cabbage can be enjoyed in a spring, Mountain climbing, fresh green and a camping ground can be enjoyed in a summer, Fall foliage and hiking can be enjoyed in an autumn, and Skiing, a snowshoe tour and cross country skiing can be enjoyed in a winter. Cross country skies, snowshoes and rainboots can be hired at Asahidake Visitor Center (旭岳ビジターセンター).
There are 2 free parking lots between Asahidake Ropeway and Hotel Bearmonte, and at the Asahidake Youth Campsite. The parking lot between the Asahidake Ropeway and the Hotel Bearmonte is full immediately during the fall foliage season, so first come, first served. By the way, direct buses, Ideyu-go (いで湯号), run between the Asahikawa to the Asahidake. Unfortunately, nonstop buses do not run from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport to the Asahidake Onsen.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園) in the center of Hokkaido is the largest national park in Japan, the size of 226,764 ha, and has been designed as the national park since 1934, and is the oldest national park in the Hokkaido along with Akan Mashu National Park (阿寒摩周国立公園). A mountain named Daisetsuzan does not exist, and the whole area including the mountains with over 2,000 m above sea level such as Mt. Asahidake (旭岳), the highest mountain in Hokkaido, Mt. Kurodake (黒岳), Mt. Aibestudake (愛別岳), Mt. Tomuraushi (トムラウシ山) is collectively called "Daisetsuzan", and those are called "A roof of the Hokkaido" ,too. Rare nature such as active volcanoes, Lare Columnar joints, a sea of trees and permafrost even in the Hokkaido can be seen. About 250 types of alpine plants grow naturally, and various forms of life such as brown bear, blakiston's fish owl, dolly varden and pine grosbeak inhabit here. By the way, A right notation is "Daisetsuzan", but local people often call "Taisetsuzan". Read More
List of Mt. Asahidake Tourist Attractions
There are the Asahidake Onsen, the Mt. Asahidake, the Susoaidaira (裾合平), the Asahidaira (旭平), Tennyogahara Marsh (天女ヶ原湿原), Komadome Falls (駒止の滝) and Daisetsu Asahidake Spring Water (大雪旭岳源水). My visited places are as follows.
The Asahidaira has 3 trail courses to the Mt. Asahidake, the Susoaidaira, and the Amagahara. The Amagahara course conects an entrance of a ropeway with Sugatami Station (姿見駅), and its length is about 3.4 km. It takes from a hour and a half to 2 hours on foot. As for the Mt. Asahidake course and the Susoaidaira course, hikers can go a round trip via those. In case of hiking to the Mt. Asahidake first, the hikers go ahead counterclockwise, and in case of hiking to the Susoaidaira first, the hikers go ahead clockwise. The Susoaidaira is famous for a beautiful wild flower field of Geum pentapetalum (チングルマ), and it is in full bloom from mid July to late July. Additionally, the autumn Geum pentapetalum is marvelous, and the best season to see those is from mid September to late September. It takes 7 hours to go a round trip, and its length is about 12 km. The hikers had better bring foods, water, a bear bell, a handy toilet and a raincoat. Amazing views can be seen during fall foliage season. I will try to hike next time.
Asahidake Onsen (旭岳温泉) is a popular hot-spring place at 1100 m above sea level in Higashikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city, and is located in the Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園). It is a base for a trailhead to Daisetsuzan Mountains (大雪山連峰) or sightseeing of Asahidake Ropeway, and 9 accommodations dot for 1 km. There are Asahidake Visitor Center (旭岳ビジターセンター), a ski resort, a ropeway, Komadake Falls (駒止の滝) and Asahidake Youth Campsite (旭岳青少年野営場) in the Asahidake Onsen. Unfortunately, restraunts, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built. Hiking courses and cross-country skiing courses are built around the Asahidake Onsen, and birdwatching can be enjoyed. Mt. Asahidake (旭岳) in the Daisetsuzan National Park is famous for a beauty spot for fall foliage, and it is said that the earliest autumn leaves in Japan have a good reputation, so a lot of tourists come in an autumn. the cross-country skiing, ski and snowshoes can be enjoyed from a winter to a spring, and hiking and trekking can be enjoyed in a summer. The snowshoes are rented at the Asahidake Visitor Center. Read More
Asahidake Onsen Guide Map in Japanese
Asahidaira Hiking Course Tour
Asahidaira Hiking Course (旭平の散策コース) is a trail at the mountainside of the Mt. Asahidake, and is popular with common tourists that can enjoy the Mt. Asahidake, Lake Chubetsu (忠別湖), wild flowers and fall foliage. Hikers can make a round tip for a hour from June to October, and its length is about 1.7 km. Except those season, that is covered with snow. Pika or Chipmunk can be seen if you are lucky.
Asahidaira Hiking Course Map in Japanese
Admission free, but if you want to take the ropeway, you must pay a fare. One‐way ticket Adult: JPY 1,800, Child: JPY 900. Round‐trip ticket Adult: JPY 2,900, Child: JPY 1,450. In case of the hiking, it takes from a hour and a half to 2 hours between the entrance of the ropeway and the Sugatami Station on foot, and its length is about 3.4 km. Asahidake Ropeway Parking Lot (旭岳ロープウェイ駐車場) is free of charge from November to May, but it is charged for JPY 500 from June to October. The public parking lot for free is nearby the parking, but it is often fulled immediately during fall foliage season.
If you want to enjoy easy hiking, the Asahidaira is most suitable. Speaking of the Mt. Asahidake, a lot of people often refer to the Asahidaira Hiking Course. Visitors can move from Yamafumoto Station (山麓駅) at 1,100 m above sea level to the Sugatami Station (姿見駅) at 1,600 m above sea level for about 10 minutes by the Asahidake Ropeway (旭岳ロープウェイ). A restroom and a souvenir shop are at the Sugatami Station, and a restroom, a souvenir shop and a restaurant are at the Yamafumoto Station. The Mt. Asahidake turns into a ski resort in a winter.
1st Lookout (第一展望台), 2nd Lookout (第二展望台), 3rd Lookout (第三展望台), 4th Lookout (第四展望台), 5th Lookout (第五展望台), Sugatami Lookout (姿見展望台), Mangetsu Pond (満月沼), Suribachi Pond (摺鉢池), Kagami Pond (鏡池), Sugatami Pond (姿見の池), Fumarole (噴気口), Asahidake-isimuro Stone Hut (旭岳石室) and a bell of love (愛の鐘) are along the Asahidaira Hiking Course. The Mt. Asahidake is well-known as a place that the earliest colored leaves can be seen in Japan, too, because it is located in the Hokkaido (the northernmost mainland of the Japan), and is the highest mountain in the Hokkaido. In the Asahidaira, the visitors can enjoy the earliest fall foliage, too. Plants such as Rhododendron aureum (キバナシャクナゲ), the Geum pentapetalum and Sorbus matsumurana (ウラジロナナカマド) grow naturally, and those flowers or fall foliage are popular.
highlights of the Asahidaira are the Fumarole and the Sugatami Pond. Active steam makes the visitors feel the energy of the earth. An image of the Mt. Asahidake reflected in the surface of the Sugatami Pond is good, too. The Sugatami Lookout with the bell of Love and the Asahidake-isimuro Stone Hut is the largest lookout in the Asahidaira, and a lot of visitors come. Here is a turning back point. By the way, the walking path is made of woods and small rocks, and steps are very uneven, so you had better wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes.
Atmosphere of Mt. Asahidake Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Admission free|
|Parking lot||Toll parking lot is provided (JPY 500). Free parking is provided (80 Cars)|
|Business hours||09:00-17:00 * It chenages depending on seasons|
|Regular closing day||Irregular closing day|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||796 861 007*30|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Mt. Asahidake. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Daisetsuzan National Park is here
Daisetsuzan National Park
A page of Hokkaido Fall Foliage is here
Hokkaido Fall Foliage
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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