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[Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai] Lave Dome Tour That Hikers Can Enjoy Superb Views

September 22nd, 2015

Mt. Tarumae

Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) is an active volcano at an altitude of 1,041 m in the northwestern part of Tomakomai city, and is well-known as a symbol of the Tomakomai. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the mountain adjoins Mt. Fushidake in the southwestern part of Lake Shikotsu, and is one of 3 major mountain around the Lake Shikotsu together with the Mt. Fushidake and Mt. Eniwadake. Volcanic activity has begined since about 9,000 years ago, and a lave dome called Tarumae Lave Dome (樽前ドーム) was born on the mountaintop when it erupted in 1909. The lave dome has been designed as the Hokkaido Natural Monument since 1967 because of new lave dome. The mountain is well-known for a triple volcano together with Mt. Hakone and Mt. Asama, too, and it is said that it is a rare volcano in the world. A parking lot is free of charge.
Mt. Tarumae Guide Map in Japanese

Lava Dome Has Been Designed as Hokkaido Natural Monument
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

This mountain is very popular for easy hiking because of reaching the 7th station by car. Trailheads, Mt. Tarumae 7th Station Hut (樽前山7合目ヒュッテ), a parking lot and a public restroom are built at the 7th station. Because there is not the restroom on the way up mountain, hikers had better go to the restroom before hiking. The hut is a bothie without accommodation. Hiking season is almost from late May to mid November. Except the season, Hokkaido Road 141 is closed to traffic in a winter, and most hikers must go up the mountain from Nishikioka Gate (錦岡ゲート) or Maruyama Gate (丸山ゲート). By the way, a lot of the hikers come on weekends or consecutive holidays, and the hikers have sometimes entrance regulation to the parking lot of the 7th station. In the case, the hikers park their cars on a parking lot of the 5th station, and must go up the mountain from there.

Lava Dome and Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

Tarumae means "A high place beside the river shore of Tarumae River" in Ainu language, but there are various theories. Hokko Tarumae (ホッコータルマエ) that became the first horse in the history of the JRA to win 10 Grade 1 (Jpn Grade 1) was named after the Mt. Tarumae. About 80 types of Alpine plants such as Alnus maximowiczii, Weigela middendorffiana (Carrière) K.Koch, Mountain harebell, Tarumaesou (Penstemon Mitch) and Western pearly everlasting grow naturally, and the Tarumaesou that was named after the Mt. tarumae is in full bloom from July to August. Shikotsuko Onsen (支笏湖温泉), Tarumae Garo (樽前ガロー), Moss Cave (苔の洞門) and Moss Corridor (苔の回廊) are relatively near here.

Lake Shikotsu

Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖) in Chitose city is the 2nd largest caldera lake after Lake Kussharo in Japan, and was born by large-scale eruptions 40,000 years ago. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the perimeter of the lake is about 40 km, and the maximum depth is 360 m, and is the 2nd deepest lake after Lake Tazawa in Akita prefecture in Japan. It is said that the Lake Shikotsu is an unfrozen lake in the northernmost of Japan, but it sometimes is frozen actually. It is famous for clear water of the lake, too, and has transparency as well as Lake Mashu and Lake Baikal. Because the lake is close to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo city and Tomakomai city, it is a popular tourist attraction that a lot of tourists visit. Around the Lake Shikotsu, there are Shikotsuko Onsen Resort (支笏湖温泉街), Marukoma Onsen (丸駒温泉), Former Poropinai Camping Ground (ポロピナイ元キャンプ場), Bifue Camping Ground (美笛キャンプ場), Okotan Camping Ground (オコタン野営場), Lake Okotanpe (オコタンペ湖), Morappu Camping Ground (モラップキャンプ場), Mt Eniwadake (恵庭岳), Mt. Fushidake (風不死岳), Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) and Mt. Monbetsudake (紋別岳). Article is here

Mt. Tarumae, Mt. Fushidake and Lake Shikotsu (Source: Shikotsuko Onsen Ryokan Association)
Lake Shikotsu in Chitose

Shikotsuko Onsen

Shikotsuko Onsen (支笏湖温泉) is a hot-spring resort surrounded by forests and the lake in the east side of Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖) located in the western part of Chitose city. It succeeded in drilling hot springs in 1974, and is close to New Chitose Airport, Sapporo and Tomakomai, and 0.95 million people visit here annually. It features a few large buildings due to building restrictions. The hot-spring resort is not large, and there are 7 accommodations, a ferry port, Shikotsuko Visitor Center (支笏湖ビジターセンター), restaurants and souvenir shops. Sweets Shop Patissier Labo (スイーツショップ パティシエ・ラボ), Healthy Buffet Amamu (ヘルシービュッフェ アマム), Shokujidokoro Kotobuki (食事処 寿), Shikotsuko Daiichihotel Suizantei Taian (支笏湖第一寶亭留 翠山亭 苔庵) and azzurro (アズーロ) are popular in particular. Unfortunately, there is not a convenience store. Article is here

Kyukamura Shikotsuko
Shikotsuko Onsen

Tarumae Garo Gorge

Tarumae Garo Gorge (樽前ガロー) is a gorge in the western part of Tomakomai city. Garo means "A river flows between steep cliffs" in Tohoku dialect. The cliff face of volcanic ash deposition erupted by Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) was eroded by snowmelt, and banks turned into the steep cliffs with about 5-6 m in height because of a flowing river. This place is one of few moss gorge with fantastic views together with Moss Cave (苔の洞門) and Moss Corridor (苔の回廊), and different atmospheres such as fresh green, fall foliage and snow scenery can be enjoyed depending on seasons. A conbination of the flowing river and mossy rocks is very beautiful, and a lor of photographers come. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. But there is no facility, and is only nature. Article is here

Mysterious Place
Tomakomai, Tarumae Garo Gorge

TOMAKOMAI

Tomakomai (苫小牧) that 170,000 people live is the fifth largest city in Hokkaido and is located in the central part of Hokkaido, and it is a manufacturing town facing the Pacific. There are Oji Paper factory (王子製紙) and petrochemical complexes. As for climate, it is warmer than other places in Hokkaido in a summer and a winter, and it features that Tomakomai has less snow than other placess in Hokkaido. Therefore skating as one of famous winter sports is prosperous. Because Tomakomai is close to New Chitose Airport and there is Tomakomai Ferry terminal, Tomakomai has traffic convenience. Article is here

Tomakomai Fishing Port and Marutoma Shokudo
Tomakomai

Mt. Tarumae Hiking

The 7th station has 2 trailheads to Higashiyama Course (東山コース) and Northeast flower Garden Course (北東お花畑コース), and a lot of the hikers go up through the Higashiyama Course. Unfortunately, the hiker is banned to close lave dome because toxic volcanic gases come around the lave dome. 3 trails, Nishiyama Course (西山コース), Gairinzan-kita Course (外輪山北コース) and Gairinzan-nishi Course (外輪山西コース), are set around the outer rim of a crater, and the hikers can go around the somma. There are Mt. Higashiyama (東山) with 1,022 m in height and Mt. Nishiyama (西山) with 993 m in height along the somma, and marvelous views can be seen from both mountains. Because it takes about 60 minutes from the 7th station at about 660 m above sea level to the mountaintop of the Mt. Higashiyama on foot, I am glad that I can enjoy splendid views easily. It is popular mountain to see a superb view with beginning hikers.

Only Public Restroom at Seventh Station Parking Lot
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Hikers Write Hiking Registration
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
5 Minutes Walk to Miharashidai Lookout
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Beautiful Lake Shikotsu
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Go up for Top
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

I, a beginning hiker, left the trailhead to the Higashiyama Course at the 7th station around 09:00, and I had a hard time with a rough trail on the way, but I reached the Gairinzan Toritsuke (外輪山取付) for about 30 minutes. The trail is hard to walk through because of a difference of elevation. But great views of the Lake Shikotsu and the Pacific Ocean made me feel good while taking a rest. I went through forest limit on the way, and nothing obstructed my view, so the views were very good.

Rough Trail
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Field of Vision Is Opened Widely
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Good View
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Will Reach Gairinzan-Toritsuke in a Little Bit
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Ocean of Trees Spreads Out
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lava Used to Flow
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Gairinzan-Toritsuke
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

I went to the mountaintop of the Mt. Higashiyama from the Gairinzan-Toritsuke. It took about 10 minutes to walk on pebbles or rocks strewed the Gairinzan-kita Course while shivering with strange shapes of the lave dome, and the slope was steep, but there is nothing on the slope that the hikers can not go up.

Trail to Top of Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Mt. Nishiyama and Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look at Top of Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

Small rocks are pilled up around the mountaintop, and it is a very common sight in mountains of Japan. The stone tower is called "Cairn", too, and seems to show characterizing mountaintop, sight indication or praying for the soul of the dead. It makes me feel sacred somthing. Views from here are very good, and the lake Shikotsu from a high place is refreshing, and a conbination of the Mt. Nishiyama and the lave dome does not look like this world, and non-daily life can be enjoyed. When I took photos here, a group of running men went up at quite a pace. From what they were saying, they were training Self-Defense Forces personnel, and it took only 20 minutes from the 7th station to here. Incredible!

Top of Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
View from Top of Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Stone Tower
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lava Dome and Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look over Lake Shikotsu
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Nice Scenery
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
That Trail to Mt. Fuppushidake
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lake Shikotsu
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Poisonous Gas Emitted from Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Parking Lot on Lower Right
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look over Gairinzan-Toritsuke
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

I would not head for the Gairinzan-nishi Course, and turned back the way I had come, and I headed for the Nishiyama Course. I stood talking with a hiker on the way, and he said "I used to go up the mountaintop of the lave dome". At present, around the lave dome is banned to enter, but I do not know why here is banned to enter. A hiker might possibly dead by the gas. After all, I am scared of walking through toxic volcanic gas zone.

Trail to Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look at Mt. Higashiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Mt. Higashiyama with 1,022 m in Height
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Scattered Rocks
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look at Tarumaesan Shrine and Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Wintergreen
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

The Nishiyama Course was easy to walk because the trail was not steep, and there were few large rocks. I headed for the mountaintop of the Mt. Nishiyama while taking a side glance at the lave dome. Tarumae Shirne was built on the way, and it was surrounded by rocks as if the rocks fly out from the volcano. I thought of a concrete roof as something mysterious, and I was worried about the rocks flying out of the volcano. After I prayed for hiking safety, the comforatble Pacific Ocean came into sight. Hikers having lunch looked comfortable. Small alpine plants looked lovely, too.

広告

Lava Dome Looks Cool Very Much
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Tarumaesan Shrine Okumiya
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Object Enshrined
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Look at Tomakomai
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Hikers Have Lunch While Looking at Pacific
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Trail to Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Plants Grow around Here
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Alpine Plant
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Mountain Crumbled down
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Junction to Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Lake Shikotsu
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Trail Stretches out
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

The time it takes to walk from the Gairinzan-Toritsuke to the mountaintop of the Mt. Nishiyama is about 30 minutes. The lava domes took my breath away, too, and it was just like walking on Mars in the movies, and just admired the scenery including the paths, too. Views from the mountaintop were good, too, and I favorited the Lake Shikotsu or a conbination of the lave dome and trails. Monitoring equipments were built on the mountaintop, too, and the appearances made me evoke solar panel in space. After all, this place might be the Mars. I would not head for the Gairinzan-nishi Course, and turned back the way I had come, and went down the mountain after I had a lunch, and took a rest here. I reached the 7th station around 13:00, and allocation was about 4 hours. If I went around the somma, it will take another 60 minutes.

Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Monitoring Equipments on Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
I Have Sandwich on Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
Alaska Bellflower
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai
View from Top of Mt. Nishiyama
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

Atmosphere of Mt. Tarumae Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Mt. Tarumae

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (70 Cars)
Business hours Open 24 hours
Regular closing day From mid November to late May
Telephone number +81-144-32-6448
Home page Home page is here
Mapcode 545 707 576*70

List of Activities

Some activity companies serve guided hiking for the Mt. Tarumae. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Guided Hiking

Movie of Guided Hiking

Noasobi Guide Michikusa(野あそびガイドみちくさ)
Sotoasobi
North Adventure Bandit(ノースアドベンチャー・バンディット)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi
Hokkaido Private Adventure(北海道プライベートアドベェンチャー)
ASOVIEW
Sotoasobi

Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Mt. Tarumae. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Shikotsuko Onsen

Kyukamura Shikotsuko(休暇村支笏湖)
Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU-NO-UTA(しこつ湖鶴雅リゾート スパ水の謌)
Shikotsuko Daiichihotel Suizantei(支笏湖第一寶亭留 翠山亭)
Shikotsuko Suizantei Club(支笏湖翠山亭倶楽部)
Jalan
Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku(レイクサイド ヴィラ翠明閣)
Booking
Guest House Shikotsu Kamui(ゲストハウス シコツカムイ)
Jalan
Shikotsuko Youth Hostel(支笏湖ユースホステル)
Booking
Jalan
Minshuku Mizuumi(民宿みずうみ)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten

Tomakomai

Smile Hotel Tomakomai(スマイルホテル苫小牧)
Comfort Hotel Tomakomai(コンフォートホテル 苫小牧)
Hotel Wing International Tomakomai(ホテルウィングインターナショナル苫小牧)
Tomakomai Green Hotel(苫小牧グリーンホテル)
Booking
Hotel Route Inn Tomakomai(ホテルルートイン苫小牧駅前)
Dormy Inn Tomakomai(ドーミーイン苫小牧)
Toyoko Inn Tomakomai(東横イン苫小牧駅前)
Hotel Sugita(ホテル杉田)
Booking
Business Hotel Motonakano(ビジネスホテル モトナカノ)
Grand Hotel New Oji(グランドホテル ニュー王子)
Hotel Okuni(ホテル於久仁)
Booking
Jalan
Business Hotel Hachinohe(ビジネスホテルはちのへ)
Booking
Oyado Hishokan(おやど 翔馬館)
HP
Booking
Jalan
Hotel Nidom(ホテル ニドム)
Jalan
Rakuten
Booking.com
Booking.com

A page of Tomakomai is here

Tomakomai

A page of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is here

Shikotsu-Toya National Park

Comment

Comment

  1. good! hokkaido! says:

    Hi, Rock san,
    Thank you for your comment and welcome to Hokkaido!
    I am glad that I could be of assistance to you.
    Mt. Tarumae is very cold in November, so keep warm enough.
    Have a nice trip!

  2. Rock says:

    我十一月到北海道旅遊,正想去 樽前山。你的資料很有幫助。
    Thank you.

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