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Ski touring in Japan: Mount Asahidake

Mount Asahidake is the highest peak on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, reaching an altitude of 2290 metres. With its light snow and alpine terrain, it is one of the best ski touring destinations in Japan. If you are looking to ski Mount Asahidake, here is a suggested route.

Organise your ski touring holiday.

The base camp

Most people start their ski touring adventure on Mount Asahidake from the town of Asahikawa, which is easily accessible from Sapporo by bus, train or car depending on your preference and the means of transportation you prefer to use. From there, take a bus to Asahidake Onsen, the spa at the foot of Mount Asahidake. Once you arrive, check into your accommodation and take some time to settle in and familiarise yourself with the surroundings.

Ski touring equipment

Before setting off on a ski tour, it is important to ensure that all equipment is in order. It is necessary to be equipped with suitable ski touring equipment including skins and climbing knives. You will also need safety equipment such as an avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, and an ABS® or Reactor® avalanche backpack.

It is also important to check the weather and avalanche conditions before setting off, either by checking local forecasts or by asking guides for advice.

Routes to Mount Asahidake by ski touring.

The itinerary

The Asahidake climb. The climb starts from the Sugatami cable car station, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Asahidake Spa. The cable car will take you to an altitude of about 1600 metres, from where you will begin your ascent.

Most ski tourers choose to climb the summit from the south-east side of the mountain. The climb starts out gentle, but quickly becomes steeper and more technical as you get closer to the summit. You may need to use climbing knives in addition to skins to ensure sufficient grip on the hard snow.

Once you reach the top, take time to admire the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and recover before descending. The descent is usually extremely fun, as the mountain's slopes offer a variety of ski terrain, including powder fields and narrow ridge areas.

The most extraordinary not to be missed

Mount Asahidake is an active volcano. You will have the opportunity to ski between the white volcanic fumaroles that escape from the sides of the volcano. An incredible and unforgettable experience!

What to do after skiing?

Explorations in the Asahidake region

The following days can be spent exploring the Asahidake area. There are several interesting ski touring routes in the area, including the climb to the nearby Kurodake or Tokachidake mountains. You can also opt for a day of skiing on the Asahidake ski slopes, which offer a variety of runs for skiers of all abilities, or on the Furano slopes.

Relaxation after skiing

If you need to relax after a day of skiing, visit one of the many onsens (hot baths) in the area to unwind and recharge.

On your return to Asahikawa, you can continue your trip to other parts of Hokkaido or return to Sapporo. Be sure to take time to rest and relax by visiting Hokkaido before your return trip.

Of course, if you would like more information on any local events or itineraries, please feel free to ask the local guides who are experts on the area.

In general, it is highly recommended to be accompanied by a mountain professional, either a ski instructor specialised in off-piste skiing or a high mountain guide, for your off-piste skiing trips. Some organisations offer the services of such professionals, and organise ski trips to Japan on the island of Hokkaido, such as PowderWeGo, an agency specialising in off-piste skiing, heli-skiing, ski-touring and ski-touring trips to the four corners of the world...

To get there first, you can find our article on "How to get to Niseko" which is on the island of Hokkaido, which will give you the necessary information to plan your trip and know how to get there.

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