Visiting Mt Asahidake was one of my highlights this trip because we chanced upon “snow” (or rather yet-to-melt ice) despite it being the start of summer already.
As mentioned in the previous article, it was drizzling in the morning so we switched to visiting Asahidake’s city, before returning to this mountain in the afternoon.
Although it wasn’t raining when we reached, the forecast at the bottom of the ropeway indicated “Cloudy” weather and “Unclear” for visibility. Since we were already there and there was nothing else to do anyway, we decided to proceed with going up the mountain (2,900Y for two way). If we had more time, we could have done a one way up by ropeway and trek down (1.5 to 2 hours).
We took the a private ropeway up (Yes, we were the only ones) at 3PM. The view wasn’t very fantastic as it was very cloudy (as predicted). It was an approximately 10 mins journey.
Upon reaching the top, we were given a short explanatory by a guide on duty. She showed us this map where you could see the past animals and flowers sighting. (Sighs, we didn’t manage to see any animals at all, I tried very hard to stare into the vast openness but I couldn’t spot anything..)
We were given a map like this which showed us the suggested walking path. While we were walking, we had to constantly remind ourselves that the last ropeway down was at 18:00 and we need to rush back in time for our already paid for dinner at the hotel.
My friends, who were all wearing asics, had to be directed to the boots rental area (300Y) as the guide said that there were snow on some parts of the trail. On the other hand, my timberland boots were deemed safe and suitable for this journey.
Map Cr: http://dmagicube.blogspot.sg/2012/11/asahidake-tallest-mountain-in-hokkaido.html
and more snow.. the snow looks kind of dirty which could signify that it ain’t very thick. Probably just a thin layer.
Along the way, there will be signages for “Viewing Platform”. Below is #1. I guess it kind of helps you to read the map and get your bearings right. You don’t have to worry about getting lost as the suggested paths are all marked out with these strings. You are strongly encouraged to stay within boundaries.
Not sure if this is a lake or a puddle of melted snow..
Viewing Platform #3
Took this photo to show how cloudy and windy it could be.. Poor visibility as the clouds are blown through you?
I think this was “Mirror Lake” or something.
There were various directional signage along the way. Utility was at its minimum as it was only in Japanese and guesstimate was your only solution.
I know nothing about Alpine wild flowers but these are some interesting species which I’ve never seen before.
Was this the “married couple” lakes? (Can’t really remember anything since my trip was more than a month away as I type..)
Glimpse of good view behind the dark clouds.
Viewing Platform #4, there’s so much potential in this photo’s view but all I see is clouds.
Japanese signage again..
Where were the birds that I was supposed to look out for?
Saying hi to my trustworthy timberland boots. It had been a hasty buy earlier this year as my colleague questioned its utility vs its price. Well, it has successfully completed two trips (to Japan) and I’m sure it has made it’s money worth.
When it starts to stink like fart, you know that there’s a sulphurous vent (fumarole) ahead. FYI, Mt Asahi is the tallest peak in Hokkaido, despite being only 2,290m. It is an active stratovolcano with constant steam activity.
We got thirsty along the way and drank fresh stream water which we hoped that was as clean as it looks.
Sugatami Pond: Sugatami means reflecting oneself and this is the pond reflecting Mt.Asahidake. Right..
What I was supposed to see:
Some of the snowy treks.
We attempted to divert away from the standard trail just for fun but along the way, we met a few “returning hikers” who informed us that we are on the wrong path and hiking that direction was impossible given that it was close to late afternoon.
From wooden planks to dirt paths to snowy walks, rocky terrain and wet streams, this beginner trail gives you an exposure of everything.
Another weird alpine plant which I’ve never seen before.
As you can see, there weren’t a lot of people in the mountain that day.
Maybe my wishes were heard, the clouds slowly exposed a little bit of the nicer scenery.
Back to the ropeway station; took the 5:15PM cable car down. We spent approximately 2 hours at the sugami trail. If you are fit and have time, you can consider climbing up to the peak (2 to 3 hours away).
What I would have seen 9 days later:
(Part 2: Climbing up the peak) – http://www.fleemy.com/mt-asahidake-climbing-the-top-the-highest-mountain-in-hokkaido-vol-2/
Scenery was slightly better on our (no longer private) return ropeway as the clouds were clearing up.
You can even spot the sun and its rays in this last photo of mine!
Next Entry: Biei & Furano