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Daisetsuzan Grade System

The Daisetsuzan National Park consists of mountain trails with a total length of over 300 km. Each trail section has varying technical difficulty, environmental conditions, and physical conditions (e.g. distance from trailhead to summit, presence of shelters and other facilities).

To provide a general assessment of the condition of a trail and help hikers make informed decisions, the Daisetsuzan National Park has established the Daisetsuzan Grade System, which assigns a grade of 1 to 5 to each trail section based on several criteria, including its technical difficulty and the level of commitment required, as well as the kind of atmosphere that hikers can expect in the trail (the degree of conservation of nature, level of congestion, ease of access, etc.)

As part of the management and conservation of the environment of Daisetsuzan, administrative staff conduct maintenance and repair work at each trail section in accordance with its assigned grade.

It is our hope that the Daisetsuzan Grade System will help you in planning and preparing for a hike in Daisetsuzan National Park by giving an idea of which trails are suitable for your ability and stamina, thereby helping to prevent accidents.

 

Note: Mountain routes within the park that have closed access roads to the trailhead or have degraded trails due to lack of maintenance cannot be used and are not assigned a grade in the Daisetsuzan Grade System.

 

 

Grade 5 (Trails with extremely challenging terrain)

 

 

 

Grede5

 

 

*Trails with difficulties in predicting sudden changes of weather due to topography. Grade-5 trails are long-distansce trails from trailhead to the nearest hut or from one hut to another. The trails require hikers/trekkers to have a high-level of skill in crossing torrents and rock surfaces. Grade-5 trails have a priority to conserve a natural atmosphere, therefore hikers/trekkers need to have risk managament ability and extremely high-level of risk assessment ability. 

 

 Grade 4 (Trails with challenging terrain)

 

 

Grede4

 

 

*Trails with difficulties in predicting sudden changes of weather due to topography. Grade-4 trails require an overnight stay in the mountains due to long-distance from the trailhead to the nearest hut, of from one hut to another. The trails require hikers/trekkers to have a high-level of skill in negotiating storng winds on trails above the timberline and crossing torrents along valley. Grade-4 trails have a priority to conserve a natural atmosphere, so hikers/trekkers need to have risk management ability and a high-level of risk assessment ability.

 

 

 

Grade 3 (Trails to experience beautiful nature)

 

Grede3

*Trails with good access to and from the trailhead, which can be done as a day-walk. Grade-3 trails have a priority to conserve a natural atmosphere rather than provide of comfort underfoot. A certain level of risk management ability is necessary.    

 

Grade 2 (Trails to touch beautiful nature)

 

Grede2

*Short-distance trails with good access to and from a trailhead. Grade-2 trails have steps and boardwalks that provide comfort underfoot.

A certain level of risk management ability is necessary.

 

Grade 1 (Short trails to enjoy beautiful nature)

 

Grede1

*Short-distance trails to and from a hot spring or a ropeway station. Grade-1 trails are relatively flat with a small altitude gain or loss.

They have steps and boardwalks that provide comfort underfoot. 

 

* The explanation of Grade 1~5 refers to the hiking map

    of ASAHI-DAKE: The heart of the Daisetsuzan National Park.

 

 

 

 

  Daisetsuzan Grade Examples

 

Daisetsuzan Grade 5: Mt. Oputateshike – Sansendai – Mt. Tomuraushi

 

This area has some of the most unspoiled trails in the Daisetsuzan National Park, with no manmade infrastructure except for a few guideposts on the trail junction and the mountain summits. It also contains many overgrowths and snow patches even well into the summer, and is an active habitat for brown bears.

The trail has a few designated camp sites but no shelters. With a long distance to the trailhead and no evacuation routes in between, hikers on this trail must have excellent decision-making skills with regards to managing their schedules and judging the weather.

Conservation of the pristine natural environment is prioritized in this trail, and maintenance work is limited to the inspection of guideposts and other existing facilities.

三川台からオプタテシケ

 

 

Daisetsuzan Grade 4: Mt. Hokkaidake – Hakuundake Junction – Hakuundake Hut

 

This trail section in the Omote Daisetsu area of the Daisetsuzan National Park has a highly preserved natural environment, and is a popular traverse route for many hikers. It is technically possible but highly impractical to do the route as a one-day hike from the trailhead and back. Since the trail is situated on the ridgeline, it requires hikers to have a good sense of judgment when reading the weather and deciding the best course of action.

Facilities in this trail include the Hakuundake Hut and the Hakuundake Campsite, both of which are equipped with a latrine toilet. Conservation of the pristine natural environment is prioritized in this trail.

白雲分岐~北海岳

 

 

Daisetsuzan Grade 3: Sugatami Pond – Mt. Asahidake

 

This trail section is used in several hiking routes, including the Mt. Asahidake summit route, the Asahidake to Susoaidaira Plateau loop route, and the Asahidake Ropeway to Kurodake Ropeway one-day traverse route. It is one of the most popular areas in Daisetsuzan, with many hikers visiting from all over the country.

This windswept trail contains many screes and rocky slopes. While the trail is fairly discernible, visibility can be greatly reduced in adverse weather conditions. It is particularly easy to get lost on the descent from Asahidake during dense fog, and many hikers have gotten lost in the past.

Management of this trail section involves development and maintenance of infrastructure while also preserving the vast natural environment.

旭岳登山道

 

 

Daisetsuzan Grade 2: Sugatami Pond – Susoaidaira Junction

 

This trail section is used in the Sugatami Pond to Susoaidaira Plateau route, as well as the traverse routes from Mt. Kurodake and Aizankei. It is well-maintained and easily discernible in the summer climbing season, making it a comfortable trail for hikers. However, it contains several snow patches early in the season, so inexperienced hikers are advised to hear the lecture at the Asahidake Ropeway Sugatami Station and approach the route accordingly.

Since the trail is equipped with comfortable boardwalks and steps, it is a popular route for novice hikers looking to enjoy the nature of Daisetsuzan.

裾合平

 

 

Daisetsuzan Grade 1: Momijidani Entrance – Momijitaki Falls

 

This route is a popular hiking and ecotourism course for visitors to the Sounkyo Onsen. Hikers can enjoy beautiful views of columnar joints, trees with woodpecker nests, and the Momijitaki Falls. The route is fairly flat and straightforward, and a round trip from the entrance to the waterfall and back can be completed in just around 1 hour.

The trail is maintained to provide some level of comfort to hikers, making it accessible to ordinary tourists looking to enjoy the beautiful nature in the area.

紅葉滝

 

 

English Hiking Map of Daisetsuzan

 

An English language hiking map of Daisetsuzan entitled “ASAHI-DAKE” was published in 2017. This map was created by the Daisetsuzan National Park Research Network together with Gecko Maps, with support from the Daisetuzan National Park Council. It is available for sale at major bookshops in Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Obihiro, and online at Amazon Japan (https://www.amazon.co.jp/).