This trek takes you up from Sarukura Sanso hut up to the Daisekkei Snow Gorge, one of the biggest in Japan. The gorge stretches about 3.5km and is 600m higher at the top than the bottom. People come from all over Japan to see this year-round ice field and to hike the route up the ice to the summits above. The day trip takes you to the foot of the ice flow.
The track head is at the Sarukura Sanso Hut, which is accessed by bus or car from central Hakuba in about 30 minutes. From behind the hut a small track leads you to a wider gravel road that winds up into the hills. Where the road stops a narrow track heads off to your left and up to Hakubajiri Koya Hut, which marks the start of the ice field. In early season (June) the ice field will be down this low, but it retreats as the summer temperatures kick in. In August, you will need to walk 20-30 minutes beyond the hut to get to the ice field. To climb the ice field crampons are needed, and pay close attention to the roped off areas.
While the route up to Hakubajiri Hut is very easy, climbing up to the ice in later season can be a bit challenging.
Start: 1,230 masl
Summit: 1,560 masl
Route: Sarukura Hut – (1:00) – Hakubajiri Hut – (0:20) – Ice Field – (0:20) – Hakubajiri Hut – (0:50) – Sarukura Hut
Difficulty Level ★☆☆☆☆