Mount Yotei, located in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, is one of Hokkaido’s most famous mountains and is a renowned skiing and outdoor activities spot. The mountain, which is actually an inactive volcano, stands at 1,900 meters tall and is abundant in natural beauty. It is known by many names: Yezo Fuji, Ezo Fuji, Makkari Nupuri, and Mount Shiribeshi. Yezo and Ezo are the old names for Hokkaido and thus, Yezo Fuji and Ezo Fuji translate to “Hokkaido’s Fuji.” Mount Yotei earned these nicknames due to its resemblance to the iconic Fuji.
During summertime, Mount Yotei is a popular place to hike, trek, and climb. You can also enjoy fishing and boating on the rivers and lakes near its base.
For more experienced hikers, the best time to hike Mount Yotei is from late April to early November. During this time, the temperatures are mild and the snowfall is less extreme. There are four trails that lead to Yotei’s summit, each with varying degrees of difficulty. Generally, the hike to the summit takes about five hours. Please note that this hike is not an easy one. The path does not have any huts, water, or toilets along the way and to reach the trail, you must first walk along a road for about 25–50 minutes. However, the breathtaking panoramas of Hokkaido are well worth the journey.
With winter comes skiers. Like many mountains in Hokkaido, Mount Yotei is popular among ski enthusiasts for its soft powder snow. The mountain also features backcountry skiing, in which you must hike for hours to reach the desired slopes and long vertical ski descents. For a one-of-a-kind experience, hike to the top of the volcano and ski inside the crater!
Local buses depart from Kutchan Station to multiple areas around Mount Yotei. The bus rides usually take between 20 and 30 minutes. You can also opt for a taxi, but this service will be more expensive.
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