Location: Kuromatsunai, Suttsu-gun (Shiribeshi)
Altitude: 740m (~500m elevation gain)
Length: Half-day (4km; 2~3 hours return)
Hiked on: May 18th, 2015
I’ve always kind of neglected mountains in southern Hokkaido, so I’ve decided I’d check out more mountains south of the Niseko Area this year. My first target was Kuromatsunaidake, named after the town it’s located in which is known for being the northernmost place in Japan where one can find beech (ブナ) trees.
Access is from #9 Prefectural Road (道道９号線) just off the Number 5 National Highway between Kuromatsunai and Oshamanbe. There is a big sign that says “黒松内岳登山口” where you turn off the road. You follow a gravel logging road for quite a while until you reach a big-ish parking space with the trailhead very obviously visible on the right side. There is one fork about halfway down the logging road, go left at the fork.
The hike route is very well marked. There is one little detour to the right in the lower portion, it doesn’t really matter which way you go but the detour takes you through a beech forest. You’ll see of them plenty either way. Eventually you will pop up out onto a ridge and see the peak which is quite rugged looking for something that lower elevation in Hokkaido. Almost like a miniature version of something you’d see in the Akaishi Range. The section just before the summit is steep and loose, but there are ropes to help you up.
It’s a fairly prominent summit, so you get nice views all around of the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, as well as Mount Yotei, the Niseko range, and even out to Shakotan. Pictured below is Obirayama just to the west.
Overall it’s a fairly easy hike (although a bit steep at places) with some nice views. I was too busy picking bamboo shoots (abundant all along the trail, as well as along the logging road) to really take it in, but maybe not one that’s worth going really out of your way for if you live further away from the area.