Location: Shioya, Otaru (Shiribeshi)
Altitude: 629m (~500m elevation gain)Length: Half-day (6km roundtrip)
Hiked on: May 13th, 2012 / May 19th, 2013
This is probably the hike for beginning/casual hikers living in Sapporo or Otaru. It also probably gives you the best views you can get for an hour of hiking in the area. That’s cosupafo (cost performance.) Although it is actually quite far from Sapporo, access is easy and can be done by train. You can walk from Shioya Station (2 stations after Otaru towards Yoichi) or if you have a car park at the trailhead. Either way, turn off Number 956 Road (nicknamed Fruit Highway) towards the station. Once you cross the train tracks you get to a fork in the road, go right and follow the road until you get to some large, round, green water tanks (?). Turn left just in front of them, and follow the road all the way to the end where there are limited spaces to park and a path going into the woods to the right. Walk down the path and eventually you’ll hit the trailhead where there is a bear warning sign.
The inital climb is steep but straight forward. There’s a spot halfway up you can sit down and take a break. The gardient eases off as you get to the top of Maruyama’s broad, sasa-filled ridge and the views also start to open up. Earlier in the year this section can be very wet/muddy so waterproof boots are recommended. Halfway up the ridge there are also a couple large reflector panels, although I have no idea what they’re for. Eventually the trail gets steeper again to go up the round summit, but it doesn’t last long and you’ll soon be up at the summit. Views are fantastic, all the way out to Shakotan Peninsula on a clear day and you can see Mount Yotei peeking out to the south. The summit has a small shrine at the top and lots of boulders to sit down and rest on.
If you want to hike a little longer, you can walk another hour or so to Endoyama by continuing onto the other side of the summit, and you can even continue all the way out to Tenguyama in Otaru and take the ropeway down.
A great warm-up hike earlier in the season, and a fun hike to do with with your friends. You can also do it as a winter hike, coming up the mountain from the opposite side of the summer trail.