Location: Rankoshi, Isoya-gun
Altitude: 1074m/953m (total gain ~800m)
Length: Full day (~14km roundtrip)
Hiked on: September 1st, 2015
Shakunagedake and Shirakabaya are a couple lesser known peaks in the Niseko range. With the extensive network of hiking trails in the area, there are a few different ways to access the two peaks, but this post describes the route from the Chisenupuri Ski area (Yumoto Onsen).
Park at the “Chisenupuri toilet” where there is a hiking register. The trail begins just next to the lift station. The trail climbs up the ski run for a while then traverses to the left through a forest. After a while you’ll see the trail going up to Chisenupuri to the right. Keep going straight and after a bit you’ll get to another junction with some signage. Going right you’ll pass by Naganuma and to Shinsennuma, but go straight to get to Shakunage. Another 500m or so from there, and you’ll see a narrow trail to the left which goes up to Shakunagedake. The trail was quite overgrown when I hiked it and there are a lot of big boulders you have to climb up but you’ll be at the top in no time. Located just about in the middle of the Niseko Range, you should get great views of all the mountains in the range.
When you come back down, you can either retrace your steps to where you started, or go left at the junction to carry on the Shirakabayama. You’ll pass by Shakunagenuma, a small alpine lake. After the lake the trail climbs up to a ridge which again drops down to a col before climbing back out to the final ridgeline up to Shirakabayama.
If you keep going along the trail past the summit, you’ll come down to Route 66 at Niimi Onsen, but if you dove yourself you will have to go all the way back the way you came. You might also consider finishing the hike at Shinsennuma.
While not an amazing hike, the route takes you to a part of the Niseko Range that’s not very often visited. You can cut out a big chunk of the “boring part” of the hike as well by starting at Niimi Onsen and doing the hike backwards. The Kokumin Shukuba Yuki Chichibu Onsen, which had been shut down for over a year, will be open again (just for day onsen) from September again, and they had a great cafeteria there in the past in the past well, so definitely bring your onsen gear.