Location: Minami-ku, Sapporo
Elevation: 983m (~750m elevation gain)
Length: Half day+ (~12km)
Hiked on: October 24th, 2016
Visible as a small rocky summit connecting to the much larger mass of Eboshidake from the Onsen Town of Jozankei, Kamuidake is a small but impressive peak that’s very easily accessed from Sapporo. The trailhead is at the start of the Hyakumatsuzawa Forest Road, a couple minutes off Route 230 on the Sapporo side of Jozankei. Look for the single lane bridge on the right side of the road if you’re coming from Sapporo after passing by Koganeyu Onsen.
There is a parking lot where the gate of the Forest Road is. Park there, go past the gate, and you’ll walk down the logging road for about the first 3km or so to get to the actual trailhead, although there is a little shortcut through the forest along the way. Follow the signs for “神威岳” and you’ll be set.
Once you hit the actual hiking trail, you’ll start gaining all the elevation at once, and it can be surprisingly rough. The ridge gets quite narrow at the top and in fall when the trail is covered in wet leaves or even snow, it can be a bit hair-raising in places though never outright dangerous. As you gain elevation you’ll start getting glimpses of the impressive south face of Kamuidake, a 3~400m cliff rising sharply from the deep gullies below typical of the mountains in this area.
Once at the top of the ridge you are initially climbing, you change directions to another ridge that leads up to the summit. There is one steep section just before the summit with ropes (almost the same one as the one before the summit of Jozankei Tengudake) which can be quite sketchy when it’s covered in snow and frozen over.
The summit itself is small, but quite cozy as it’s still under the treeline. You still get nice views of the peaks around the area and out to Sapporo. The view of Jozankei Tengudake to the west is particularly impressive especially when the peak is covered in a dusting of snow in early winter.
If you want to keep hiking, there is a trail that continues to Eboshidake just before the final climb to the summit. The trail is roped off with a sign to prevent people from accidentally going “down” the wrong way, however it is still open and regularly used as far as I am aware. Add another ~2 hours to get to Eboshi and back.
Otherwise it’s a fairly quick descent back down to the logging road and then a slight slog back to the parking lot. Overall Kamuidake is a pretty fun hike that can be done in even half a day if you are in good shape and accessed very easily. I should also mention, the Jozankei Area gets some of the best autumn colours in Hokkaido during the month of October which makes the logging road a bit more interesting.