Location: Shakotan, Shakotan-gun/Kamoenai, Furuu-gun
Elevation: 806m (~300m elevation gain)
Length: Half day (~5km round trip)
Hiked on: January 25th, 2017
The hike begins at Tomaru Pass, which connects the village of Kamoenai to the south and Furubira Town to the north, cutting across the Shakotan Peninsula. You will go through a series of snow shelters (concrete above-ground tunnels), there is space to park your car on the Kamoenai side of the long tunnel at the very top of the pass.
Once on your skis/snowshoes, hop right onto the top of the snow shelter and walk towards the Furubira side. You will pass by some stairs to your left which leads to the summer trailhead, but keep walking past it until you get to the large ridge to the left. If you find yourself going down hill, you’ve gone too far. Get off the snowshelter and hop onto the ridge.
Once on the ridge it’s a quick climb to the top of Ryokobiyama. It’s a bit hard to tell where the summit is as there is no sign but it’s more or less smack dead in the middle when you are looking at the mountain from the parking lot.
Views should be fantastic in clear weather, however I couldn’t see much when I was there. The large bowl to the south offers some fantastic lines of up to 400m vertical of uninterrupted powder riding. However it is classic avalanche terrain so make your decision based on conditions for the day.
Getting back to the parking lot will require climbing out of the valley, I ended up taking the wrong ridge back up and ended up doing a lot more work than is probably necessary. The best bet will be to wrap around the big ridge around the 400m point and climb up the small gully, however lower down in the valley you will find a lot of holes with the creek running underneath so make your decision carefully. I wouldn’t recommend going all the way down later in the season as the smaller gullies will likely be full of holes from the melting snow. The safest option will of course be to go back up and retrace your steps.