The Hakkoda Mountains, a collection of volcanic peaks, boast spectacular natural scenery throughout all four seasons. Located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, the area is a haven for rivers, waterfalls, wetlands and lush alpine vegetation.
Worth visiting at any time of year, the scenic beauty of the Hakkoda Mountains is at its most dramatic in fall and winter months. Autumn sees the foliage come ablaze in myriad shades of red, orange, and yellow. Between late October and November meanwhile, the dazzling gleam of the first white snowfall contrasts beautifully with the fall leaves.
Another stunning arboreal show comes in winter, when the trees mysteriously transform into “snow monsters”. Forests having withstood harsh and icy winds undergo a unique natural phenomenon that sees them emerge frozen with layers of snow. Visitors to the mountains can then walk among these wintery structures lining the slopes between February to March. Powder hounds should also head to Hakkoda Ski Resort for deep snow, stand-out views, and thrilling trails between the snow monsters.
Summits are best accessed via the Hakkoda Ropeway, a year-round gondola service that takes visitors to Tamoyachi-dake in 10 minutes or so. Alongside gorgeous panoramic views, why not enjoy the range of hiking trails available outside winter months. As well as 30- or 60-minute loop trails from the ropeway station which all ages and levels can enjoy, more demanding and athletic routes include a hike to Mount Odake — the highest in the Hakkoda range — rewarding climbers with breathtaking vistas.
Grazing the base of the mountain is Sukayu Onsen, a hot spring famous for its huge mixed-gender sennin buro (bath of a thousand bathers). And after your alpine exploits, there are few better spots than this charming 300-year old public bath for a well-earned soak and healing dip for those tired muscles. Enchanting snowy peaks, vibrant fall foliage, or lush greenery — whatever the season, Hakkoda Mountains and the area around it are ideal for nature-lovers mellowing out and hardcore outdoor adventurers alike.
Address: 1-12, Kansuizawa, Arakawa, Aomori, Aomori Prefecture
Airport: Aomori Airport
March–early November: 9:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Mid November–February: 9:00 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.
Departs every 15 to 20 minutes.
Adult (junior high school students and above): 1,250 yen one-way / 2,000 yen return
Child (elementary-school students) 450 yen one-way / 700 yen return
Free for preschool age children.
80 minutes by bus from JR Aomori Station to Hakkoda Ropeway Station bus stop.
50 minutes by car from Shin-Aomori Station to Hakkoda Ropeway Station.
45 minutes by car from JR Aomori Station to Hakkoda Ropeway Station.