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Daisetsuzan National Park

The first spot in Japan to bear witness to the wonders of the autumn colours is Daisetsuzan National Park. The large mountainous area is a paradise for hikers and any lover of the outdoors, and equally as utopia for animal life with wild deer and brown bears enjoying a particularly prosperous existence in Japan’s largest national park. In fact, Daisetsuzan is so vast that it is bigger than some of the nation’s prefectures, covering an impressive 2,267.64 square kilometres.

Daisetsuzan National Park
  • Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Originally called ‘kamui-mintara’ (playground of the gods) by the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Daisetsuzan has long been a place of spiritual significance for the people of Japan, as well as a place for hikers to test their skills, with 15 of the national park’s peaks reaching elevations of over 2000 metres, meaning conditions can get quite challenging for the unacquainted. It is no wonder that the name Daisetsuzan means ‘Great Snowy Mountains’.

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park is a nationally protected haven of untouched nature, and although beautiful, some precautions must be taken to ensure your safety as you explore what is basically wild Hokkaido. Although chances of being attacked are very unlikely, it is important to keep in mind that the park is home to free roaming Hokkaido brown bears so it is well advised to take some basic precautions: wear a small bell on clothing or backpacks to warn bears about your presence, don’t keep food in or near your tent, and try to stay as vocal as possible throughout your hike – the aim here is to make sure the bears hear you before they see you so as to avoid startling them.

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    The sometimes fatal parasite Echinococcus is found throughout streams and lakes in Hokkaido, so because of this it is well advised to boil your water before consuming. It is also of paramount importance to adequately plan your hike. Although the mountain range is relatively popular in the summer months, and there is adequate signage throughout (in Japanese), the terrain can be unpredictable - especially so in the winter. Pack sufficient food and water and always bring a map. The Hokkaido wilderness is beautiful, but the natural splendour can be unforgiving to the unprepared.

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    The closest stations to Daisetsuzan are Rubeshibe Station in the east, Furano Station in the south, and Asahikawa Station in the west. The national park itself may be accessed by bus from Asahikawa Station which runs all the way through to the Asahidake Ropeway, whilst buses from Kami-Furano Station head to the trails of Tokachi-dake and Furano-dake.

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Daisetsuzan National Park

    Do keep in mind that there are no actual train lines that run through the park, whilst public transport around the area can be infrequent and time consuming. Because of this, and due to the sheer size of Daisetsuzan, the park is best explored via rental car. Asahikawa Airport offers rental car services, whilst a few other spots in central Asahikawa offer the same, as well as other major cities across Hokkaido. There is no entry fee for Daisetsuzan National Park, and free parking is available, although do bear in mind that there are some parking areas that do require a fee.

    Daisetsuzan National Park
    Address
    Furano City in Hokkaido, Biei-cho in Kamikawa-gun, Kamifurano-cho in Sorachi-gun, others
    Phone
    Rubeshibe
    Address
    Hokkaido Kitami
    Phone
    Furano
    Address
    Hokkaido Furanoshi Sumiyoshichou
    Phone
    Asahikawa
    Address
    Hokkaido Asahikawashi Miyamaedorinishi
    Phone
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