Found on the south side of the Iwatake ski resort this is a moderately difficult hike. Families with enough stamina to hike for 2 – 3 hours up hill, will enjoy the shaded trails and beautiful views of the valley this hike has to offer.
June 30th, 2020 | by Mike Humphrey
For anyone looking for an enjoyable, moderately difficult hike out of the direct sun, this is for you. As one of the lower hikes in the valley hiking Iwatake can be done in both early and late season making for a great spring, summer or fall hike. If you are lucky enough to visit Hakuba during the fall, the autumn leaves along this route are breathtaking and a must see.
Difficulty: Low – Moderate
Duration: 2 – 3 hrs (1 way, gondola can be used to get down)
Elevation Change: 500m
Trail Length: 4.5Km (1 way)
Access to this hike is found on the Southside of the Iwatake resort. From the Iwatake gondola head South past the pump track and behind the Hakuba Brew Pub. After a short walk behind the Brew Pub, you will come to an intersection just below the Iwatake ski jump. This is the start of the hike.
From the start of the hike, you will follow the trail up towards the Iwatake ski jump (despite the look, this ski jump is still used for competitions during the winter). Be sure to stay on the main path as you head up the mountain as there are several small trails that do not lead to the top.
The first half of the hike takes you up along dirt and gravel roads that follow the south edge of the resort to the ridge above. Be sure to keep your eyes open for Kamoshika (Japanese deer) that are often found on the slopes of the resort. There is also an abundance of flowers and wildlife that can be found along the path.
As you come to the end of the dirt trail you will see a radio tower just before you head into the trees. From here you will begin your uphill climb that leads to a sitting area (Tengu no Niwa). Tengu no Niwa is the halfway point on your journey and is a great spot to take a rest, enjoy a snack and take a photo of the spectacular view.
Tengu no niwa is named after the Japanese Tengu god. According to local lore every full moon a Tengu god travels from Mt. Shirouma to Togakushi on the far side of the Hakuba Valley stopping at Iwatake for a rest along the way.
After resting at Tengu no Niwa you will continue your climb up the ridge along the side of the Iwatake mountain bike course. As you come to end of the forested trail the area opens up below the top of the paradise ski lift. From here the hike is in the open and you will crisscross the mountain bike course on your way to the top.
This final push is uphill, but relatively easy. When you reach the top be sure to take advantage of all that Iwatake has to offer – sitting areas on the front side, the delicious food at Mountain Harbor on the back side and a variety of activities (swings, slack lines and hammocks).
Looking for more than just a half-day hike, why not buy a pass and spend the rest of the day mountain biking. There are lots of great courses and even options for kids. Gear is available at both the top of the mountain and the base through spicy rentals.
Be sure to mention Events Hakuba to get a discount on all your rentals.