(白山) Mt. Haku Hike

 

One of Japan's three holy mountains, alongside Mt. Fuji and Tateyama, Hakusan is teeming with alpine flowers and just beautiful views in summer. Easily one of my favorite hikes in Japan, the hassle of traveling to Kanazawa is definitely worth it and recommended. 

Budget: JPY10,600 (~USD103)
  • JPY9,600. Bus, Tokyo < >  Kanazawa Station (JPY4,800 one way) 
  • JPY1,000. Bus, Kanazawa Station < > Bettodeai (JPY500 one way)
Hike Date / Difficulty (Elevation: 2,702m / 8,865ft)
  • August 11-12, 2018
  • Difficulty: 3 out of 5. It was a nice fun hike, and not too strenuous. 
  • Route below is around 16.0kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲1871m/ ▽1880m 


When to Go
Probably not December to Feb/March

Special Notes
  • Weather forecast: English / Japanese. English more detailed, Japanese more accurate. 
  • The highest point is called 御前峰. 
  • Trailheads. 
    • Bettodeai  (別当出合). Google maps pin here. Accessible with public transport (can be very crowded), and with parking for those who have a car. However, they sometimes do not allow private cars to the last leg of the road during peak season.
      • Bus / Train. Tokyo to Kanazawa Station. You can look for a bus here - overnight ones are around JPY4,800. 
        • As of January 2021 search, the bus leaves Tokyo at 11:20pm, and gets to Kanazawa at 7:45am. 
      • Bus, Kanazawa Station to Bettodeai. Details here. JPY500 one way. It is at bus stop 1 upon exiting Kanazawa Station, if I remember correctly.  Bus schedule below is based on 2019 data, as for 2020 the buses were not running. 
Kanazawa Station (金沢駅) < > Bettodeai (別当出合)
    • Oshirakawa Dam (大白川ダム). Google maps pin here. Without public transportation, but has a camping spot and an onsen. 
      • For those with a car, you can use the Ojirakawa hot spring for navigation - phone number 05769-6-1311.
  • Mountain huts. 
    • Paid. The paid mountain huts here are top notch, and if you confirmed you are going and don't show up, they will send out a rescue team across all the trails to look for you. I know because they found us. Haha. 
      • Murodo (白山室堂). It's a huge mountain hut about 40 minutes below the summit, with its own dry room (for when it rains and your clothes are soaked). It also has plenty of tables at the back facing the summit. 
        • This serves as a free emergency hut from mid-October to the end of April (source)
      • Nanryuu (白山南竜山荘). Also quite huge with clean toilets, but a bit out of the way.
        • This serves as a free emergency hut from mid-October to the end of June (source)
    • Free. 
      • Winter: Murodo (白山室堂)
        • This serves as a free hut from mid-October to the end of April (source)
      • Tonogaike (殿ヶ池避難小屋). A clean mountain hut, but it's just so close to the trailhead. 
      • Jinnosuke (甚之助避難小屋).  Not as pretty as the other one, but a lot bigger, and definitely still a good mountain hut (at least based on the pictures)
      • Ookurayama (大倉山避難小屋). This is a mountain hut from Oshirakawa Dam trailhead. Definitely small and not ideal, but I believe it'll do. 
    • Camping. 
      • Nanryuu (白山南竜山荘). The only camping spot, and the one that actually offers something to cover the ground where you set up tent. There's a huge mess hall which is great if it's raining outside. The toilet was atrocious though. 
Itinerary
Our time should not be a standard. We took our time and did a lot of breaks. Heck, our group even took the time to have a swim in one of the ponds. 

Friday
  • We have decided to stay the night at a hostel near Kanazawa Station. At this time, I was living in Nagoya so it was easier to do so. 
Saturday
  • 06:30am. Bus, Kanazawa Station to Bettodeai. 
  • 08:45am. Arrived at the trailhead. 
  • 09:00am. Started hike. We wanted to take the loop clockwise, so at the sign after the wooden torii (arc), we followed the signs to 観光新道. Which meant we did not cross the bridge and turned left. It was a steep ascent, but the view was utterly gorgeous once we got to the ridge. 
  • 03:11pm. Arrived at Murodo. Dropped our bags in one corner trusting the Japanese honesty, and continued on. 
  • 05:46pm. Arrived at the summit. 
  • 06:45pm. Back at Murodo. We had our dinner and started walking to Nanryuu where we planned to camp. Later on we had people looking for us who guided us to the mountain hut. 
Sunday
  • 05:40am. Woke up! Had breakfast, tidied up the tent, and started the hike down. 
  • 11:16am. Back to the trailhead. 
  • 12:30pm. Bus, trailhead to Kanazawa Station. 
Huge Kanazawa Station. 

At the wooden arc, there's a sign right in the middle of this picture which points to 観光新道, the one we wanted to take. 

The first part was a continuous ascent. 

Still going up. 

But taking a lot of breaks because we enjoyed the flowers. 

Soon the fog came in. 

But even with the views covered, our trail on the ridge was still visible and we can still enjoy the flora. 

One big fork. We took a break in this spot and chatted with people. 

A nice stroll in the flat spot going to Murodo. 

Murodo! This place is huge. 

Looping around to go to the summit.

We had fun playing in the snow too. 

Then back to the hike. 

This is where half our group decided to go in for a swim. 

A rather beautiful pond that is too far a descent so nobody tried to go in for a swim. 

Just a nice peak next to the pond. 

Looking back. 

Ice cave! 

Looking down at Murodo. 

The final leg before the summit. 

Do you see the summit marker?

Summit!

With a shrine next to it. 

And a nice map of the surrounding mountains. 

Almost back at Murodo. 

Looking back at the summit. 

The view at our tent the next morning.



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