In the middle of the island is Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan's largest National Park. Asahidake, standing at 7,518', is Hokkaido's tallest peak and still an active volcano. This hike was the first of two big hikes in Hokkaido.
A beautiful 10k trail circles around the back of the mountain leading to a very steep trail taking you to the top of the mountain. From what we've seen, the trail builders do not believe in switch-back trails. The final quarter mile shoots straight up the the mountain-side at a 45-50 degree slope requiring you to crawl on all fours to get to the summit.
With the coming of cool weather, the trees, shrubs and ground cover were turning color. The hike climbing approximately 2,200' was very strenuous but the scenery and vistas were quite stunning and worth the effort.
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The easiest and most enjoyable part of the hike was taking the gondola from the base to the trailhead at 5,200' elevation.
Steaming Asahidake stands behind us. A challanging 10k trail took us clockwise around the backside of the mountain to the top.
The summit at 7,518' looms in the horizon. The last quarter mile to the top is straight up the side of the mountain requiring you to crawl up on all fours.