Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
A World of -20℃: See Frost-Covered Trees at Hakkoda, Aomori
Written by Ai Yoneda
In this article, we introduce Mt. Hakkoda in Aomori, where you can find a rare ski resort with frost-covered trees. The temperature at the summit can reach negative 20 degrees Celsius. Visitors can ride a ropeway to the top of the mountain.
One of the best ways to enjoy winter is by trying out some winter sports. In recent years, Japan's mountains have gained a reputation for their good quality snow, and there has been an increase in the number of skiers and snowboarders visiting Japan from around the world.
Many popular ski resorts are gathered in the Niigata and Nagano prefectures, but there are still various ski areas that are lesser known.
In this article, we'll be introducing Hakkoda in Aomori prefecture, which is a unique ski resort where you can find frost-covered trees.
The mountain is commonly known as Mt. Hakkoda, but the official name of the area is actually Hakkoda Renpo (Hakkoda Mountains). The tallest of the mountains, Odake, has an elevation of 1,585 meters.
In especially cold years, the temperature at the summit of Odake can reach negative 20 degrees Celsius, and the mountain surface is covered in plenty of smooth powder snow. Hakkoda is a little-known ski resort where visitors can enjoy backcountry skiing. There are fewer people at Hakkoda compared to the famous ski areas in Hokkaido, so you will be able to freely enjoy the area.
In order to see the frost-covered trees of Hakkoda, you will have to ride the ropeway that connects to the top of the mountain. You will first need to get to the Sanroku Station of the ropeway by JR bus or car.
This time, we actually rode the ropeway to the summit.
It takes about 10 minutes from Sanroku Station to Sancho Station. You can overlook the magnificent mountains of Hakkoda from the window.
You won't be able to see frost-covered trees at a low elevation, as the temperature is still relatively warm. But when you get higher...
The surroundings will gradually change to a magical snow-covered world.
From afar, you will quite clearly be able to see the difference in the color of the mountain surface. The white area is the high-elevation area with frost-covered trees. The blackish colored area is the lower elevation area.
We've reached Sancho Station. You can probably imagine the severe cold we are experiencing from the snow-covered handrails and pillars.
One step outside Sancho Station and we were surrounded by the complete whiteness of snow. It was unimaginably cold.
But because we came all the way up here we were able to see the beautiful frost-covered trees up close. The trees are completely covered in snow and are in the so-called "snow monster" state. Getting up close, you can see that they are several meters tall, and they seem like they might come at you anytime.
At the foot of Hakkoda is the Sukayu Onsen, which is famous for its giant Sennin Buro (Thousand Person Bath). The hot springs are perfect for warming up your cold body. You can also trek through the fresh verdure at Hakkoda in the summer, as well as go on a hike surrounded by autumn leaves in the fall. It's an area where you can feel the energy of nature throughout the year.
We recommend visiting Hakkoda in the winter to experience Japan's snow-covered mountains and frost-covered trees.
Address: Aomori, Aomori, Arakawa, Kansuizawa 1-12
Hours: 9:00-16:20 (Winter: 15:40)
Credit Cards: -
Nearest Station: JR Aomori Station
Access: 60 minutes by JR Bus from JR Aomori Station
Price Range: Ropeway one-way 1,180 yen, round-trip 1,850 yen
Phone Number: +81-17-738-0343
Official Website: Hakkoda Ropeway