Climbing Mt. Moiwa


Overlooking Sapporo city is Mt. Moiwa, often rated one of the top nighttime viewpoints in Japan. Most visitors to Mt. Moiwa, whether going in the day or at night, will board the ropeway (1100 yen round trip), a short walk from Ropeway Iriguchi tram station or if traveling by car will follow the Kanko Highway toll road (660 yen) from Kawazoe. But, for those who enjoy nature or who are just looking for a bit more adventure, there are five trails ranging from 2.4-4.5 kilometers that will take you up the 531m ascent to the observatory. The trailhead at the base of Moiwa ski resort is 2.5km to the summit and is one of the most beautiful routes, especially if walked from the nearest bus stop at South 38, West 11 (230 yen from Sapporo). Meandering up a winding mountain road through quiet forest and between Moiwa-shita neighborhoods, the trailhead begins at just below the Moiwa ski resort (1.3 km up from the bus stop) and runs beside a mountain stream. Hundreds of people go up daily, so it is hard to get lost. But if you do, ask someone for Moiwa Ski-jo. That will get you to the ski resort parking lot and the trailhead. If you want the true Japanese experience, buy a couple rice balls and a bottle of water (or green tea) at the Seico Mart near the bus stop before you start hiking. At the peak, you will be treated to an amazing view of the city.  If you time it right (a late afternoon mid-summer departure) you will catch both day and night views as the city lights up with nightfall. A restaurant is also available. For those not wanting to walk back down, or who wait for the night view, the ropeway is available for your descent down the mountain.
written by Shawn Clankie
*This route is scheduled to take about 75 minutes from the trailhead to the summit, but hikers should account for two hours from the bus stop.

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