Hakusan (白山)

It is now mandatory to submit a tozantodoke form if you’re climbing Hakusan. Starting this month, violators may be subject to a 50,000 yen fine, so please fill out the form at the trailhead before climbing. 

Hakusan, appropriately translated as ‘White Peak’, is an impressive edifice towering over Ishikawa Prefecture. The summit features unique volcanic strata, as well as wonderful crater lakes. The panoramic views of the Japan Alps aren’t half bad either.

The hike: From the bus stop, you’ve got 2 options. Either take the track to the right, called Sabou Shindou (砂防新道) or the trail to your left, called Kankou Shindou (観光新道). One or the other may be closed when you go, so take whichever is open. I’ll describe the hike using Kankou Shindou. Fill up your water bottles at the resthouse, because it’s a long, long way to the top. The first 90 minutes of the trail is pretty straight forward, and you’ll cross over a forest road several times. You’ll reach a junction called Bettouzaka-bunki (別当坂分岐). Ignore the trail coming in from the left, and continue towards the right. The trail keeps climbing up and up, on a seemingly endless array of switchbacks. The views down into the valley will also pretty impressive. You’ll reach an emergency hut in about 2-1/2 hours, and the trail will start to become a little easier after this point. In another 40 minutes or so, you’ll reach another trail junction, where the Sabou trail comes in from the right. From here to the summit, it’s just one trail, and you’ve only got 100 vertical meters or so to Murodo hut, which should take about a half hour to reach. The hut is open from May 1st to October 15th, but only serves meals from July to October. Consider staying here if you’re up for the weekend, as the sunsets are spectacular. There’s no campground here, but if you continue an hour south you can camp at Nanryu hut. Anyway, it should take about 40 minutes from Murodo to the top of Hakusan. If the weather is good then you’ll have outstanding panoramic views. You can do a loop hike from the top back to Murodo, passing by several picturesque volcanic lakes. The loop takes about an hour to complete. From the summit, you can either head south to complete a traverse of the Hakusan range (via Bessan), or return the way you came. I did the full traverse, but don’t recommend it as you end up in the middle of nowhere and have to walk on a forest road for quite a while to get back to civilization. Of course, I had lousy weather the entire trip, so my feelings would most likely be different if I had more co-operative weather.

When to go: This hike can be done during July, August, and September, when the buses to Bettoudeai are running. If you’ve got your own transport, then you can definitely go much earlier than this. The road to the trailhead doesn’t open until the end of May, but that doesn’t stop hoards of climbers from hiking along the closed road to the trailhead, and continuing from there. Click here to see the conditions during Golden Week!

Access: From Kanazawa (金沢) station, turn right out of the ticket gates and go out the East gate. You’ll see a bus rotary on your left. Walk out to bus stop #1 and take a bus bound for Bettoudeai (別当出合). There seem to be fewer and fewer buses every year. For 2015, there are buses on June 30, July 1, July 4 & 5, August 13, 14, 15 & 16, and on weekends only between August 22 and October 12. Click here for the bus schedule.

Map: Click here

Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5 (elevation change 1452m).

Explore posts in the same categories: Hokuriku hikes (北陸地方)

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11 Comments on “Hakusan (白山)”

  1. Laurence Says:


    I’m really wanting to hike Mount Haku, but I’m finding it near impossible to find the start of the hike on google maps. I know this sounds farfetched, but there seems to be a lot of information on the climbing track, but not specifically how to get to it? Where is it best to get off the train from Osaka and how do you get to the start of the hike from there?

    Thank you hope you can help!


    • wes Says:


      Please check the “access” information above. I’ve updated it to include the bus schedule for 2015. Basically you need to take a bus from Kanazawa station. Buses only run on weekends from late August to early October. Most people drive to the trailhead nowadays, so you might want to consider hitching if going before August.

      • Richard Says:

        There are more buses than that. the page you link to shows 3 buses a day between 7/11 and 8/9. the first line is the days where there is only 1 bus

  2. Aya Says:

    Is a proper hiking gear necessary for this? I have sneakers leggings and my backpack. This attire was fine on my first hike at Mt. Kinka, however on my most recent hike they said that if I didn’t have the proper attire it would be too dangerous because of leeches and because I was wearing regular sneakers as opposed to hiking boots, and so I had to resort to taking the gondola up

    • wes Says:


      I would wear proper hiking boots because of the remaining snow fields on Hakusan. If you go in the autumn then all of the snow will be melted, but there is still a lot up there now

  3. Can a beginner hike Hakusan in a day?
    I have to take public transportation. I don’t have the bus schedule on me, but if I remember correctly I would arrive there at 7:30 or 8:00 AM and I’d have to leave at 3:30 PM.

    • wes Says:

      Moon Walker,

      Beginners can do Hakusan in a day, but it’s a big day. 7 hours may be a bit tight, depending on your speed. There’s a lot of vertical elevation gain involved

      I hope that helps and please let me know about your trip once you decide to go.

  4. David Says:

    I climbed Haku-san on Sunday, September 3rd. Since the buses only run on the weekend and I intended to stay the night at the hut, I rented a car from Fukui station.

    Actually the road between Ichinose and Bettoudeai is closed during the weekend until noon on Sunday. There is a shuttle bus that takes you there and back (about 10 minutes) so plan accordingly when coming by car. I got there at 12:02 so I had that last part of the road to myself. The car parking is about 5 minutes on foot downhill from Bettoudeai itself.

    There was a warning at the start of the trail (also in English) that if you don’t fill in a hiking registration form (or fill it in with wrong information) you’ll get fined 50000 yen. The form is only in Japanese though so it’s a bit of conundrum for the non-Japanese speaker. How they can enforce this is also a mystery to me. I’m just mentioning it since it’s the first time I’ve heard about any fine.

  5. David Says:


    I went up the Sabou path and down the Kankou the next day. Perhaps I was more tired the 2nd day, but I felt that overall the Sabou was easier to walk. It’s also the shorter route. If the clouds are in, I would definitely recommend the Sabou. Also the Kankou has some of the steepest step sections I’ve ever seen on a mountain path here in Japan!

    The sunset was beautiful especially when viewed from the Ike Meguri trail (the pond loop) since it goes around the West side of the mountain. The sun rises behind the North Alps, between Yari and Hotaka.

  6. Travis Says:

    I’d like to do the Hakusan hike this coming summer, in July, as well as stay at the Murodo Lodge. Is there anyway for someone that doesn’t speak Japanese to book the lodge in advance?

    • wes Says:

      Travis, You could have the tourist information center in Kanazawa call and book for you when you arrive. If you’re staying without meals then no advanced booking is necessary.

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