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Daikiretto: Minamidake to Hotaka Sanso (Nagano)


Daikiretto ridge line hike

 

The infamous Daikiretto from Shinhotaka is a difficult 2-3 day hike in the Northern Alps. The traverse is best approached from Minamidake and should only be attempted in good weather and in the main season from July to September once all the snow is melted. This hike is very exposed and requires scramble and climbing skills. If you're up for the challenge you'll be rewarded with amazing views and some really fun climbing.

 

kitahotaka during sunset

			
⏲︎	Time: 20hKanji: 大キレットLocation: NaganoDistance: 27.7kmDifficulty: ExpertElevation Gain: 2870mMultiday: 2D/1NHiking Season: Mid July
	to mid October
     					

Access

Car

You can access the Daikiretto from both Kamikochi and Shinhotaka.


If coming by car park at the free parking lot next to Shinzanso.

In the off-season the parking lot doesn't usually fill up, in summer it's almost always full by 9-10pm the night before. If it's full you can park at the upper ropeway parking lots which are also free. (We arrived at 23:30 on Friday and it was full. They usually have a parking attendant that will close the access)


Public Transportation

Take the bus to Hirayu Onsen and there change to the Shinhotaka bus.


You can also end this hike in Kamikochi through Dakesawa or Karasawa (read here) or continue on to Gendarme (read here).


Trail description

Day1: 15km, 6h, 1800m elevation gain (Yamap estimate 7:30min)

Start from Shinhotaka ropeway and walk up the forest road past the parking lots on the right. The first 2h will be on the forest road and are pretty easy going.

After about 30min you’ll get to Hodakadairahinangoya (toilets, food and water here if they are open). Then it’s another 30min to the junction for Okuhotaka.

From now on you'll be on an actual hiking trail through the forest. Keep going straight and after about 1h you'll pass the shelter hut Takidanihinangoya. Its always open and also has a toilet, but it’s pretty dirty. Then another 1h to Yaridairakoya. Total walking time for us to Yaridairakoya was 2:50h.


The trailhead for Minamidake starts behind the large wodden deck of the hut on the right side. Be careful not to walk staright or you'll go to Yari. The hut is a good place for a break before going straight up for the next 3h to Minamidake. They have a water source and their lunch looked good too. We took a nap on the deck.


After the hut the next part is quite steep and you have to walk the remaining elevation to the ridge (abot 1000m). About 2h are in the forest and the last hour is above the treeline. Not much to say other than it's really hot in summer and I would recomend filling up your water at Yaridaira. Nothing technical about this part its just up up up.


Once you get up to the ridge, check in at the hut and then walk the 10min to the peak of Minamidake. If you get lucky, sunset will be clear and beautiful.


minamigoya golden hour

Day 2: 12.5km, 8h, 686m elevation gain, 2566m down (12:20h yamap walking estimate without breaks)

Today you finally get on to the Daikiretto. Total time for us from Minamidake to Hotaka Sanso was about 4:15min, but we go fast and we started early, so we wouldn't have to pass so many "slow" hikers.

There are a couple of hairy spots, especially after Hasegawa peak. You'll have to climb over an exposed boulder while only having one bolt to stand on and not great spots to hold onto with your hands. Generally the climb is well secured by extra bolts, chains and ladders but you need to know what you're doing.


Like I mentioned above this part of the hike is very exposed and has sections where you'll need to be able to hold your weight on a chain and climb down over an exposed trail. If you've never used a chain while climbing and can't hold your bodyweight on one when climbing down, I wouldn't recomend going this route. Daikiretto is more climbing than hiking.

Also it is generally advised to go from Minamidake to Hotaka Sanso, that way most of the chain and vertical sections will be going up.



After getting to Hotaka Sanso have a break and stay the night or go back down to Shinhotaka through the Shiradashisawa trail.


The first 1/3 of the way is loose talus and since the earthquake in 2020 there is practically no trail. You could call it boulder surfing because thats how it feels when a 500kg boulder starts sliding when you step on it.

Next you have a short steep section throuh the forest and then you get to a very exposed and tiny ledge along the valley. It's steep and the ground is very slippery and unstable. Daikiretto is probably easier, because there you'll have chains when needed. It took us 2:40h down to the forest road and then 1 last hour back to Shinhotaka.



If you can avoid it and you came by public transportation I would recommend going down to Kamikochi through Dakesawa or Karasawa instead. It's more enjoyable/beautiful and you don't have to be so careful to not break your ankle.


Generally it's also recommended to walk this route in 3, sometimes even 4 days. I added some huts below which make good overnight stops.


Extra info:

  • The hike has many dangerous sections and is exposed, make sure you have rescue insurance and your abilities match the skill level needed for this hike.

  • Don't attempt in bad weather or if there is any rain in the forecast.

  • Bring gloves for grip on the chains and helmet for rockfall.


Accomodation

Yaridaira: 13.000Y incl. 2 meals. Tent 2000Y. Reservation required only for the hut.

Minamidake Goya: 14.000Y incl. 2 meals. Tent 2000Y. Reservation required only for the hut.

Kitahotaka Sanso: 14.000Y incl. 2 meals. Tent 2000Y. Reservation required.

Hotaka Sanso: 13.500Y incl. 2 meals. Tent 2000Y. Reservation required only for the hut.


minamigoya campground sunset

Elevation Profile & Map

Daikiretto
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Download GPX • 171KB




Gallery


2 Comments


Guest
Nov 05, 2023

Thank you for linking this in the FB group! So much info and the photos are fantastic! In your experience with the various spots that had parking, were there separate spots for motorcycles? Reading how bad parking can get, might be better to take the bike instead.

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Tee
Tee
Nov 18, 2023
Replying to

I’m not sure about the free parking lots but the paid ones definitely have motorbike spots. But we didn’t want to pay, that’s why we parked at upper parking lot :D the upper paid parking lot always has space, so you can definitely come by car. But you might have to pay

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