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Hakubayari Onsen to Karamatsu (Hakuba)

Hakubayari onsen hike

Hakubayari Onsen 2100m to Karamatsu 2696m is a difficult 2 day traverse on the Hakuba ridgeline. Day 1 to the onsen is easy and just has a lot of elevation gain. Day 2 is a very exposed ridgeline with steep drop offs, chains and climbing. This hike is incredibly scenic and one of my favorites in Japan.

Helmet and gloves needed.

⏲︎	Time: 13-15hKanji: 白馬鑓温泉小屋Location: NaganoDistance: 21.8kmDifficulty: DifficultElevation Gain: 2300mOvernightHiking Season: July 
	to mid October


Take the bus or park at the Hakuba Happo visitor center. From there take a bus to the trailhead Sarukura (猿倉), it takes about 30min and costs 1000¥. The bus runs from end of April to end of October.

Youll finish the hike at Happoikesanso and can take the lift and gondola down or walk.

Don't worry about the lift/gondola ticket, you can buy it at the second lift on the way down at Usagidaira.

Happo Alpen Line Ticket: 3000¥ one way

Trail description

Day 1: 6h, 8.4km, 1700m elevation gain.

Start from Sarukura bus stop. The hut there has toilets, vending machine etc. You could stay here too to get an early start.

First couple of hours are mostly in the forest and there isn't much to see.

Once you get out of the forest the scenery is beautiful and you'll soon cross a small stream. This whole area is incredibly beautiful and there is lots of variety with small waterfalls, peak views and a hot spring flowing down the mountain.

The onsen at Hakubayarikoya is 1000¥ for day visitors so not cheap but so worth it. Be prepared, it's very hot. There is also a womans bath. When we went in October they were already dismantling the hut and we were the only people there.

After the onsen it's another 2,5h to tengusanso, the hut for tonight.

If you have extra time you could also make a detour to Hakubayari which should add about 70min round trip from the fork.

Day 2: 7h, 13km, 630m elevation gain

Today is gonna be a lot more difficult and you'll have to pass the Kaerazu Kiretto (ridge of no return) using chains and your hands. The ridgeline goes up and down on the way to Karamatsu and is very exposed and dangerous in some sections. You'll have to hold your weight on chains and climb over deadly drop-offs. People are scared and slow so expect some traffic if you go on the weekend.

Kaerazu kiretto hakuba

It took us about 3.5h to Karamatsudake and then another 3.5h to Happoikesanso.

Had a nice break at the pond and were quite slow on the last part as the area around the pond is very busy and the boardwalks were crowded. Keep an eye on the last time for the lift and start early, otherwise you'll have a lot more to walk on day 2. (Times depend on the day, check here)


Tengusanso: Hut with 2 meals 15.000Y; Tent 2000Y per person and 1000Y per tent

Both require advance reservation.

Extra Info for this hike

  • The well at Tengusanso isn't trustworthy, so I would recommend bringing a water filter or buying bottled water.

  • You can use a bathing suit at Hakubayari onsen (especially as a woman) but expect other people around you to be naked

  • Don't forget gloves and a helmet. There are vertical climbing sections on this hike with rockfall danger.

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

Elevation Profile & Map



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