3:00 to 11:00
Starts in: Hakuba*
Ends in: Hakuba*
The Hakuba area has long been known as the mountain playground of Japan, with a stunning range of picturesque peaks rising sharply from the rice fields and simple homes at the center of town. Ski resorts dot the base areas of several of the major peaks, and double as the starting point for summer treks to these magnificent mountains. Taking the lifts up as far you can go before setting out on foot the rest of the way saves time and energy, but if you were the kind of person interested in that - you wouldn't be looking at a trail running tour page, would you? Because of the lift-access and perfect panoramic views the secret is out, and these special areas can see mood-spoiling heavy foot traffic on sunny summer days.
But, there is a workaround. This particular tour misses the crowds by avoiding the lifts and shifting the start time to an hour that most tourists will be happy to be in bed for (their loss). We will drive as far up the mountain as possible, park and aim to be on the trail by no later than 3:30 a.m. We will set out in darkness by the light of our headlamps, but the early summer sunrise will crest above the mountains behind us and illuminate the path before us in no time. Temperatures will start out cool, but this too will soon change. Luckily, we our slow rising elevation will offset the climbing temperatures. On clear days, the scenery along the entirety of the trail is simply fantastic, but as with most climbs - only gets better as you progress upwards and onwards.
Overall the gradient is manageable, but climbs consistently and occasionally steeply for small sections. Your efforts are constantly rewarded as the views expand and with the summit and epic scenery in sight you'll reach the top before you know it. We will take some moments to enjoy the world-class views from our perch on the rocky peak, snap some photos and refuel with some simple snacks and tea before the thrilling, cruising run back down the ridge that seems almost meant for running. On our way down we may start to rub shoulders with the hordes of tourists getting off the cheat-machine (lift) and ambling up the trail. Depending on our mood we can stop and regale them with stories of the epic sunrise we experienced in quiet solitude, or choose to let our secret stay with us as we quietly flash a coy smile while replaying the moments of the last few hours in our minds, and nimbly rock hop fully satisfied back down to the car.
We could stop there, but why not keep the momentum going. Next we'll head to a local cafe for a fresh and tasty breakfast that we certainly earned, and finish off the perfect morning with a relaxing soak in a Hakuba area onsen - all before lunch! All told, we can expect to hike/run approximately 14 km with roughly 1,200 m of elevation gain and loss. That puts this effort right at the borderline of XS and S, as described on our "Choosing a Trail Running Tour" page, so have a look and see if this is the right tour for you.
IMAGE GALLERY (July, 2019)
Ground transportation, by taxi and/or private car during the tour is included in the price.
*Please note, that although the tour is listed as starting and ending in the village of Hakuba, we are able to pick you up and/or drop you off from nearby Otari village if necessary, for no extra charge.
One-time trail running insurance covering personal injury, liability and search and rescue is included in the price.
TEA, COFFEE & SNACKS
We will take at least one break at or near the summit to enjoy the scenery along with tea and snacks, to warm our bodies and satisfy our stomachs during the climb and before the descent back to the car. We are happy to include this service in the tour price.
Breakfast at a tasty local cafe is included in the price. You can choose between: (1) a dessert or pastry of your choice + a drink of your choice, or (2) a breakfast plate or meal of your choice.
ONSEN (HOT SPRING)
The bathing fee for a local onsen is included in the price, and we can also provide complimentary towels if necessary.
*This is a one-day tour, so lodging is typically not required or included. However, due to the very early start time, we could arrange a futon for you the night before in one of the empty guest rooms in our 137-year old traditional Japanese home for an extra ¥1,800 yen per adult / ¥1,000 per child.
For this tour to operate at the listed price, we require a minimum of 2 persons.
Group size will be limited to a maximum of 4 persons.
WHAT TO BRING
For this and our other half or full-day trail running adventures, typical gear requirements consist of:
Small backpack or trail running vest (8 to 20L)
Trail running shoes
Full body poncho or rainwear (jacket and pants)
Snacks (approx. 1,000 calories total)
Water or sports drink (1 to 1.5L)
Light fleece or other insulating layer
Headlamp or hand torch
If you would like to contact us to ask questions, receive more information, or inquire about booking this trip, please either mail us directly using our email address, or submit an inquiry through the contact form below. We are looking forward to hearing from you!