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 have the option of heading to a local cafe for a fresh and tasty breakfast that we certainly earned, and finishing 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.
SUNRISE OVER THE ALPS: Watch from above the clouds as the rising sun casts a red glow across the mountaintops
EMPTY TRAILS: Starting in the dark is tough, but having the usually-crowded trail entirely to yourself is the reward
AMAZING 360-DEGREE PANORAMAS: Take in the unbeatable alpine views in all directions
HEARTY BREAKFAST: Gulf down a rich post-run breakfast at a favorite local cafe
IMAGE GALLERY (July, 2019)
This is one of our locally organized and locally guided tours, where pricing is based on a flat guiding fee of ¥30,000 per day. All other expenses during the course of the tour are to be paid by the customers as they are incurred. Contact us for a detailed estimate of those expenses before booking.
PICK-UP & DROP-OFF
Complimentary pick-up and drop-off can be provided from/to any location within the villages of Otari or Hakuba; such as your place of lodging or any of Otari or Hakuba's train stations.
There is no minimum number of participants for this tour
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
BOOKING & PAYMENT
For your convenience and ours, bookings are made through our online booking platform by clicking on the 'BOOK' button below and following the steps presented: (1) Choose a start time/date (2) Fill out the required information (3) Enter a coupon code (if applicable) (4) Complete your booking by clicking on the 'Book It' button.
Upon confirmation of your booking, we will reach out to you through the contact information you provided to confirm or customize your itinerary and to follow up with any further questions or instructions. In general, payments are accepted in cash on the day of the tour.
Rising Sun RuN
Run Along a Stunning Summit Ridge at Sunrise
July - September
¥30,000 guiding fee
If you would like to contact us to ask questions, receive more information, or inquire about booking this trip, please either connect with us directly using the chat feature located on the bottom right of your screen, or submit an inquiry through the contact form below. We are looking forward to hearing from you!