The Annupuri peak sits at the top of the Grand Hirafu ski resort, from there you can access all 4 resorts of the Niseko United ski area and Moiwa. During the winter months, the short, steep hike up from the top of the pizza box chairlift gets you access to some of the best terrain in the region and almost guaranteed bottomless powder turns. Those turns, with over 1000m of leg-burning descent through perfectly spaced trees and powder-filled groomers back to the bottom lifts, are what keep visitors coming back for more. Once the layers of accumulated snow have melted the rugged hiking trails are waiting to be explored.
Embracing Summer In Niseko
For the people that have chosen to stay year-round, it is the green season and warmer summer months that have kept us here. There are many reasons to visit Niseko in the summer; the food, the climate, the golf, however, with the lifts not spinning we have to work a little harder for the same views and search a little harder for the same sense of exploration that the winter months provide. For those that choose to search, the Annupuri peak is just as exciting in summer as it is in winter.
The Many Trails Of Mt Annupuri
One of our favourite summer activities in the region is to get out there and discover the hiking trails in Niseko that link up the region; four of our favourite picks include:
- Kagaminuma – Very well-maintained trail that starts at the Hanazono golf course and winds its way up to the breathtaking Mirror lake. Approximately: 1 hr ascent
- Koubou Trail – A relatively flat section that links up Hirafu and Niseko village with a beautiful array of vegetation and views of Haru no Taki. Approximately: 40 minutes
- Annupuri to Goshiki Onsen – Slightly off the beaten track but a really pleasant way to visit the Goshiki onsen plateau if you are staying in Annupuri. Approximately: 1hr ascent
- Goshiki Parking to the Annupuri Peak – An absolute classic; the 2.5K rocky trail will take you from Goshiki parking lot up to the peak with its expansive views of Yotei and the surrounding area. Approximately: 1.5hrs ascent depending on fitness.
Linking The Trails
If you are a keen enthusiast, check out what it’s like to link all the four ski resorts in one day.
The plan was a pipe dream that involved hiking in Niseko and linking up all four ski resorts, taking in all of our favourite trails in the area. It was to be a big day out but the variety of terrain on offer promised to keep things exciting. To witness the resorts – usually blanket-covered in deep powder snow and buzzing with people – now teeming with insects, wildlife, and fast-growing vegetation is a great contrast to behold.
The route itself starts in Kutchan town and then along the river into Hirafu, from there it heads up behind the Family Ski Chair past the Hilton golf course and over to Niseko village. Continuing on to Annupuri, the route then climbs its way up to Goshiki onsen and onto the Peak before descending down to Hanazono and back into Kutchan town. The trails take you through tunnels of high sassa (dwarf bamboo) and under chairlifts waiting for the resort to be filled in with snow once again. Some tarmac sections are used to link up the trails but it is mostly off-road and the views from the top are an amazing reminder that adventure is available from your doorstep when you are lucky enough to live at the foot of the mountain.
Mt Annupuri is at the front end of the Niseko range, deeper into the range towards the ocean there are multiple routes and great hikes for all abilities. We highly recommend anybody in the area to lace up and explore the trails that are hidden away in winter and discover a new side of all the familiar places the ski lifts will take you in winter.