Daisetsuzan Mountains

The Daisetsuzan Mountains are a group of ranges in central Hokkaidō defined by their proximity in the Daisetsuzan National Park and a common volcanic origin.

Contents

Classification

The classification of the mountains is complicated. The main section in the northwest of the park is known as the Ishikari Mountains (Ishikari Sanchi). Within that range is Daisetsuzan proper centring on the Ohachidaira Caldera (お鉢平カルデラ) with the Tomuraushi group to the south. The Tokachi Mountains are further to the southwest, joined to the Ishikari range by a narrow ridge.

To the east there is a another range, confusingly also called the Ishikari Mountains (Ishikari yama), located around Mount Ishikari (Ishikaridake). (Although the kanji in the names are the same, the large group in the northwest are called Ishikari Sanchi, while those in the southeast are called Ishikari Yama.) Other groups of hills lie to the south, on the west side of Nukabira and Shikaribetsu Lakes.

Ishikari Mountains (石狩山地 Ishikari Sanchi)

Daisetsuzan Group

Zone of stratovolcanoes and lava domes [1] including:

Tomuraushi Group

Tokachi Mountains (十勝連峰 Tokachi Renpō)

Named after Mount Tokachi, mainly stratovolcanoes which have been active in recent times [2]. They form the border between Kamikawa and Tokachi.

Ishikari Group (石狩山 Ishikari yama)

Nipesotsu-Maruyama Group

Stratovolcanoes and lava domes [3] [4]. Located west of Lake Nukabira. Also known as the 'Higashi Tokachi Maruyama Group'.

Shikaribetsu Group

Lava domes located to the west and south of Lake Shikaribetsu [5]:

Permafrost

The permafrost, which is only found elsewhere in Japan on the tops of Mount Fuji (3,776 m) and Mount Tateyama (3,015 m), begins in Daisetsuzan at about 2,000 m. The park has at least 19 peaks that go over this level so the extent of the permafrost is considerable. Mean annual temperature at the Mount Hakuun Mountain Hut (Hakuundake hinangoya) is -3.8 degrees C.

Flora

Daisetsuzan is best known for over 200 species of alpine plant which flower on the peaks in July and August, however there are different vegetation zones on the mountains according to altitude and in the foothills there are other flowers that emerge when the snows melt in May and June. In mid September the hillsides change colour with the turning of the leaves on the trees.

Fauna

The mountains contain many animals including the brown bear (Ursus arctos yesoensis), Hokkaidō deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis), Hokkaidō fox (Vulpes vulpes schrencki), northern pika (Ochotona hyperborea yesoensis), Ezo sable (Martes zibellina), Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus) and Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris orientis). There are no wolves, the Hokkaidō species (Canis lupus hattai) became extinct during the 19th century.

Daisetsuzan Grand Traverse

The 'hard' five day, 55 kilometre walk through the Ishikari and Tokachi Mountains on the west side of Daisetsuzan National Park is described in detail in the Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan guide (see sources below). The trek starts at Asahidake Onsen, below Mount Asahi, and finishes at Tokachidake Onsen, below Mount Tokachi. The walk is normally undertaken between July and October.

There are a number of entry/exit points on the route so it is possible to do the 'traverse' in separate sections at different times.

See also An Appendix to Lonely Planet's "Hiking in Japan" Daisetsuzan Grand Traverse

External links

Sources