Thursday, September 10, 2020

Hiking Mt. Haku: A Beginner Guide

Although I called myself as beginner/amateur mountain climber, I have several experiences in climbing/hiking some mountains in Indonesia (e.g. [1]),  including the highest peak of Java [2]. In Japan, I ever climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji via the Fujinomiya trail (the hardest and shortest trail) [3]. One of our team in this Hakusan trekking is the first timer mountain climber; hence, this story can be used for a total beginner.


Mt. Hakusan is one of the sacred mountains in Japan (three holy mountains). The others are Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama. But, the reason for this climbing is not because of its holiness; instead, it is very close to my current place of life. I live in Nomi city, Ishikawa prefecture. Hakusan is located in Hakusan city, the neighbor of Nomi city. If you love nature, you will love to live in Ishikawa prefecture. And Hakusan is one of the best natural landscapes in Ishikawa prefecture.


I prepared this trekking in several ways. Three weeks before the trekking day, I hiked Sky Shishiku highland (82 m to 642 m) in Tsurugi with a total of 16 km of journey. Two weeks before the trekking day, I repeat to high Shishiku highland, but not to the peak (about 4 km). One week before the trekking day, I intensively walked about 3000 to 8000 steps every day (measured by a wristband), including my daily routine going up and down from 1 floor to 5th floor. This exercise is enough, I think.


The following gears are ordered from the most important to the less important.
  • Trekking shoes: use hiking shoes with a vibrant and waterproof feature if possible. Vibrant shoes can reduce stiffness on the foot while waterproof shoes keep your foot dry when it rains.
  • lightweight backpack: since there is a cafeteria in Murodo (highest station) and water are available in all stations, bring a lightweight backpack. Fill it with a snack, water, and other important things (raingear, wallet, ticket, etc).
  • Clothing: use a layer hiking t-shirt with long pants in summer. Keep other layers (lightweight jacket/hoodie) in the backpack.
  • Hiking pole: use a single pole for climbing up and down. This pole is important to control and hold you when going down. It prevents your knee for stiffness.
  • Hats: use hats (or cap) to protect you for sunlight and tree branches.
  • To keep in a backpack: rain gear, flashlight, glove, plastic bags, towels, power bank.

The day

We started our journey from JAIST. The time used in this hiking is the most ideal one-day trip. Although the weather prediction changed, from cloudy to rain, in the day, we can keep our schedule on time. Follow our schedule if you stay nearby Mt. Hakusan (about 1-hour drive to ichinose).

We gather in JAIST rotary at 3:20 a.m. At 3:30, we left JAIST by car to Ichinose. From the google map, the trip takes about 70 minutes, and we did it as the map said. We arrived at Ichinose camping ground (and parking area) at 4:30. We pray subuh there once arrived, and buy the bus ticket to the bettou deai center. 

The ticket for a round trip is 1000 yen. The trip is about 15 minutes. We catch the first shuttle bus at 5 a.m. Thus, we arrived at Bettou deai at 5:15. There are a toilet and a water station at Bettou deai. It is better to go to the toilet and fill for the water before starting to climb Mt. Hakusan.

We start to climb Mt. Hakusan at 5:30 when we enter the gate. A beautiful wooded bridge welcomed us before entering the forest. Although it is still dark at that time, the fresh air of nature invites us to enjoy this adventure. Welcome to the jungle!

About one-hour walking (6 a.m.), we arrived at the first station. There are a toilet and water station there. You can take breakfast here, at Nakahanba. Here are my pictures there.

If you plan to take a rest there, don't waste a lot of time. Ten to fifteen minutes is enough to take a rest. If you plan a brief rest, I suggest you do not take a sitting position, but a humped shape position.

Continue walking about 1.5 hours (7.30 a.m.) we arrive at Jinnosuke shelter hut. As the previous station, there are toilets and water stations in addition to a shelter hut. The toilet is clean; hence, I recommend you to make pee here before continuing to Murodo. The first figure in this post, a panorama view, was taken at Jinnosuke shelter hut.

The next walking is the rest journey to the only station before the top, the Murodo station. We need to be checked (due to coronavirus), wear a mask, and show a sticker as a sign that we already take temperature check. The scenery from Jinnosuke to Murodo is the best view during this Hakusan trail. Don't forget to take lot of pictures. Here is one of mine.
Before Murodo, the view is great!
It takes about 1.5 hours from Jinnosuke to Murodo (with two-three breaks). I forget to take a picture when in Murodo, but the following video was taken just before entering Murodo.

In Murodo, we take about 20 minutes of breaks. We did brunch (breakfast + lunch). At about 9:40 a.m, we continue our journey to the top of Mt. Haku. From Murodo to the top of Mt. Haku needs about 40 minutes slow walking (because the trek is a little bit steep). Nevertheless, the view at the top of Mt. Haku is awesome. At 10:20 we reached the top of Mt. Haku!

At the top of Mt. Haku

Murodo from the top of Mt. Haku
That's all the journey of ascending Mt. Haku. Going down from Mt. Haku at that time is longer than expected, a little bit messy. It was rain! So, even the weather forecast says it will sunny or cloudy, prepare your rain gear in advance. Nevertheless, here is our track to hike Mt. Hakusan.

After staying about 20 minutes at the top we back to Murodo, having lunch there and go back down. It takes 5 hours from Murodo to Betto deai in rainy conditions. On the descending way, we take a break in Nakahanba station just to wait for the rain stopped (not really stopped, but better). At 4 p.m, we arrived at Bettou deai center and directly riding the bus to Ichinose. We arrived at Ichinose at 4:15 p.m. Mission accomplished!

Time frame:

Active time: 4h44m
Break time:  4h53m
Total time: 10h37m

Closing: Tips and Tricks

  • There is a cafeteria at Murodo, soba or udon cost about 500 yen, not so expensive.
  • In every station water faucet is available, no need to worry about water. At least three water stations are available before achieving Murodo.
  • No bus from Kanazawa to Ichinose during the pandemic (2020), the only way to achieve Ichinose is by car.
  • Bring lightweight equipment, it only takes 10 hours roundtrip for the beginner in rainy conditions descending.
For more detail trekking data, see my yamap activity page:

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