Where better to go for a short hike or to enjoy the beautiful nature of Sapporo than Maruyama? From Odori Station in the center of Sapporo, take the Tozai Subway Line to the nearest station, Maruyama Koen Station, about 5 minutes away. From Exit 3, it is a 10-minute walk to the trailhead, which is easily accessible from the center of the city.

Despite this, the rich natural environment is so well preserved that it is hard to believe that you are in a city as beautiful as Sapporo.

Maruyama was designated as a national natural monument in 1921 as the Maruyama Primeval Forest. Today, a large part of the mountain is still protected as a primeval forest. The area is popular among birdwatchers as a place to observe wild birds, and the chirping of various species of birds echoes through the area. Adorable Ezo squirrels and chipmunks can be seen running around in search of food.

Maruyama is a lovely 225-meter-high mountain, and it takes less than two hours to climb down while enjoying nature at a leisurely pace. The indigenous Ainu people called this mountain “Moiwa,” which means “small mountain” in Ainu language.

However, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the mountain was renamed “Enzan,” which is also its current name, by the Japanese. It seems that the mountain was named “Maruyama” because of its rounded shape as seen from the central part of the city.

As you may have noticed, another famous mountain representing Sapporo is located nearby. Moiwa. The name “Moiwa” was taken over by a misunderstanding between the Ainu and the Japanese, and was not given to Maruyama, but to Mt.

Of the several climbing routes, the most popular is probably the 88-kilometer route starting from Daishido, which is also close to the Hokkaido Shrine. It is an easy route of about 1 km. The 88-kenjo-sho is the 88 temples on Shikoku Island that were originally associated with Kukai, and the pilgrimage to these 88 temples is a famous pilgrimage.

Sapporo at that time had many immigrants from Shikoku. When the Ueda brothers of Maruyama Village wanted to familiarize Sapporo citizens with Maruyama, it was quite a wonderful idea to place a mini version of the 88 temples along the mountain climbing route.

However, when they asked for donations of Kannon statues to be placed at the 88 miniature Kannon temples, more than 200 statues were collected, and even today, more than 88 statues of the Kannon actually stand guard over the climbers.

The top of the mountain is rocky, but the view from here is breathtaking and makes the climb up this lovely mountain worthwhile. To descend, you can either continue down the route you have just taken or take the Zoo Route, another popular route that leads to the back of Maruyama Zoo.

This route is shorter than the 88-kilometer route at 0.7 kilometers, but is also recommended for its gentle incline and different scenery from the ascent. It is also fun to stop by Maruyama Zoo on the way back.

After a late spring, Maruyama’s summer is filled with fresh greenery, which eventually turns into bright red and yellow in autumn, and then comes the long northern winter when snow covers the mountain in white.

The four beautiful seasons of Maruyama. Sapporo is one of the largest cities in Japan, but it also has a special charm that coexists with abundant nature.