Known as the Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods in Ainu), Daisetsuzan National Park (Nutapukaushipe) is home to great ridges, highland wetlands, deep gorges and international onsen resorts in Northern Hokkaido. Although it can get busy from summer to autumn, as well as in ski season. You can admire the spectacular mountain views, try the great traverse or downhill skiing from both Asahi-dake and Sounkyo’s onsen villages. Daisetsuzan is an easy day trip or overnighter from Asahikawa.
Tomuraushi Onsen (Shintoku)
TO DO 01
Climbing & Skiing Asahi-dake
Hokkaido’s highest peak of Asahi-dake (2291m) offers breaking views over the surrounding forest, mountains and wetlands. Most visitors climb up to the scenic mountainside from Asahidake Onsen by cable car. Skiing is available from December to early May.
TO DO 02
Climbing Kuro-dake & Staying Sounkyo Onsen
Set on the upper stream of Ishikari-gawa in the northeastern part of Daisetsuzan National Park, Sounkyo Onsen is Northern Hokkaido’s largest hot springs resort and the main base of Kuro-dake. The village sits along the deep gorge with columnar joints.
TO DO 03
Admiring Tokachi-dake Mountains & Open-air Onsen
Head further inland from Biei or Kamifurano, you will find the real onsen halfway up the Tokachi-dake Mountains in the southwestern part of Daisetsuzan National Park. Climbers, onsen enthusiasts, backcountry skiers and snowboarders come here all over the world.
TO DO 04
Frolicking Around Nukabira-ko
Nukabira is a tranquil onsen village on the southeastern side of Daisetsuzan National Park. It is a good base for hiking and cycling around the artificial lake Nukabira-ko.
TO DO 05
Chilling Out at Placid Shikaribetsu-ko
Daisetsuzan National Park’s only natural lake, Shikaribetsu-ko feels isolated and mysterious destination. Winter visitors marvel at its ice village with an onsen on the frozen lake. There is only one onsen hotel on the western shore of the lake, but it is worth a night.
TO DO 06
Healing at the hidden Tomuraushi Onsen
This modern people’s lodge 60km (!) north of Shintoku is a wonderful hideaway sits at the base of Tomuraushi-yama (2141m).
TO DO 07
Driving the Dynamic Mikuni Pass
On the border of Tokachi and Kamikawa regions, Hokkaido’s highest pass makes a wonderful drive and rewards with spectacle views.
TO DO 08
Tasting Kamikawa Ramen
Renowned for its tasty ramen, which uses local noodles and clear water. Around JR Kamikawa Station has several excellent shokudo and well-priced izakaya tempt you during your stopover.
DAISETSUZAN NATIONAL PARK MAP
GETTING THERE & AROUND
TRAIN: The closest station to Sounkyo is Kamikawa on the JR Sekihoku Line, about an hour from Asahikawa by local train (8 daily / ¥1290). There are limited express trains to Kamikawa from Sapporo (2 daily / 2hrs 20min / ¥6270) via Asahikawa (4 daily / 40min / ¥1920), as well as Abashiri (4 daily / 3hrs / ¥6710).
BUS: Asahikawa Denkikido bus 66 (called ideyu-go) runs between JR Asahikawa Station and Asahi-dake’s ropeway station (4 daily / 1hr 40min), via Asahikawa Airport (1hr / ¥1000) and the Higashikawa Michikusakan (45min / ¥870).
All intercity buses (compulsory reservation) to Sounkyo stopping at JR Kamikawa Station: