About 20km southeast of Biei passes through the leafy Shirakaba Kaido (白樺街道: white-birch road) is the highland hot sprigs village of Shirogane Onsen (白金温泉) sits at 640m. It is an excellent point for a soak after a hike or cycling, as well as hike to the Tokachi-dake Mountains.
Highlights Blue Pond, Shirahige-no-taki, Shirogane Mohan Farm
Tourist Information Michi-no-eki Biei Shirogane-Biruke (道の駅びえい白金ビルケ): Tel 0166-94-3355 / Shirogane / 8.30am-6pm Jun-Aug, to 5pm Sep-May
01 PHOTOGENIC POINT
Blue Pond (Aoi-ike)
青い池 / Aoi-ike / Dawn-dusk, to 9pm in winter / FREE / Parking fee ¥500
Biei’s most famous and crowded spot today, the ‘Blue Pond’ (青い池: called aoi-ike) can be found about 3km west of Shirogane Onsen along the beautiful Shirakaba Kaido (白樺街道) street. The pond was formed in the construction of the embankment in 1989 and the color of water is usually emerald-green. The best time to visit is late autumn. It is lit up at night during the winter.
02 SCENIC FALLS
From the Blue River Bridge behind the Hotel Park Hills in Shirogane Onsen, you can overlooking this cobalt blue falls of Shirahige-no-taki cascading from the middle of a vertical rocks. The falls are lit up on winter nights.
03 SCENIC LANDSCAPE
Shirogane Mohan Farm
This grand-scale model farm is not open to the public, but you can admire picturesque views of glassy meadow and mountains from the public roads outside the farm. The shortest walkway to the farm-side road from Shirogane Onsen is across the Blue River Bridge and go up the stairs.
SHIROGANE ONSEN MAP
From Asahikawa, Dohoku Bus 39 runs to Shirogane Onsen (1.5hrs) via Biei Station on the JR Furano Line continue to the National Taisetsu Youth Friendship Center (国立大雪青少年の家: Seishonen-no-ie), stopping at Shirogane Aoi-ike-iriguchi (白金青い池入口: 5 daily / 20min / ¥550).
Note: the road between Fukiage Onsen and Bogakudai is closed from late October to early May.