Japan’s first pedestrian street (developed in 1972) heading north from the train station, Kaimono Koen (買物公園) is lined with shopping malls, restaurants and cafes, as well as a hundred of bronze sculptures. Near the north end of the the street, you will find the Symbol Tower in the center of Tokiwa traffic circle.
More info www.kaimonokouen.com
If you only have a couple of hours to kill, take a stroll through this 12-hectare pleasant riverside garden (北彩都ガーデン) just southeast of JR Asahikawa Station along Chubetsu-gawa. The Garden Center offers free rental snowshoes, tubes and cross-country skis.
More info www.asahikawa-park.or.jp/kitasaito
Around 15 minutes’ walk north from the train station, Tokiwa Park (常磐公園), established in 1916, is a great place to have a picnic or hire a rowboat on the pond. There are 10 sculptures and 19 stone monuments on the grounds. Cherry trees bloom around the pond in early May.
Laid out in 1889 in an attempted to emulate the grand planning ideas of Kamikawa Rikyu (上川離宮) imperial villa, Kaguraoka Park (神楽岡公園) is a leafy place for picnic and camping (Jul-Aug) sits beside Chubetsu-gawa. Cherry trees become a pink in early May.
Named after Kyoto’s popular neighborhood district of Arashiyama, this mountainside park (嵐山公園) incorporates the Northern Wild Plants Garden (北邦野草園: Hoppo Yaso-en: 9am-4.30pm 29 Apr-15 Oct; Free) with more than 600 species plants and a re-created small Ainu village
Hiking trails lead to Arashiyama Observatory on the summit that offers the city’s best view.
Arashiyama Park Center (嵐山パークセンター: 9am-5pm) has a small exhibition about Ainu culture. It is a 10-minute walk from the Hoppo Yaso-en-iriguchi bus stop across the river.