Great local resorts, after-ski entertainment and attractions
Taisetsu* is a collection of magnificent mountains that form the central highlands of Hokkaido, and here you’ll find the largest national park in the country known as the Daisetsuzan National Park*. With mountains of 2,000m above sea level and 1,700m in the alpine zone, this region includes the Asahi-dake – the highest peak in all of Hokkaido!
For hiking enthusiasts and skiing adventurers, this is the prime spot to visit. Apart from the beautiful mountains and national park, there are several towns to visit including Asahikawa City – which has the most popular zoo in all of Japan – the Asahiyama Zoo, and for its delicious Asahikawa Ramen. On the outskirts of this city you can visit the Asahikawa Ramen Village where 8 famous restaurants compete for the attention of the locals and tourists! Many hotels are available in Asahikawa, so guests can enjoy the winter festival of Asahikawa that entices 1 million visitors a year.
For diving sight-seeing, tourists will love the alpine zone where the vast fields of blooming flowers blossom from season to season as the environment adapts to the changing ecosystems. In the green season, tourists can admire the farming and manufacturing sector and watch as locals utilise their natural environments to produce delicious local food. These cities are all conveniently located within an hour from Taisetsu, with a range of accommodation options to make you feel at home.
In winter, the freezing wind blowing from the Kamikawa Basin to Daisetsuzan can drop as low as minus 30°C. The pure iciness in the air creates the most elaborate and exquisite snowflakes that can expand as large as 5mm in diameter – these shining crystals are the purest quality you’ll find in Japan! With the massive snowfalls in this area, it creates high-quality agricultural products for the winter season – a popular example is the ‘Yume Pirika” rice brand that is famous in Taisetsu-Area.
The perfect balance to the winter day are the hot spring pockets created from the active volcanoes in the surrounding area, so guests can re-energise in the serene, natural springs.
Taisetsu is an expanding urban destination that will become ‘the’ ski resort and hiking spot to visit in Hokkaido. As it is central to Hokkaido, it is the base of distribution for activities, local food, and the environment that make it so exceptional to visit.
*Taisetsu and Daisetsu means the same.
How long is the journey from?
from Asahikawa Airport: 40 min (bus)
Domestic flight times to Asahikawa Airport
from Tokyo: 1 hr 35 min, from Nagoya: 1 hr 45 min
The beauty of Hokkaido and Asahikawa is all packed into the cosy, comfortable in that is Ryokan Sensyoen. This is a traditional Japanese style accommodation was created with all of the wonderful offerings of Hokkaido in mind.
Ryokan Sensyoen is located in Asahikawa, the second largest city in Hokkaido. It’s conveniently located just 10 minutes from Asahikawa station as well as other local attractions including the Asahiyama Zoo which is a half an hour drive from the inn. There are also 10 ski resorts within 3 hours driving distance from the inn, one of the closest being Kamui Links, just 25 minutes from there.
Guests who have stayed at the inn have praised the delicious authentic Japanese meals served for breakfast and dinner. Ryokan Sensyoen is very passionate about cooking with only the freshest ingredients from the local area – and they proudly mostly service local and domestic produces acquired from markets in Asahikawa and Sapporo.
Staying at Ryokan Sensyoen was originally built in the late 1930’s and has now expanded into the adjacent annex building of four storeys. Throughout both the main building and the annex you will find yourself immersed in modern comforts and traditional Japanese hospitality.
3-8-3 Takasagadai, Asahikawa City, Hokkaido
Daisetsu Mori-no Garden
Daisetsu Mori-no Garden is a beautiful, eye-opening 250km long garden path located in Hokkaido. This attractive garden forest connects popular cities of Hokkaido, including eight tourist gardens over Taisetsu, Furano and Tokachi.
This major garden is divided into two areas – the Mori-no Hanazono is the flower garden containing 700 different kinds of flowers blooming over magnificent fields, and the Mori-no Geihinkan is a forest guesthouse – using the beauty of the natural forest as a decorative front, this feature looks like something you’ll find in a Studio Ghibli film.
There are five themes to the gardens that visitors can learn about during their stay:
1. Taisetsuna Niwa: the protection of all nature and blossoms in the Taisetsu area
2. Shikino Sumika: the blossoming of flowers over the course of the four seasons
3. Hanano Izumi: meaning ‘the fountain of flowers’, focuses on the flowers that spring from the earth
4. Shitashimino Niwa: the garden of interactivity – visitors should tour this area with all senses for full enrichment
5. Kamuimintara: features large blossoms to symbolise the vastness of Hokkaido
These themes are intended to stimulate guests’ experience and to invoke an aura of creativity as well as a sense of play. Several of the inner gardens also have exclusive themes that can be visited like ‘Forest Gateway’, ‘Museum of the Forest’ and ‘Healing Valley’, plus many more. Using your senses will allow you to absorb the brilliance of nature: the deep, forested scents, the breeze of the wind, the sweet chirping of the birds.
After sight-seeing, head to the café and shops in the gardens, or try Furattello di Mikuni restaurant and rest in the hotel Villa, owned by a master of French cuisine, who serves delicious meals in an elegant environment, and houses guests throughout all seasons. This beautiful nature park is open from the end of May to mid-October, and costs ¥800 for general entry.
How long is the journey from?
from Asahikawa City: 40 min (JR Express Line), 1 hr 20 min (bus)
Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival
Be sure to visit during the Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival in winter, located one hour by car from Asahikawa. It was held for the first time in 1976, and it is held from late January to late March every year. This ice festival displays a huge ice waterfall made from the water of the stream of the Ishikari River riverbank of 10,000 square meters, and in the evening, transforms into an ice kingdom lit up by all colours of the rainbow to showcase the ice buildings and statues. Fireworks are set off every day during the period.
Sounkyo is one of the few famous Hokkaido Hot Spring towns. Hokkaido’s longest river, Ishikari River runs through a 24 kilometre long massive valley of cliffs whose dynamic geographical layout along with harsh climate creates a beautiful bitter winter scenery, featuring frozen waterfalls and all. Come to get your breath taken away by the beauty of these massive ice pillars at this heart-warming winter festival.