Asahikawa Travel Guide: Top 33 Things to Do in Asahikawa, Japan

Tucked away in the heart of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, lies Asahikawa – a gem of a city that effortlessly weaves nature, culture, and urban charm into a seamless tapestry. With its long snowy winters and pleasantly mild summers, Asahikawa invites travelers year-round, promising a variety of experiences that range from snow-sculpted landscapes to cultural festivals and authentic Japanese cuisine. This introduction aims to offer a comprehensive glimpse into this remarkable city, and what it holds for those who set foot upon its terrains.

Geography and Climate

Situated almost centrally in Hokkaido, Asahikawa is the island’s second-largest city after Sapporo. Surrounded by mountains such as the majestic Daisetsuzan range, Asahikawa acts as a gateway for many adventurous souls yearning to explore the rugged landscapes of Hokkaido. The Ishikari River, one of the most significant rivers in Hokkaido, flows gracefully through the city, adding to its picturesque nature.

The climate is predominantly continental, which means cold winters with substantial snowfall and warm summers. Travelers visiting in winter are often treated to a frosty wonderland, while summer promises verdant landscapes and the blooming of a variety of flora.

Culture and Festivals

Asahikawa, like much of Japan, takes great pride in its festivals. Among its most renowned is the Asahikawa Winter Festival, an event that draws visitors from around the world. Here, artistry takes the form of giant snow sculptures and intricate ice carvings. At night, these masterpieces are illuminated, casting a magical glow over the city.

Additionally, there’s the Otokoyama Sake Festival, celebrating Asahikawa’s rich tradition of sake brewing. Otokoyama, a renowned sake brand, originates from this city. It’s an opportunity for visitors to taste premium sake and learn about its meticulous production process.

Culinary Delights

The gastronomic scene in Asahikawa is as diverse as it is delicious. Known especially for its ramen, Asahikawa offers a unique, soy sauce-based broth that is a must-try for noodle enthusiasts. Additionally, its proximity to pristine waters means seafood, particularly sushi and sashimi, is of the highest quality.

Not to forget, the dairy products here, thanks to the vast pastures of Hokkaido, are some of the best in Japan. Soft-serve ice creams and cheese tarts from this region often leave visitors craving for more.

Nature and Activities

For those with a penchant for the outdoors, Asahikawa doesn’t disappoint. The Asahikawa Zoo, one of the most popular zoos in Japan, offers a unique chance to observe wildlife in environments closely resembling their natural habitats. The adjacent Daisetsuzan National Park beckons with its hot springs, hiking trails, and skiing opportunities. Whether you’re keen on soaking in an onsen (hot spring) or challenging yourself with a mountain climb, Asahikawa is the perfect base.

In essence, Asahikawa is more than just a city in Hokkaido. It’s a blend of the modern and the traditional, the wild and the serene. Whether you’re an intrepid explorer or someone looking for a cultural immersion, Asahikawa welcomes you with open arms and promises an unforgettable experience. Dive deep, and discover the myriad wonders that await.

Asahikawa Travel Guide: Things to do in Asahikawa, Japan

Asahikawa City Guide: A Brief History Of Asahikawa, Japan

Located in the interior of Hokkaido about 85 miles away from Sapporo, Asahikawa is the coldest city in Japan. It set the cold temperature record in the country (-41c) in 1902, and is regularly among the most frigid spots in the nation every winter.

As unappealing as this sounds, though, it has forced the citizens to adapt in a way that makes it an incredible winter city. Its ramen scene is among the most robust in Japan, the frontcountry and backcountry skiing on nearby mountains is excellent, and its winter festival, while overshadowed by big brother Sapporo, is world class.

It also has plenty to see in summer, as sights like the Ueno Farm will delight those who enjoy stylish gardens.

Come check out our Asahikawa travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Asahikawa, Japan.

Asahikawa is a city located in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. It is the second-largest city in the island after Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. Asahikawa is known for its beautiful landscapes, winter sports, and the famous Asahiyama Zoo. But the city has a rich history that dates back to the early days of Japan’s colonization of Hokkaido.

Asahikawa was founded in 1890 as a frontier city when Japan started to colonize Hokkaido. The city was initially established as a base for the Japanese army to expand their control over the region. However, Asahikawa soon became a center for agriculture, forestry, and mining. The city’s strategic location made it an important hub for transportation and commerce, connecting Hokkaido to the rest of Japan.

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Japanese government encouraged the settlement of Hokkaido by Japanese people. Asahikawa became a melting pot of different cultures, attracting settlers from all over Japan. The city’s population grew rapidly, and new businesses, schools, and institutions were established.

During World War II, Asahikawa played an important role as a military base for the Japanese army. The city was bombed several times by the Allied forces, and many of its buildings and infrastructure were destroyed. However, Asahikawa quickly recovered after the war, and new industries, such as chemical manufacturing, were established.

Asahikawa continued to prosper in the post-war era, and it became a popular destination for tourists, especially during the winter season. The city is known for its beautiful snow scenery and winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. In recent years, Asahikawa has also become a center for education and research, with the establishment of several universities and research institutions.

Today, Asahikawa is a vibrant and modern city that reflects its rich history and diverse culture. The city’s museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks offer visitors a glimpse into its past, while its modern infrastructure and bustling streets showcase its present and future. Asahikawa continues to be a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the best of Hokkaido, its culture, and its people.

Asahikawa winter snowy rooftop views of colorful homes in Japan

Asahikawa Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Japan

Begin your time in this northern Japanese metropolis by learning about its past at the Asahikawa City Museum. Spread over two floors, its exhibits not only discusses the history of the city, but it also tells the story of the Ainu people, who have lived in this region since prehistoric times.

Although the museum’s displays are mostly done in Japanese, Google Translate can help you bridge the communication gap with its real-time translation functionality. With an admission fee of only 300 yen, it is also a cost-effective attraction, so don’t miss it if you are on a backpacker budget.

Apart from being known as the coldest city in Japan, Asahikawa is also revered for being the source of some of this nation’s best sake. Learn more about this rice-based liquor during a visit to the Otokoyama Sakezukuri Museum.

Located on the property of a well-loved sake brand that has made this product for over 340 years, you will be walked through the distilling and brewing process that goes into creating this liquor. As you head from one station to the next, you’ll sample the high-quality water that led the founders to establish this distillery in the first place, and at the end, you’ll get to sample the finished product.

If you want to sample, though, make sure you arrive here via a tour or by public transportation of some kind, as drivers are banned from consumption due to societal attitudes that are squarely against drunk driving.

Get acquainted with one of Japan’s better-known authors by spending some time at the Ayako Miura Literature Museum. Asahikawa was her hometown – its natural beauty and bone-chilling winters inspired many of her works, including the novel, Melting Point.

With many of her works adapted into films, she had a considerable impact on the writing and arts scene in Japan throughout her life. In the museum dedicated to her, you’ll learn about the titles she wrote throughout her life, as well as other incidental details about her life.

If you are visiting Asahikawa during the winter months, don’t let the cold get you down. Instead, embrace it wholeheartedly by attending the Asahikawa Winter Festival. While it is not as big as the Sapporo Snow Festival 85 miles away, it makes up for its smaller footprint by commissioning the building of an absolutely gigantic centrepiece snow sculpture each year.

One of these creations claimed the Guinness World Book of Records title for the world’s biggest snow sculpture in 1994. Each year, a different theme changes up what is made here, and with coloured lights illuminating these works by night, they are a truly amazing sight to behold.

Asahikawa traditional Japanese bridge in a rural green area of Japan

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Asahikawa, Japan

As noted above, Asahikawa embraces the fact it is a winter city. No attraction hammers this point home quite like the Snow Crystal Museum. As the name suggests, its theme is solely centred around snowflakes.

While this may not be the most riveting topic for some, those with inquisitive minds will enjoy the ice columns, the snowflake-themed art contained within, and the overall decor of this cozy museum.

If you are travelling through Hokkaido as a family, spending an afternoon at the Asahiyama Zoo will prove to be time well spent. Unquestionably, the penguins are the star attraction here, as visitors will get the chance to walk through a glass tunnel built beneath their holding tank.

Additionally, there are glass domes within the polar bear and wolf enclosures that permit visitors to get up close and personal with these creatures in a safe manner. With a mix of animals endemic to Hokkaido and from around the world, it is a wonderful place to bring the kids.

If you are visiting during the warmer months of the year, ensure that a trip to the Ueno Farm is on your schedule. A gem situated in the countryside just outside Asahikawa, it makes use of English-style gardening to show off over 200 different kinds of flowers.

In addition to the various gardens found on this property, there is also an on-site restaurant and an ice cream stand, making this spot a delightful place to spend a summer afternoon.

If you need a break while touring around Asahikawa, rest on a bench found within Tokiwa Park. A beloved city park located within walking distance of the state art gallery downtown, it is home to the winter festival and other events throughout the year.

The rest of the time, it is a popular place to exercise or simply relax.


source: Top Tourist Places on YouTube

Top 33 Things To Do in Asahikawa, Japan For Visitors

Asahikawa, a city rich in cultural diversity, stunning landscapes, and culinary delights, promises a trove of experiences. Let’s dive deep into the top 33 things you can indulge in during your visit:

  1. Asahiyama Zoo: Experience the unique design of Asahikawa’s famous zoo. With innovative exhibits that mimic natural habitats, it offers intimate views of animals like penguins, polar bears, and seals.
  2. Asahikawa Winter Festival: Witness the grandeur of snow sculptures and intricate ice carvings that dominate the cityscape during this iconic event.
  3. Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum: Dive into the rich tradition of sake brewing. Sample premium sake and appreciate the meticulous brewing process.
  4. Ramen Village: Taste Asahikawa’s signature soy sauce-based ramen in this collection of renowned ramen shops.
  5. Kamikawa Shrine: Seek solace at this Shinto shrine surrounded by nature. It’s a serene spot that offers a spiritual connection to Japanese traditions.
  6. Asahikawa Science Center: Unleash your inner scientist with hands-on experiments, planetarium shows, and educational displays suitable for all ages.
  7. Tokiwa Park: A serene oasis in the city, ideal for picnics, boat rides, and leisurely strolls.
  8. Snow Crystal Museum: Marvel at the delicate beauty of snow and ice in this whimsical museum.
  9. Ayako Miura Literature Museum: Dedicated to the famed author Ayako Miura, delve into her life and works here.
  10. Santaland: Experience Christmas all year round in this enchanting, festive village.
  11. Daisetsuzan National Park: Indulge in nature by hiking, skiing, or simply soaking in the onsen surrounded by Hokkaido’s rugged beauty.
  12. Nagayama Sake Brewery: Another testament to Asahikawa’s rich sake tradition. Enjoy tastings and gain insight into the art of sake making.
  13. Art Museums: Visit the Asahikawa City Museum of Art or the Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum of Modern Art for a touch of culture and creativity.
  14. Asahikawa Furniture Museum: Understand the intricate craftsmanship of traditional Japanese furniture.
  15. Hoppo Wildlife Park: A lesser-known but delightful park showcasing local wildlife.
  16. Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken: Dive deeper into the ramen culture by enjoying a meal at one of the city’s most popular ramen spots.
  17. Taisetsu Craft Beer: Sample locally brewed craft beers and understand the brewing process.
  18. Tokiwa Ginza Shopping Street: Shop and explore the local trends and products in this bustling street.
  19. Ueno Farm: Immerse yourself in this beautifully designed garden, which showcases the seasonal beauty of Hokkaido.
  20. Asahikawa Design Center: A hub for local craftsmen, it’s a fantastic place to shop for unique, handcrafted items.
  21. Hokuchin Memorial Museum: Delve into the history of mountaineering in the region through exhibits and memorabilia.
  22. Bike Tours: Rent a bicycle and explore the city at your own pace.
  23. Kaimono Park: A shopping haven with a mix of branded stores and local boutiques.
  24. Cafe-hopping in Heiwa Dori: This area boasts an array of charming cafes; perfect for coffee lovers.
  25. Asahikawa City Cultural Exchange Center: Engage in various cultural activities, workshops, and events here.
  26. Hokkaido Folk Arts and Crafts Village: Experience traditional Hokkaido crafts and even try your hand at making some.
  27. Arashiyama Observation Deck: Get panoramic views of the city, especially beautiful during the evening.
  28. Takasago Sake Brewery: Yet another spot for sake enthusiasts. This brewery is one of the oldest in Hokkaido.
  29. Furusato Village: Learn about Asahikawa’s rural heritage, with hands-on farming experiences.
  30. Canoeing on the Biei River: For the adventurous, take a scenic canoe ride down this tranquil river.
  31. Visit the Bridges: Especially the Asahi Bridge and the Pedestrian Bridge – symbols of Asahikawa’s modern infrastructure.
  32. Kaguraoka Park: A tranquil spot with cherry blossoms in spring and colorful foliage in fall.
  33. Japanese Tea Ceremony: Experience this traditional ritual, understanding the depth and aesthetics of Japanese culture.

Each of these activities and spots offers a slice of what Asahikawa is all about. Whether you’re drawn to nature, keen on understanding local culture, or just in search of delectable cuisines, Asahikawa has something to capture your heart and imagination.

Katsu Don Japanese dish that is a must try thing to eat in Japan

What To Eat and Drink in Asahikawa, Japan

Asahikawa, located in the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, is a place that offers a variety of unique and delicious foods and drinks. Here are some must-try dishes and beverages in Asahikawa:

  1. Asahikawa Ramen: Asahikawa is known for its delicious ramen noodles. Asahikawa ramen is a type of soy sauce-based soup with thick curly noodles and toppings such as pork, green onions, and bamboo shoots.
  2. Genghis Khan: Genghis Khan is a famous dish in Hokkaido that consists of grilled lamb or mutton with vegetables. Asahikawa has many Genghis Khan restaurants where you can enjoy this delicious dish.
  3. Jingisukan Curry: Jingisukan curry is a unique dish that combines Genghis Khan and Japanese curry. It consists of curry sauce with grilled lamb or mutton and vegetables.
  4. Katsu-don: Katsu-don is a popular Japanese dish consisting of a deep-fried pork cutlet on top of a bowl of rice with onions and egg.
  5. Soup Curry: Asahikawa is also known for its soup curry, a type of Japanese curry with a soup-like consistency. The soup is flavored with a variety of spices and herbs, and it often contains chicken, beef, or seafood.
  6. Asahikawa Wine: Asahikawa is home to some of the best wineries in Hokkaido. You can try some of the delicious local wines produced in Asahikawa.
  7. Sake: Hokkaido is famous for its sake, and Asahikawa is no exception. You can find a variety of local sakes in the city.
  8. Milk: Hokkaido is known for its high-quality dairy products, and Asahikawa is no exception. You can try some of the delicious local milk and dairy products.
  9. Melon: Asahikawa is known for its delicious melons, which are often given as gifts. You can find fresh melons in many of the local markets.
  10. Asahikawa Beer: Asahikawa has a thriving craft beer scene, and you can try some of the delicious local beers produced in the city.


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Top Restaurants In Asahikawa, Japan

Asahikawa, a city located in the northern region of Japan, is known for its delicious food and drinks. From traditional Japanese cuisine to international flavors, there is something for everyone in this foodie paradise. Here are some of the top restaurants to try while in Asahikawa:

  1. Jingisukan Daikokuya 5-chome: A barbecue restaurant that serves excellent lamb and vegetables. It’s a classic and definitely worth a visit.
  2. Ramensenmon Himawari: A casual restaurant that’s a great spot to try Hokkaido’s famous Horomen Soy Sauce Ramen.
  3. Robata Yukar: A Japanese restaurant that serves good pub food and has a nice atmosphere.
  4. Baikoken Asahikawa Honten: A restaurant that specializes in ramen, and one that you’ll definitely want to visit while in Asahikawa. Their dishes are tasty and satisfying.
  5. Tenkin Honten: A Japanese and seafood restaurant that serves delicious Japanese-style food.
  6. Toriton Kyokushin: A Japanese seafood restaurant that often has a long queue, but it’s worth the wait. Their seafood dishes are delicious and fresh.
  7. Okushiba Shoten, Asahitkawatei: A hidden curry soup restaurant that’s popular among locals.
  8. Asahikawa Ramen Aoba: This Asian and Japanese restaurant is known for its friendly atmosphere and delicious ramen. It’s a popular spot among locals and visitors alike.
  9. Restaurant Esperio: An Italian and steakhouse that serves some of the best ice cream in town.
  10. Tavern Tenkin: This Japanese and seafood restaurant is a great spot to try traditional Izakaya cuisine, like sushi and other seafood dishes.

Asahikawa beautiful colorful flowers in a field as a stunning landscape in Japan

Tours For Visitors To Asahikawa, Japan

Asahikawa offers a variety of tours for visitors to explore its attractions and nearby areas. Here are some of the most popular tours:

  1. Asahiyama Zoo Tour: This tour takes visitors to the famous Asahiyama Zoo, where they can see various animals, including polar bears, penguins, and red pandas.
  2. Biei and Furano Tour: This tour takes visitors to the nearby towns of Biei and Furano, known for their stunning landscapes, flower fields, and rolling hills.
  3. Asahikawa Winter Festival Tour: This tour takes place during the Asahikawa Winter Festival, where visitors can see giant snow sculptures and participate in various winter activities.
  4. Sounkyo Gorge Tour: This tour takes visitors to Sounkyo Gorge, known for its picturesque scenery, hot springs, and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.
  5. Farm Visits Tour: This tour takes visitors to local farms, where they can learn about the agricultural practices and try their hand at picking fresh fruits and vegetables.
  6. Asahikawa City Tour: This tour takes visitors to the main attractions in Asahikawa, such as the Asahikawa Museum of Art, Asahikawa Ramen Village, and the Asahikawa Science Center.
  7. Cycling Tour: This tour takes visitors on a bike ride around Asahikawa, allowing them to see the city’s sights and scenery while getting some exercise.
  8. Asahikawa Craft Tour: This tour takes visitors to local craft shops, where they can see and purchase traditional crafts such as woodcarvings, pottery, and glassware.

Whatever your interests may be, there’s a tour in Asahikawa that will cater to them.


source: FOODOJO on YouTube

Asahikawa Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Situated in the heart of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is the perfect launchpad for exploring the region’s many attractions. Whether you’re in town for a whirlwind trip or a more extended stay, the city offers a plethora of accommodations to suit every taste and budget. Here’s a detailed guide to ensure you find the right fit for your journey:

Hotels:

  1. Asahikawa Grand Hotel
    • Location: Central Asahikawa, near the Asahikawa Station.
    • Features: Elegant rooms, onsite restaurants serving Japanese and Western cuisines, spa facilities, and conference rooms.
    • Best For: Business travelers and families looking for a touch of luxury.
  2. Dormy Inn Asahikawa
    • Location: Close to the Asahikawa Station.
    • Features: Modern amenities, a public bath, and a complimentary ramen service in the evening.
    • Best For: Budget-conscious travelers seeking comfort.
  3. Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
    • Location: Convenient downtown location.
    • Features: Stylish rooms, a curated local tour service, restaurants, and bars with local dishes and drinks.
    • Best For: Travelers seeking a blend of local experience with luxury.

Guesthouses:

  1. Guest House Asahikawa Ride
    • Location: Peaceful neighborhood, slightly removed from the city center.
    • Features: Cozy rooms with shared facilities, bike rentals, and a friendly owner who can provide tips for exploring the region.
    • Best For: Solo travelers and backpackers looking for an intimate setting.
  2. Yado Retro
    • Location: A short distance from Asahikawa Station.
    • Features: Vintage-style interior, private and shared rooms, and a kitchen for guest use.
    • Best For: Travelers seeking a homely experience with a touch of nostalgia.
  3. Guesthouse The Earth
    • Location: Near Tokiwa Park.
    • Features: Rustic interiors, shared dormitories, lounge area, and an opportunity to interact with other travelers.
    • Best For: Young travelers and backpackers.

Hostels:

  1. K’s House Asahikawa
    • Location: Proximity to Asahikawa Station.
    • Features: Clean dormitory-style rooms, communal kitchen, and lounge areas.
    • Best For: Budget travelers and backpackers.
  2. Asahikawa Toyo Hotel
    • Location: Central location near shopping areas.
    • Features: Simple rooms, both shared and private, with basic amenities.
    • Best For: Travelers on a tight budget looking for basic facilities.
  3. Y’s Hostel Asahikawa Ekimae
    • Location: Just in front of Asahikawa Station.
    • Features: Modern interiors, dormitory rooms, shared lounge, and kitchen facilities.
    • Best For: Solo travelers and those looking for a youthful, vibrant ambiance.

Tips for Booking Accommodations in Asahikawa:

  • Seasonality: Asahikawa experiences peak tourism during winter for skiing and snow festivals. Ensure to book in advance during these times.
  • Location: If you plan on taking day trips, staying near Asahikawa Station might be convenient. However, if you’re keen on exploring the city itself, downtown accommodations might be preferable.
  • Facilities: While most hotels provide in-room amenities, guesthouses and hostels might have shared facilities. Ensure to check based on your comfort level.
  • Budget: Asahikawa offers accommodations for every budget. From luxury stays to budget hostels, set your budget and choose accordingly.

Asahikawa, with its perfect blend of urban sophistication and untouched nature, promises a memorable stay. This accommodation guide will ensure that your nights are as delightful as your days, providing the comfort and experience you seek. Whether it’s the pampering of a hotel, the warmth of a guesthouse, or the camaraderie of a hostel, Asahikawa awaits your arrival.


source: Barrett Ishida on YouTube

Day Trips From Asahikawa, Japan

Nestled in the heart of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is not just a destination in its own right but also serves as a perfect starting point for various day trips that allow visitors to explore the beauty, culture, and culinary prowess of Japan’s northernmost island. From enchanting lavender fields to pristine lakes and snow-clad mountains, here are some recommended day trips from Asahikawa:

  1. Furano:
    • Distance: Approximately 1 hour by car/train.
    • Highlights:
      • Lavender Fields: Between June and August, witness Furano’s picturesque landscapes turn into a purple paradise. The Tomita Farm is the most popular spot.
      • Furano Winery: Taste local wines and enjoy the scenic vineyard views.
      • Furano Cheese Factory: Try your hand at cheese-making and enjoy dairy treats.
  2. Biei:
    • Distance: About 50 minutes by car/train.
    • Highlights:
      • Patchwork Road: A picturesque landscape created by various agricultural plots.
      • Shikisai no Oka: A vast flower garden showcasing beautiful seasonal blooms.
      • Blue Pond: Famous for its mesmerizing blue hue, especially during the clear days when it reflects the azure sky.
  3. Sapporo:
    • Distance: Roughly 1.5 hours by express train.
    • Highlights:
      • Odori Park: The city’s green lung, especially vibrant during festivals.
      • Sapporo Clock Tower and Former Hokkaido Government Office: Icons of Sapporo’s history.
      • Sapporo Beer Museum: Learn about Japan’s oldest beer brand and enjoy tastings.
  4. Otaru:
    • Distance: Approximately 2 hours by car/train.
    • Highlights:
      • Otaru Canal: Enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of the beautifully restored warehouses alongside the canal.
      • Glasswork shops: Otaru is known for its delicate glassware. Visit studios like Kitaichi Glass.
      • Seafood: Otaru’s sushi is famed throughout Hokkaido. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some.
  5. Daisetsuzan National Park:
    • Distance: Varies depending on which part of the park, but roughly 1-2 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Mount Asahidake: The highest peak in Hokkaido and a great hiking spot.
      • Sounkyo Gorge: Features stunning rock formations and hot springs.
      • Kurodake Ropeway: Offers panoramic views of the park.
  6. Lake Shikotsu:
    • Distance: Approximately 2.5 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Clear Blue Waters: The lake is known for its striking clarity.
      • Shikotsu-Toya National Park: Offers hiking trails and hot springs.
      • Lake Tours: Enjoy cruises on the lake and see it from different perspectives.
  7. Nakafurano:
    • Distance: Roughly 1 hour by car/train.
    • Highlights:
      • Flower Land Kamifurano: A scenic park offering a rainbow of flowers, including lavender.
      • Panorama Road: Offers exquisite views of the Tokachi mountain range.
  8. Kamikawa and the Taisetsu area:
    • Distance: About 1.5 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Daisetsu Kogen Onsen: Immerse in a natural hot spring amid the mountains.
      • Ryusei and Ginga Waterfalls: Two adjacent waterfalls with unique cascading styles.
  1. Lake Toya:
    • Distance: Approximately 3 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Volcanic Landscape: Lake Toya is a caldera lake with Nakajima Island in its center.
      • Usuzan Ropeway: Provides a panoramic view of the lake and neighboring Showa Shinzan, an active lava dome.
      • Toya Onsen: Relax in the hot springs with views of the serene lake.
  2. Hakodate:
    • Distance: About 4 hours by train.
    • Highlights:
      • Mount Hakodate: Offers a breathtaking nighttime city view, especially beautiful during winter.
      • Goryokaku Park: A historical site shaped like a star, famous for cherry blossoms.
      • Morning Market: Dive into local flavors, especially fresh seafood.
  3. Noboribetsu:
    • Distance: Approximately 2.5 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Jigokudani (Hell Valley): A volcanic area with sulfurous streams and otherworldly landscapes.
      • Noboribetsu Onsen: Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring area with various types of baths.
      • Bear Park: Witness brown bears in a large enclosure.
  4. Mashu Lake and Akan National Park:
    • Distance: Roughly 4 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Lake Mashu: Known for its mystical fog and one of the clearest lakes in the world.
      • Lake Akan: Witness marimo, rare algae balls found in the lake.
      • Mount Oakan and Mount Meakan: Both offer hiking opportunities.
  5. Abashiri:
    • Distance: About 3 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Drift Ice Experience: In winter, take boat rides to see pack ice.
      • Abashiri Prison Museum: Dive into the history of Japan’s first maximum-security prison.
      • Lake Notoro: Famous for its red-tinted waters in autumn due to algae.
  6. Wakkanai:
    • Distance: Approximately 4 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Cape Soya: The northernmost point of Hokkaido with views of Sakhalin Island on clear days.
      • Wakkanai Park: Offers panoramic views of the city and sea.
      • Rishiri and Rebun Islands: Can be visited for hiking and nature views.
  7. Shiretoko Peninsula and Utoro:
    • Distance: About 4.5 hours by car.
    • Highlights:
      • Shiretoko National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site, home to wildlife and stunning landscapes.
      • Shiretoko Goko (Five Lakes): Offers serene nature walks.
      • Cruise Tours: Spot marine wildlife like dolphins, whales, and sea eagles.

Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of experiences, from serene natural vistas to bustling cityscapes, from tasting exquisite local produce to indulging in Japan’s rich cultural heritage. When based in Asahikawa, the wealth of Hokkaido’s treasures lies just a short journey away, awaiting discovery. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture vulture, or a culinary connoisseur, these day trips ensure an enriched exploration of Hokkaido’s multifaceted charm.


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Asahikawa Transportation Guide

Asahikawa, the second-largest city in Hokkaido, Japan, is not only famous for its zoo and ramen but also for its efficient transportation system. Whether you’re a tourist aiming to explore the scenic spots or a local commuting to work, understanding the transportation options available will help you navigate the city with ease.

The Asahikawa Transportation Guide provides information on how to get around the city and its surrounding areas. Here are some transportation options:

1. Air: Asahikawa Airport

  • Location: Located about 20 minutes from central Asahikawa.
  • Connecting Cities: Major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo.
  • Transport to/from the city:
    • Buses: Regular shuttle buses connect the airport to Asahikawa Station.
    • Taxis: Available at the airport entrance.

2. Trains

  • Asahikawa Station: Central hub connecting various parts of Hokkaido.
    • Super Kamui: Connects Asahikawa to Sapporo.
    • Sōya/Lilac: Heads north towards Wakkanai.
    • Other Local Trains: Connects to smaller towns and tourist spots.

3. Buses

  • Asahikawa Electric Bus Company: Covers most parts of the city.
    • Tourist Loop Bus: Circulates major attractions like Asahikawa Zoo.
    • Regular Routes: Extensively cover suburbs and neighboring towns.
    • IC Cards: Suica, Pasmo, and Kitaca cards can be used for payment.

4. Trams

While trams are not as extensive as buses, they offer a nostalgic ride around the city, especially beneficial for tourists.

5. Taxis

  • Available 24/7.
  • Useful for direct journeys, especially late at night when public transport frequency is reduced.

6. Cycling

Asahikawa, with its wide roads and pleasant weather during summer, is conducive for cycling.

  • Rental Shops: Available near Asahikawa Station and major tourist spots.
  • Designated Cycle Paths: For safer rides.

7. Car Rentals

For those looking to explore outskirts or prefer private transport.

  • Providers: Major companies like Toyota Rent-a-Car, Nippon Rent-a-Car, etc.
  • Driving: Remember, Japan drives on the left!

8. On Foot

Downtown Asahikawa is pedestrian-friendly. Key areas like the shopping street and ramen village are best explored on foot.

Tips for Navigating Asahikawa:

  1. Maps & Apps: Use apps like Google Maps or Japan’s NAVITIME for guidance.
  2. Day Passes: Consider purchasing for unlimited rides on public transport.
  3. Language: While major stations and tourist spots have English signs, it’s useful to know basic Japanese phrases or have a translation app.
  4. Etiquette: Queue in line for buses and trains. Offer seats to the elderly, pregnant women, and those with young children.
  5. Timings: Public transport is punctual. Check schedules in advance, especially if you have tight plans.

Conclusion: Asahikawa, with its myriad of transportation options, is well-equipped to serve both locals and tourists. Familiarizing yourself with the above guide will ensure a smooth journey around the city and its beautiful surroundings.


source: Bianca Valerio on YouTube

Asahikawa 1 Day Travel Itinerary

Spending a day in Asahikawa offers a taste of Hokkaido’s urban charm blended with nature’s grandeur. This itinerary is crafted to give you a comprehensive experience of what the city and its surroundings have to offer. Pack your day full of history, culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty!

Morning:

8:00 am – Breakfast at a Local Cafe Start your day with a hearty breakfast. Visit Cafe Mei or Boulangerie Kaito for a blend of Japanese and Western-style breakfast items. Don’t forget to try the Hokkaido milk!

9:00 am – Asahiyama Zoo

  • Spend your morning at the famed Asahiyama Zoo. The innovative design ensures you can see animals like penguins and polar bears up close.
  • Attend the penguin walk (seasonal) or watch the aquatic life through the underwater tunnel.

11:30 am – Asahikawa Ramen Village

  • Dive into the city’s renowned culinary scene by having lunch at Asahikawa Ramen Village. Try the local favorite, shoyu (soy sauce) ramen. With multiple ramen shops in one place, pick any or hop from one to another for a tasting spree.

Afternoon:

1:00 pm – Tokiwa Park

  • A short, leisurely walk or a boat ride in Tokiwa Park can help digest that fulfilling ramen.
  • If visiting in winter, marvel at the snow-clad surroundings; spring offers cherry blossoms, while summer and autumn boast greenery and vibrant foliage.

2:30 pm – Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum

4:00 pm – Asahikawa Design Center

  • Explore the exquisite craftsmanship of Asahikawa’s artisans. The city is known for its wooden furniture, and the Design Center showcases this expertise. Additionally, pick up souvenirs and handcrafted goods.

Evening:

5:30 pm – Arashiyama Observation Deck

  • Catch the sunset at the Arashiyama Observation Deck. The panoramic view of the sprawling city against the backdrop of majestic mountains is a sight to behold.

7:00 pm – Dinner in Heiwa Dori

  • Head to Heiwa Dori, a lively street known for its delectable eateries. Whether you’re craving more ramen, sushi, or a local Hokkaido dish, this street will have something to tantalize your taste buds.
  • Yakiniku (grilled meat) is a must-try here. Visit restaurants like Yakiniku Misono for a delightful grilled meat experience.

9:00 pm – Nightcap at a Local Bar

  • Round off your day by sipping on local brews or cocktails. Bars like Bar Keaton offer a cozy ambiance and a selection of drinks to unwind after a packed day.

Tips:

  • Given Asahikawa’s climate, ensure you dress appropriately. Winters can be harsh, so layer up!
  • While most spots are accessible by public transport, consider renting a bicycle or hiring a taxi for convenience.
  • Keep some cash on hand. Not all places, especially smaller eateries, might accept cards.

With just one day in Asahikawa, this itinerary gives you a fulfilling experience, showcasing the city’s essence. From the captivating sights at the zoo to the gastronomic delights, you’ll leave with lasting memories and perhaps a longing to return. Safe travels!


source: Wiki Peaks on YouTube

Asahikawa 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary

Asahikawa is a blend of urban charm, nature, and vibrant culture. Here’s a detailed itinerary to help you make the most of 3-4 days in this delightful Hokkaido city.

Day 1: Explore the Heart of Asahikawa

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast at Asahikawa Station: Start your day with a local breakfast delicacy at the eateries around the station.
    • Asahikawa City Museum: Get an overview of the city’s history and culture.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch at Ramen Village: Try Asahikawa’s famous soy-based ramen at one of the eight renowned ramen shops in the village.
    • Kaimono Park: A shopping paradise with numerous stores, boutiques, and cafes. Perfect for souvenir hunting.
  3. Evening:
    • Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum: Learn about sake brewing and sample some of the finest sake.
    • Dinner in Downtown: Choose a local Izakaya or any of the plethora of restaurants available.

Day 2: Nature & Wildlife

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast at a local café.
    • Asahikawa Zoo: Explore one of the most popular zoos in Japan, home to polar bears, penguins, and more. Witness animal feeding sessions for an engaging experience.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch at the zoo’s café.
    • Jogging along the Asahikawa River: A serene route with picturesque views, especially during cherry blossom season.
  3. Evening:

Day 3: Art & Craft

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast at your hotel.
    • Snow Crystal Museum: Discover the beauty of snowflakes and ice crystals in this unique museum.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch at a local restaurant.
    • Asahikawa Furniture Center: Asahikawa’s wooden furniture is world-renowned. Visit the showrooms and even attend a woodworking workshop if available.
  3. Evening:
    • Tokikawa Curry Shop: Savor a unique curry dish that’s famous in this region.
    • Asahikawa Winter Festival (if visiting in February): Experience ice sculpture displays, snow activities, and illuminations.

Day 4: Surroundings Exploration

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast and early check-out.
    • Drive or take a bus to Biei: Witness rolling hills, flower fields, and the panoramic “Blue Pond”.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch in Biei.
    • Visit Furano: Famous for its lavender fields, especially beautiful in July. Explore the local cheese factory and wineries.
  3. Evening:
    • Return to Asahikawa.
    • Farewell Dinner: Choose a restaurant you might have missed on earlier days, or return to a favorite spot.

Additional Tips:

  • Transport: Consider renting a car if you’re comfortable driving in Japan. This gives you flexibility, especially for Day 4.
  • Weather: Asahikawa can be chilly even during summers. Pack accordingly.
  • Language: While many places cater to tourists, carrying a translation app can be handy.
  • Local Delicacies: Don’t miss trying soft cream, sake, fresh seafood, and of course, the ramen!

Concluding, Asahikawa offers a perfect blend of urban adventures and natural beauty. This itinerary ensures a balanced exploration of both aspects, leaving you with unforgettable memories of Hokkaido’s charm. Safe travels!


source: Cornyco on YouTube

Asahikawa 1 Week Travel Itinerary

A week in Asahikawa allows you to dive deep into its cultural pulse, natural beauty, and gastronomical delights. Here’s a meticulously crafted itinerary to maximize your experience in Asahikawa and its surroundings.

Day 1: Immersion in Asahikawa’s Heart

  1. Morning:
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch: Ramen Village.
    • Kaimono Park: Delve into shopping, from souvenirs to contemporary Japanese fashion.
  3. Evening:
    • Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum: Tour and sake tasting.
    • Dinner: Downtown Izakaya experience.

Day 2: Nature & Wildlife

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast: Your accommodation or local bakery.
    • Asahikawa Zoo: Spend ample time exploring.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch: Zoo café.
    • Asahikawa River: Riverside walk or cycle.
  3. Evening:
    • Seafood Dinner: Capitalize on Hokkaido’s seafood treasures.
    • Asahikawa Grand Hotel Onsen: Relax in the hot springs.

Day 3: Artistic Flair

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast: At your hotel.
    • Snow Crystal Museum: Marvel at the intricacies of snowflakes.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch: Contemporary Japanese café.
    • Asahikawa Furniture Center: Appreciate the craftsmanship and maybe attend a workshop.
  3. Evening:
    • Dinner: Tokikawa Curry Shop.
    • Stroll in Tokiwa Park: Enjoy the serene environment.

Day 4: Exploring Biei

  1. Morning:
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch in Biei: Try a farm-to-table experience.
    • Shikisai Hill: Depending on the season, enjoy beautiful flowers or snow-covered landscapes.
  3. Evening:
    • Dinner in Biei: Local restaurant.
    • Return to Asahikawa.

Day 5: Day in Furano

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast and depart for Furano.
    • Lavender Fields: Witness the iconic lavender blooms (best in July).
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch: Local café in Furano.
    • Cheese Factory & Wineries: Tour and tasting sessions.
  3. Evening:
    • Dinner in Furano: Experience a local specialty.
    • Return to Asahikawa.

Day 6: Local Crafts & Cultural Immersion

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast: Local artisanal bakery.
    • Craft Market: Engage with local artists, purchase hand-made crafts.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Lunch: Traditional Japanese meal in a local eatery.
    • Visit the Ainu Cultural Center: Dive deep into the indigenous culture of Hokkaido.
  3. Evening:

Day 7: Leisure and Farewell

  1. Morning:
    • Breakfast.
    • Visit a local shrine or temple: Reflect on your journey.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Last-minute shopping: Kaimono Park or any other preferred area.
    • Lunch: Revisit a favorite spot or try something new.
  3. Evening:
    • Farewell Dinner: Choose a luxury dining spot to celebrate your week.
    • Evening at a local bar or café: Relax and soak in the city vibes one last time.

Additional Tips:

  • Transportation: If comfortable, rent a car for flexibility. Otherwise, the train and bus system are efficient for day trips to Biei and Furano.
  • Weather: Pack layers, especially if traveling during transitional seasons.
  • Guided Tours: For certain attractions, consider joining a guided tour for a richer understanding.
  • Local Customs: Respect local customs, especially when visiting religious or cultural sites.

With a blend of urban adventures, cultural insights, and natural beauty, this week-long itinerary guarantees a holistic experience of Asahikawa and its surrounding jewels. Enjoy your journey!


source: Miel Citron on YouTube

Asahikawa 1 Month Travel Itinerary

Spending a month in Asahikawa gives you a unique opportunity to experience the city beyond the usual tourist spots, embracing its seasonal changes, regional festivals, and local rhythms. Here’s a comprehensive month-long itinerary that blends exploration, relaxation, and immersion.

Week 1: Deep Dive into Asahikawa

Day 1-7: Get acquainted with the city’s landmarks, neighborhoods, and rhythms.

  • Visit places like Asahikawa City Museum, Kaimono Park, and Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum.
  • Spend full days at places like Asahikawa Zoo.
  • Discover local eateries, markets, and artisan shops.
  • Attend any local events or festivals happening during your stay.
  • Take language lessons or cooking classes to immerse yourself in the culture.

Week 2: Explore Surrounding Areas & Nature

Day 8-14: Explore Biei, Furano, and other surrounding natural beauties.

  • Biei: Dedicate 2-3 days. Visit Panorama Road, Shikisai Hill, and enjoy farm-to-table experiences.
  • Furano: Spend 2-3 days. Explore Lavender Fields, Cheese Factory, and Wineries.
  • Take leisurely hikes in the national parks or enjoy snow activities (depending on the season).
  • Rent a bicycle for a day and explore the countryside.
  • Engage in agritourism, experiencing farm stays or fruit picking sessions.

Week 3: Cultural & Artistic Immersion

Day 15-21: Dive deeper into the culture and arts.

  • Attend workshops at Asahikawa Furniture Center.
  • Spend time at the Ainu Cultural Center to learn about indigenous people.
  • Explore art galleries and studios throughout the city.
  • Take traditional craft workshops, such as pottery or textile arts.
  • Engage with locals at community centers or events.
  • Visit local libraries and bookstores to discover regional literature.

Week 4: Leisure, Culinary Adventures & Farewell

Day 22-28: Savor the flavors and unwind.

  • Dedicate days to culinary explorations: Attend sake tastings, ramen-making classes, and visit local fisheries.
  • Revisit favorite spots or explore places you might have missed.
  • Take a spa day: Experience traditional onsens or modern spa treatments.
  • Shop for souvenirs and unique items to remember your journey.
  • Write, paint, or simply reflect on your experiences in the calm parks or cozy cafés.
  • Attend a traditional tea ceremony.
  • Hold a farewell dinner at a high-end restaurant to celebrate your month-long journey.

Day 29-30:

  • Pack, organize souvenirs, and finalize any last-minute shopping or sightseeing.
  • Reflect on your experiences, perhaps by journaling or photo sorting.

Additional Tips:

  1. Accommodation: Consider renting an apartment or a long-term stay hotel for a more home-like experience.
  2. Transportation: Familiarize yourself with the local transportation system; consider getting monthly passes for convenience.
  3. Local Interaction: Engage with locals, perhaps join local clubs or groups that align with your interests.
  4. Seasonal Activities: Research activities specific to the season of your visit. From sakura viewing in spring to snow festivals in winter, Asahikawa has unique offerings throughout the year.
  5. Documentation: Maintain a diary or blog, capturing your day-to-day experiences.
  6. Language: A longer stay merits basic language skills. Download a Japanese learning app or attend beginner classes.

A month in Asahikawa promises a medley of adventures, introspection, and authentic experiences. Dive deep into its beauty, understand its heritage, relish its culinary wonders, and, above all, create lasting memories.

Asahikawa bridge at night with lights in Japan

Is Asahikawa A Safe City To Visit?

Asahikawa, the second-largest city in Hokkaido, is generally regarded as a safe destination for both tourists and residents. Like many Japanese cities, it boasts low crime rates, a polite and helpful population, and organized public systems. However, to understand the safety profile of Asahikawa comprehensively, let’s delve into different aspects:

1. Crime Rate:

  • General Safety: Asahikawa, mirroring the broader trend of safety in Japan, has a relatively low crime rate, especially when it comes to violent crimes. Petty crimes like pickpocketing or scams targeting tourists are infrequent. However, it’s always good practice to be cautious, especially in crowded areas.
  • Night Safety: Areas around the main train station and popular entertainment districts are active and well-lit during the night. While wandering alone late at night is generally safe, it’s always wise to stay aware of your surroundings, as with any city.

2. Natural Risks:

  • Climate: Asahikawa experiences cold winters with heavy snowfall. If you’re not used to such weather, you might find it challenging to navigate. Ensure you have appropriate winter gear and are prepared for potential travel delays. On the other hand, summers are mild and comfortable.
  • Earthquakes: Hokkaido occasionally experiences earthquakes, though Asahikawa is not in the most seismically active zone. Familiarize yourself with earthquake safety tips when traveling in the region.

3. Transportation:

  • Public Transport: Asahikawa’s public transportation system is well-organized and safe. The buses and trains run on time, and stations are generally clean and secure.
  • Driving: If you plan to rent a car, the roads are in good condition, but driving during winter requires experience in snowy conditions. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with winter tires and familiarize yourself with winter driving safety tips.

4. Health and Medical Services:

  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Asahikawa is of high standard, with hospitals and clinics equipped to handle emergencies. However, not all medical staff may speak fluent English, so having a translation app or phrasebook can be beneficial.
  • Food and Water: The tap water is potable, and food hygiene standards are high. Asahikawa is famous for its ramen, sake, and seafood, which are typically safe to consume.

5. Local Etiquette and Behavior:

  • Respect and Politeness: Japanese society values respect and politeness. Understanding basic Japanese etiquette, like bowing and removing shoes indoors, can enhance your interactions with locals.
  • Communication: While younger generations may have a basic grasp of English, many older residents might not. Learning a few basic Japanese phrases or carrying a translation guide can be immensely helpful.

6. Miscellaneous Tips:

  • Stay Informed: Before and during your trip, stay updated about any local news or events that might affect your travel.
  • Accommodations: Hotels and guesthouses in Asahikawa generally maintain high standards of safety and cleanliness.

Asahikawa is a safe and welcoming city for visitors. As always, while the risks are minimal, maintaining general travel safety practices, respecting local customs, and being prepared for the specific conditions of the region (like winter weather) will ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Whether you’re exploring its urban attractions, enjoying its culinary delights, or using it as a base to explore Hokkaido’s natural beauty, Asahikawa promises a memorable experience.


source: Club Professionals on YouTube

When Is The Best Time To Visit Asahikawa?

The ideal time to visit Asahikawa largely depends on your interests and what kind of experiences you seek. Being in Hokkaido, Asahikawa experiences distinct seasons, each offering its unique charms. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

1. Winter (December to February):

  • Snow Festival: The Asahikawa Winter Festival is one of the city’s most significant events. Magnificent ice sculptures adorn the streets, and the festival ambiance creates an unforgettable experience.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Surrounding areas, like Kamui Ski Links, become prime spots for winter sports.
  • Otokoyama Sake Brewery: Experience sake tasting in a snowy setting, adding to the authenticity of your visit.
  • Challenges: The cold can be quite harsh, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Ensure you pack appropriately, with thermal wear, boots, gloves, and hats.

2. Spring (March to May):

  • Cherry Blossoms: Towards the end of April and the beginning of May, cherry blossoms paint the town pink. Tokiwa Park is a great place to witness sakura in full bloom.
  • Milder Weather: The snow starts to melt, and the temperature becomes more moderate, making it comfortable for sightseeing.
  • Taste of Spring: Enjoy seasonal delicacies, including fresh seafood and spring vegetables unique to Hokkaido.

3. Summer (June to August):

  • Lavender Fields: If you take short trips to nearby Furano, you can witness the stunning lavender fields in full bloom, especially in July.
  • Mild Climate: Unlike much of Japan, summers in Asahikawa (and Hokkaido in general) are cool and pleasant, providing an escape from the scorching heat experienced elsewhere.
  • Outdoor Activities: It’s the best time for hiking, cycling, and exploring the national parks around Asahikawa, such as Daisetsuzan National Park.

4. Autumn (September to November):

  • Autumn Foliage: The landscape transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. The changing colors of the leaves, especially around the mountains and parks, offer picturesque views.
  • Harvest Season: Relish fresh produce, including grapes, apples, and various vegetables. The culinary scene comes alive with autumnal flavors.
  • Comfortable Weather: The temperatures are cool and comfortable, making it ideal for outdoor exploration.

Factors to Consider:

  1. Budget: Accommodation and flight prices might surge during peak seasons like winter (for the snow festival) and summer (for the lavender fields).
  2. Activities: If you’re keen on specific activities like skiing, winter is ideal. For hiking and outdoor exploration, consider summer or autumn.
  3. Festivals and Events: Research local events or festivals during your proposed travel time. They can offer a deeper understanding of the culture and unique experiences.
  4. Crowds: Summer and winter tend to be more crowded due to the attractions of those seasons. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider spring or early autumn.

The best time to visit Asahikawa is subjective and depends on personal preferences. However, the diverse seasonal offerings ensure that no matter when you decide to visit, the city and its surroundings will have something special to offer. Whether it’s the serene snow-covered landscapes, the vibrant cherry blossoms, the mild summer days, or the colorful tapestry of autumn leaves, Asahikawa promises a delightful experience year-round.


source: Hour Philippines TV on YouTube

Must-Visit Festivals and Events In Asahikawa?

Asahikawa, being a culturally vibrant city, hosts several festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate its rich traditions, seasonal beauty, and community spirit. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the most noteworthy festivals and events in the city:

1. Asahikawa Winter Festival (February):

  • Overview: As one of Hokkaido’s most significant winter events, the Asahikawa Winter Festival is celebrated with a grand display of ice sculptures, attracting artists and tourists from around the world.
  • Highlights:
    • Giant Ice Sculptures: Every year, a massive sculpture, sometimes over 20 meters tall, becomes the festival’s main attraction.
    • Light Shows: As night falls, the sculptures are illuminated, creating a mesmerizing sight.
    • Ice Slide and Activities: Suitable for families, there are areas dedicated to fun winter activities, including an ice slide for children.
    • Fireworks: The festival often concludes with a spectacular fireworks display.

2. Asahikawa Design Week (September):

  • Overview: Asahikawa is renowned for its woodworking and furniture industries. The Asahikawa Design Week showcases these craft traditions and contemporary designs.
  • Highlights:
    • Exhibitions: Numerous local manufacturers and designers showcase their work, from traditional to contemporary designs.
    • Workshops: Attendees can participate in workshops to understand and experience the intricacies of woodcraft.

3. Asahikawa Ramen Festival (April):

  • Overview: Asahikawa is famous for its unique style of ramen, and this festival celebrates this culinary delight.
  • Highlights:
    • Ramen Stalls: Local ramen shops set up stalls, allowing visitors to sample a variety of flavors.
    • Competitions: Often, there are ramen-making or eating competitions that add a fun element to the festivities.

4. Asahikawa Summer Festival (August):

  • Overview: This festival marks the summer season with traditional dances, music, and an abundance of local food.
  • Highlights:
    • Bon Odori Dance: Locals and visitors alike participate in this traditional dance, forming circles around a central tower.
    • Food Stalls: Sample traditional summer treats, local specialties, and refreshing beverages.
    • Fireworks: A summer festival in Japan is often accompanied by a dazzling fireworks display, and Asahikawa is no exception.

5. Cherry Blossom Viewing (Late April – Early May):

  • Overview: Asahikawa’s parks and riverbanks come alive with the bloom of cherry blossoms. While not a festival per se, sakura viewing is an event in itself.
  • Highlights:
    • Tokiwa Park: One of the most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing, the park becomes a hub of activity with picnickers and revelers.
    • Nighttime Illuminations: Some areas light up the cherry blossom trees, creating a magical ambiance.

6. Asahikawa Autumn Festival (October):

  • Overview: As the leaves change color, Asahikawa celebrates autumn’s beauty with various events.
  • Highlights:
    • Cultural Performances: From traditional music to dances, the festival showcases regional art forms.
    • Food and Craft Stalls: Autumn is harvest time, and the festival offers a bounty of fresh produce and local crafts.

Additional Tips:

  1. Accommodation: During major festivals, especially the Winter Festival, accommodations can fill up quickly. It’s advisable to book your stay well in advance.
  2. Weather: Depending on the season, ensure you’re dressed appropriately, especially for outdoor events.
  3. Transportation: Festivals might result in rerouting of public transportation or increased traffic. Stay informed about any changes to ease your travel within the city.

Asahikawa offers a blend of traditional and modern festivals that encapsulate the city’s spirit, traditions, and seasonal beauty. Whether you’re savoring a bowl of ramen, dancing the Bon Odori, admiring ice sculptures, or soaking in the pink hues of cherry blossoms, these festivals provide an authentic and enriching experience of the city’s cultural tapestry.


source: Video Street View Japan on YouTube

Shopping Guide and Souvenir List For Visitors To Asahikawa?

Asahikawa, being one of Hokkaido’s prominent cities, offers a plethora of shopping opportunities ranging from traditional crafts to contemporary goods. Whether you’re a passionate shopper or just hunting for keepsakes, here’s a detailed guide to make your shopping experience memorable:

Shopping Guide:

1. Asahikawa Heiwa Dori Shopping Street:

  • Overview: One of the primary shopping streets in Asahikawa, it’s a pedestrian-friendly zone bustling with shops, eateries, and cafes.
  • Goods to Look For: Local crafts, clothing, and Hokkaido specialties.

2. Kagura Shopping Street:

  • Overview: A covered shopping arcade offering a variety of shops and dining options.
  • Goods to Look For: Traditional Japanese wares, fashion items, and local snacks.

3. Aeon Mall Asahikawa:

  • Overview: A modern shopping mall with a variety of international and domestic brands.
  • Goods to Look For: Apparel, cosmetics, electronics, and household items.

4. Asahikawa Furniture Streets:

  • Overview: Asahikawa is renowned for its woodworking and furniture craftsmanship. There are areas dedicated to showrooms and workshops.
  • Goods to Look For: Wooden crafts, furniture, and decor items.

Souvenir List:

1. Asahikawa Ramen:

  • Description: Asahikawa is famous for its soy-based ramen. While you can’t take the actual noodles, many shops offer ramen kits that you can prepare at home.
  • Where to Buy: Local ramen shops or specialty stores.

2. Wooden Crafts:

  • Description: Asahikawa’s furniture and woodcraft are renowned. Small items like wooden toys, utensils, and ornaments make for perfect souvenirs.
  • Where to Buy: Furniture streets, craft shops, and the Asahikawa Craft Fair (if visiting during the event).

3. Otokoyama Sake:

  • Description: This local sake from the Otokoyama brewery is a treat for sake enthusiasts.
  • Where to Buy: Local liquor stores, supermarkets, or directly from the Otokoyama Brewery.

4. Hokkaido Dairy Products:

  • Description: From cheese to butter and ice cream, Hokkaido’s dairy is a class apart.
  • Where to Buy: Supermarkets, specialty stores, and dairy farms around the region.

5. Shiroi Koibito Cookies:

  • Description: Although these are more associated with Sapporo, these white chocolate cookies are popular throughout Hokkaido.
  • Where to Buy: Supermarkets, souvenir shops, and airports.

6. Japanese Ceramics:

  • Description: You’ll find beautifully crafted Japanese ceramics perfect for gifts or personal use.
  • Where to Buy: Traditional craft shops or souvenir stores.

7. Seaweed and Seafood Products:

  • Description: Experience Hokkaido’s seafood prowess through dried seafood snacks, seaweed, and other marine products.
  • Where to Buy: Local markets, supermarkets, or specialty seafood shops.

8. Local Confectionery:

  • Description: Asahikawa offers a variety of sweets, from traditional Japanese wagashi to modern confections.
  • Where to Buy: Confectionery shops, supermarkets, or specialty dessert stores.

9. Handmade Accessories:

  • Description: Unique jewelry or handcrafted accessories capturing Japanese aesthetics.
  • Where to Buy: Craft fairs, specialty boutiques, or local markets.

10. Traditional Japanese Apparel:

  • Description: Items such as yukata (summer kimono), tabi socks, or geta (traditional sandals) make for distinct souvenirs.
  • Where to Buy: Traditional clothing stores or larger shopping malls.

Tips for Shopping in Asahikawa:

  1. Tax-Free Shopping: International visitors can benefit from tax-free shopping at designated stores. Keep your passport handy.
  2. Local Markets: Sometimes, local markets or seasonal fairs pop up, offering unique, handmade items that aren’t found in mainstream stores.
  3. Packaging: Japanese shops are known for their meticulous packaging, making it easy to transport fragile or delicate items.
  4. Customization: Some craft shops might offer to customize products, from engraving names on wooden items to adjusting sizes.

Asahikawa presents a delightful mix of traditional and modern shopping experiences. From its famed woodworking crafts to delightful culinary treats, the city promises a plethora of items that not only serve as souvenirs but also as tangible memories of your journey.


source: Nick and Helmi on YouTube

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Asahikawa?

There are many great places to visit after your trip to Asahikawa. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Sapporo: Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido and is known for its vibrant food scene, beer, and annual snow festival. It’s about a two-hour drive from Asahikawa, or you can take a train or bus.
  2. Furano and Biei: These two towns are known for their stunning flower fields and picturesque landscapes. They’re about an hour south of Asahikawa by car or train.
  3. Otaru: This port town is known for its charming canal area, glassworks, and seafood. It’s about a two-hour drive from Asahikawa or you can take a train or bus.
  4. Daisetsuzan National Park: This park is home to Hokkaido’s tallest peak, Mount Asahidake, as well as numerous hot springs and hiking trails. It’s about a two-hour drive from Asahikawa.
  5. Shiretoko National Park: Located on the eastern tip of Hokkaido, this park is known for its rugged coastline, wildlife, and hiking trails. It’s about a five-hour drive from Asahikawa, so it’s best to plan for an overnight stay.
  6. Kyoto – Known for its beautiful temples, traditional architecture, and stunning gardens, Kyoto is a must-visit destination in Japan. Some of the must-see attractions in Kyoto include Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari Shrine, and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
  7. Nara – Located just a short train ride from Kyoto, Nara is another great destination for visitors to Japan. It is known for its historic temples and shrines, including Todai-ji, which houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue.
  8. Hiroshima – A city with a tragic past, Hiroshima is now a vibrant and bustling place that is well worth a visit. Its most famous attraction is the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating effects of atomic warfare.
  9. Kanazawa – This picturesque city on the Sea of Japan is known for its beautiful gardens, traditional architecture, and thriving arts scene. Some of the must-see attractions in Kanazawa include Kenrokuen Garden, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nagamachi Samurai District.
  10. Hakone – A popular destination for onsen (hot spring) lovers, Hakone is a small town located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Visitors to Hakone can enjoy stunning views of Mount Fuji, take a relaxing soak in one of the town’s many hot springs, and visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum.
  11. Takayama – Located in the Japanese Alps, Takayama is a picturesque town known for its well-preserved Edo-era streets and traditional houses. Some of the must-see attractions in Takayama include the Takayama Jinya, a former government office, and the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum showcasing traditional Japanese architecture.
  12. Kamakura – A coastal town just south of Tokyo, Kamakura is known for its historic temples and shrines, including the Great Buddha of Kamakura and the Hasedera Temple. Visitors to Kamakura can also enjoy the town’s beautiful beaches and hiking trails.
  13. Naoshima – Located on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima is a mecca for contemporary art lovers. The island is home to several world-class art museums, including the Chichu Art Museum and the Benesse House Museum, as well as numerous outdoor art installations.
  14. Nikko – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nikko is a small town located in the mountains north of Tokyo. It is known for its historic shrines and temples, including the Toshogu Shrine, which is decorated with intricate carvings and gold leaf.
  15. Osaka – Often overshadowed by Tokyo, Osaka is a vibrant and bustling city that is well worth a visit. Known as the “Kitchen of Japan,” Osaka is famous for its street food and its lively nightlife. Some of the must-see attractions in Osaka include the Osaka Castle, the Dotonbori entertainment district, and the Shinsekai neighborhood.

These are just a few of the many places to visit after your trip to Asahikawa. Hokkaido is a beautiful and diverse region, so be sure to explore all that it has to offer!

Asahikawa rural views in Japan

Asahikawa Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Asahikawa is a beautiful city in Hokkaido, Japan, that offers visitors a range of attractions and activities to enjoy. Whether you are a nature lover, foodie, or history buff, Asahikawa has something to offer everyone.

One of the most popular attractions in Asahikawa is the Asahiyama Zoo, where visitors can see a range of animals in their natural habitats. The zoo is especially famous for its penguin walk, where visitors can watch penguins walk around the zoo grounds.

Another must-visit attraction in Asahikawa is the Asahikawa Ramen Village, where visitors can try some of the best ramen noodles in Japan. The village has eight different ramen shops, each with their unique flavors and styles.

For nature lovers, Daisetsuzan National Park is a must-visit destination. The park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Hokkaido, including the iconic Mt. Asahidake, Japan’s highest mountain.

Other popular attractions in Asahikawa include the Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of sake production in Japan, and the Ayako Miura Literature Museum, which celebrates the life and works of the famous Japanese author.

Asahikawa is an excellent destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Hokkaido. With its stunning natural scenery, delicious food, and rich cultural history, it is easy to see why so many visitors fall in love with this charming city.

1. Cultural Resonance:

  • Asahikawa is not just a destination; it’s an experience. The city offers an authentic taste of Japanese culture, slightly different from the bustling metropolises. Be it through its festivals, traditional crafts, or the age-old sake brewing practices, the cultural tapestry of Asahikawa is both intricate and inviting.

2. Culinary Delights:

  • The flavors of Asahikawa are as diverse as they are delightful. From its signature soy-based ramen to the rich dairy products of Hokkaido, every bite speaks of the city’s culinary expertise and the fresh bounty of its land and seas.

3. Nature’s Canvas:

  • Nature seems to have favored Asahikawa generously. The nearby Daisetsuzan National Park offers breathtaking landscapes and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The changing seasons, each with its unique charm, transforms the city into nature’s canvas, painted with the colors of cherry blossoms, summer greens, autumn foliage, or winter’s pristine snow.

4. A Hub of Craftsmanship:

  • Asahikawa’s reputation as a center for woodworking is well-deserved. The city’s artisans, with their unparalleled craftsmanship, produce pieces ranging from functional furniture to intricate wooden toys. The commitment to preserving this craft and passing it down through generations is evident in every carved detail.

5. Accessibility & Convenience:

  • The city, while maintaining its traditional charm, offers modern conveniences that make traveling easy and comfortable. Efficient public transportation, an array of accommodation options, and friendly locals make the journey seamless.

6. Year-round Appeal:

  • While many destinations have a ‘best time to visit,’ Asahikawa entices throughout the year. Each season offers distinct experiences, ensuring that no matter when you arrive, the city has something special in store.

7. A Base for Exploration:

  • Asahikawa’s location makes it an ideal base for exploring other parts of Hokkaido, including Furano’s lavender fields, the hot springs of Sounkyo, and the skiing resorts scattered around the region.

Closing Thoughts: Travel is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and Asahikawa stands testament to this adage. It’s a city that requires you to immerse yourself, to take a moment and breathe in its beauty, savor its flavors, and resonate with its rhythms.

Whether you’re strolling along the banks of the Ishikari River, marveling at ice sculptures, losing yourself amidst the cherry blossoms of Tokiwa Park, or simply relishing a bowl of ramen in a local eatery, the essence of Asahikawa lies in these little moments. It’s a city that doesn’t just offer sights but stories, not just experiences but memories.

In a world obsessed with the ‘next big thing’, Asahikawa is a gentle reminder of the beauty of simplicity, of traditions upheld, and of nature revered. As you conclude your journey, it isn’t just souvenirs that you take back but a piece of Asahikawa’s soul, a lingering warmth that beckons you to return.

In Asahikawa’s snowy land, A winter wonderland so grand. The city’s charm, a sight to see, From parks to museums, lively and free.

As you stroll through the streets, The crisp air, your heart beats. Mt. Daisetsuzan, towering high, A majestic sight, against the sky.

Day trips, adventure awaits, Biei’s rolling hills, a scenic escape. Kamikawa’s beauty, nature’s best, Hokkaido’s treasure, a true test.

Savor the local fare, From ramen to sake, beyond compare. The city’s warmth, so inviting, A traveler’s heart, forever igniting.

Asahikawa, a destination to behold, Memories made, stories untold. A place to visit, time and again, In Hokkaido’s embrace, a true friend.

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