Day-trip sightseeing and bathing in the suburbs of Sapporo
Venture out from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport. Day-trip sightseeing and bathing is the holiday style of Hokkaido locals
Bathing is one of the important elements that are essential to the lives of the people of Hokkaido. As well as bathing at home, they love immersing themselves in the hot water of the spacious bathtubs of public baths and hot springs. Hokkaido is a “hot spring paradise” with hot springs in various places. In the heart of Sapporo there are a substantial number of bathing facilities, where you can warm your body and relax, and if you venture out into Hokkaido, you can enjoy sightseeing and bathing in a hot-spring village surrounded by natural beauty. The pressure and warmth of the water improves blood circulation and soothes the fatigue of your journey. This time, we introduce you to hot springs and bathing facilities that are easy to get to from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport.
Bathing in hot-spring villages close to Sapporo
If you come to Hokkaido for sightseeing, one thing we want you to experience is bathing at a hot spring. For the Japanese, who have a custom slowly soaking in the bath at home, a holiday spent at a hot spring is a blissful time. It is a place that will heal the mind and body, so much so that, when it comes to a reward for working hard at work and at home, they think "I want to go to a hot spring!" Depending on the spring quality, your skin will be made smooth, or moisturized. It warms your body as you enjoy the scenery and feel of the hot water, and takes away your daily fatigue. There are hot-spring villages in various areas around Hokkaido; however, particularly easy to visit while based in Sapporo or New Chitose Airport are Jozankei hot-spring village, Asarigawa hot-spring village and Lake Shikotsu hot-spring village, where "Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA" stands on the banks of Lake Shikotsu. While all of the hot-spring villages are within a one-hour drive from Sapporo on the expressway, they are surrounded by natural beauty and dense forest. Families and couples dropping by at a suburban day-trip hot spring while on a drive is the classic style of spending a day off for Sapporo residents. If you want to fully enjoy a Hokkaido hot spring, we recommend staying the night.
Bathing at an inn with private hot spring baths
There may be tourists from overseas who would like to visit a hot spring while sightseeing in Hokkaido, but say "It's difficult because we have kids with us" or "I'm uncomfortable being naked in front of others". To such people we recommend the "private hot springs" available at Hokkaido hot-spring inns separately from the big baths, which can be used by individual guests. Groups can reserve them by the hour, so the big attraction is the fact that you can bath in a hot spring in a private space. For example, at the open-air private baths of “Hot Spring Hotel Marukoma, a lakeside hotel in Lake Shikotsu" in Hokkaido's Lake Shikotsu hot-spring village, and the "hot-spring baths" of "Asarigawa Hot Spring Hotel Musashitei" in Asarigawa hot-spring village, you can also enjoy bathing on a day trip. The baths are, of course, equipped with a washing area, and you can use them for 50 to 60 minutes, so you can take your time bathing. Once you have got used to hot springs with a "private bath", why not give a large bath a try?
Easy bathing at a super sento bathhouse
Public bathhouses which have been in Japan since olden times are known as "sento". In recent years, "super sento bathhouses" equipped with various types of baths such as open-air baths and whirlpool baths, as well as saunas and restaurants are popular with the locals as bathing facilities which can easily be visited on a day off or on the way home from work. Though there are many facilities which use heated spring water, there are also some super sento which use natural hot springs. There are options such as volcanic-rock bathing, scrubbing and massage, and rooms where you can have a meal or just relax, so you can surely sooth the fatigue of your journey. Easy to visit from the center of Sapporo are "Natural Hot Spring and Relaxing Bath Kitano Tamayura, Soen" and "Gokurakuyu Sapporo, Yayoi branch" close to Soen Station, just one stop from JR Sapporo Station. In Tanuki Koji 2-chome, close to Odori subway station, there is also the "Komichi no Yu" women-only relaxation facility. They are all in an area which takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes by taxi from Sapporo Station. During your sightseeing in Sapporo, why not experience the "fun of a day off" Japanese style.
Pointers for when you are bathing
When bathing, avoid getting in with a towel wrapped around you, and try not to get the towel or long hair wet in the bathtub. A seasoned hot-spring goer would place a face towel on top of their head. People tend to want to take photos when on holiday, but be aware that bringing a smartphone to a changing room or large bath where there are other guests and taking photos or doing other things liable to misunderstanding is a breach of etiquette.