One-day driving trips to Jozankei

Jozankei is not just about the hot springs! One-day driving trips to enjoy activities and cafés

About 1 hour by car from the city, Jozankei hot springs is familiar to Sapporo residents, and it is a hot spring area made attractive by the fact that it is close enough to visit on the spur of the moment. However, do you know that the hot springs are not the only reason for wanting to head out there? This time, with “Jozankei is not just about the hot springs” as our theme, we introduce fun spots hidden away down side roads and in the forests, that you wouldn’t notice just driving down Route 230. That said, you might find that you may suddenly want to warm yourself up on your way back, but that is okay too, Jozankei hot springs has around 20 bathing facilities for day-trippers, so keep a towel handy in your bag, just in case.

How to enjoy the mountains and forests

Walk on horseback through the orchards
Enjoy the scenery while trekking

Surrounded by mountains on all sides, Jozankei hot springs is an area where you can easily travel a little further afield to explore the mountains. In addition to enjoying “the red leaves of spring”, where you can see the trees budding for just a short time, and alpine plants, which on Japan’s main island of Honshu can only be seen from high altitudes and the leaves of autumn, which color the whole mountain in hues of red, yellow and green are truly magnificent. In addition to easy courses, such as walking along the “Jozankei Walking Trail”, which crosses the Futami Suspension Bridge from the hot spring district’s Futami Park, there is a range of courses where you can go up the mountains in about an hour one way, such as “Yuhidake”, “Asahidake” and “Mount Hakken”. Among them, we recommend horseback trekking for those who love animals. “Wild Mustangs” at the foot of Mount Hakken is a horseback riding facility where you can come out of the riding ground Western-style and enjoy courses in the mountains. Seeing the scenery from horseback as you go up and down the hills, you will surely feel close to nature.

How to enjoy the valley of the Toyohira River

Enjoy rafting and canoeing on the Toyohira River, which flows through valley of the hot spring district

Jozankei hot springs is a hot spring area with a series of hot spring inns on the valley. Flowing through the valley, where hot springs well up from the riverside, is the Toyohira River, which flows all the way to the city of Sapporo. It is a scenic spot which changes with the seasons—with a turbulent appearance in spring due to the increased water levels that come with the snow thaw, and a water surface tinted with the colors of the leaves in autumn—however, most people will never notice it unless they come off the highway onto a side road. Recently, nature guides who know about such hidden-away magnificent views organize activity tours where even beginners can get to experience the beauty of the valley. “We want people to know that such magnificent natural beauty exists within ‘Sapporo’, a city of 1.9 million people, just 40 minutes away from the center of the city by car”, say the guides. Currently, there are many cases of tourists coming to enjoy the experience. It is close enough to visit on the spur of the moment, so why not enjoy an experience that is “out-of-the-ordinary” even in the everyday lives of Sapporo citizens?

If you are hungry, take a break

A café on the cliff with a spectacular view and a bread shop in the forest Take a drive to shops that are full of personality!

“Whenever I was riding through Jozankei on my motorbike, I would think to myself that ‘the scenery is really great here’. The rest is history.” says Atsuko Aiyama, owner of “café gakeno-ue”, the café on the cliff overlooking the Shirai River. Mr. Tatsuya Honda of “Vergine Baccano”, where bread is baked in the forest, explained the reason for the garden that blends in naturally with the trees, “I love the texture of the Ishiyama soft stone, which is still mined in Minami-ku today, so I used it to surround the garden”. The fact that there are a series of unique shops dotted about, steadily built up by shopkeepers who fell in love with the beautiful scenery and wonderful environment, is another of Jozankei’s charms. There are unique shops you will want to take a drive to visit, either to fill your stomach after the physical exertion of the activities or when you just want to clear your mind. Be sure to try the hidden specialty that is the pork-cutlet sandwich at “francais”, a coffee shop which has been in the hot spring district since the old days.

Jozankei Tourist Association

AddressJozankei Onsen Higashi 3-chome, Minami-ku, Sapporo

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