Soak in onsen waters surrounded by lush greenery and magnificent canyons
Jozankei Onsen is the largest hot spring town in Hokkaido, located in the picturesque Shikotsu-Toya National Park. With about 20 ryokan inns, it is one of Hokkaido’s major tourist attractions, drawing 1.4 million visitors a year.
The history of Jozankei Onsen dates back to 1866 when a monk named Mizumi Jozan established a spa along the upper Toyohira River. He recognized the healing properties of the water and brought the injured and sick here for healing. Over time, the reputation of Jozankei Onsen spread, and it became a popular destination for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.
One of the highlights of visiting Jozankei Onsen is experiencing the stunning autumn colors. During the autumn season, the mountains and the Toyohira River are transformed into a tapestry of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. It is considered one of the best places to see the autumn foliage in Hokkaido. The leaves begin to change color a few weeks before central and southern japan, offering visitors a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of nature.
To reach Jozankei Onsen, there are several options available. You can travel by car or take a shuttle bus. Many hotels in the area offer a shuttle bus service from Sapporo Station or Makomanai Subway Station. Additionally, the Kappa Liner bus departs for Jozankei Onsen from Sapporo, Odori, and Susukino stations 13 times a day. It is advisable to make reservations in advance. The bus trip takes approximately 75 minutes, while driving by car takes around 40 minutes.
Once you arrive at Jozankei Onsen, you can immerse yourself in the healing waters of the hot springs. The spa’s waters contain a variety of minerals, including sodium chloride, sulfur, and sodium bicarbonate. These types of springs are highly regarded in Japan for their beneficial effects on various health conditions, such as skin conditions, anemia, cuts and burns, and fatigue. Most baths in Jozankei Onsen are gender segregated, so visitors can choose between male and female baths.
For those who wish to maximize their relaxation, staying overnight in one of the traditional hotel ryokan is highly recommended. These accommodations offer a unique experience with tatami-matted rooms, futon beds, and traditional Japanese meals. It is an opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and hospitality.
Aside from the hot springs, Jozankei Onsen offers a range of activities and attractions. One popular activity is canoeing under the picturesque Nishiki Bridge. The bridge provides a stunning backdrop for a leisurely paddle along the river. Another must-do experience is capturing a photo of a kappa, the little water sprite that is Jozankei’s mascot. The kappa statues can be found throughout the town, adding a touch of whimsy to the atmosphere.
In addition to the hot springs and activities, Jozankei Onsen is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. Many mountains surround the area, making it an ideal destination for hiking and enjoying panoramic views. The fall season is particularly breathtaking, but Jozankei Onsen is worth visiting throughout the year. If you plan on exploring the area, it is recommended to arrive by 10 a.m. to allow enough time for activities before visiting an onsen. If possible, staying overnight and catching the bus back to Sapporo the following day is a great option.
One of the unique aspects of Jozankei Onsen is its mischievous mascot, the kappa. The kappa is a water sprite with a plate on its head, resembling a cute imaginary creature. According to legend, a young man once went fishing in the river and disappeared. A year later, he appeared in his father’s dream, saying that he lived happily with his kappa wife and children. Since then, it is said that no one has drowned in the area. Kappa souvenirs and toys can be purchased at local shops, making for a fun and memorable souvenir.
For those who enjoy winter activities, Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is located near Jozankei Onsen. The resort offers excellent ski runs for beginners through to experts, as well as a snow park for sledding and tube rides. On clear days, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Otaru and the Sea of Japan. After a day of skiing or snowboarding, a relaxing hot spring bath in Jozankei is the perfect way to unwind and soothe tired muscles.
There are also several other sightseeing spots around Jozankei that are worth exploring. Hoheikyo Dam, Jozankei Dam, and Jozan Gensen Park are all located in the center of town. Visitors can enjoy free forest foot baths or take a leisurely stroll along the promenade along the Toyohira River, where hot water bubbles up from the river bed.
In conclusion, Jozankei Onsen offers a unique and rejuvenating experience for visitors. Surrounded by lush greenery and magnificent canyons, it is a place where you can relax, immerse yourself in nature, and soak in healing hot spring waters. Whether you visit during the vibrant autumn season or any other time of the year, Jozankei Onsen promises a memorable and rejuvenating experience.
Address And Maps Location:
Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido