See Waterfalls, Huge Towers of Ice, and Bask in Hot Springs: Exploring the Sounkyo Area in Daisetsuzan National Park
Located within the beautiful Daisetsuzan National Park, the Sounkyo area is a hidden gem in Hokkaido, japan. Known for its stunning waterfalls, towering ice formations, and relaxing hot springs, Sounkyo offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether you visit in the summer or winter, there is always something spectacular to see and do in this picturesque region.
Part of Daisetsuzan National Park, the Sounkyo area is comprised of a range of gorges surrounded by 100-meter-high cliffs. This natural beauty is particularly breathtaking in the fall, when the surrounding mountains are adorned with vibrant autumn colors. Hiking tours are available throughout the year, allowing visitors to explore the area’s diverse flora and fauna while enjoying the crisp mountain air.
To reach Sounkyo, you can take a direct bus from Asahikawa Station, which is the nearest major transportation hub. The bus ride takes approximately two hours, and buses depart every one to two hours from the station. The journey itself is quite scenic, offering glimpses of Hokkaido’s stunning landscapes along the way.
Nature in All Its Glory
No matter the season, Sounkyo never fails to impress with its natural wonders. In the summer, visitors can embark on guided tours that take them around the mountains, waterfalls, and hot springs. The guided hikes provide a unique opportunity to explore the region’s diverse ecosystems and learn about the local flora and fauna from knowledgeable guides.
One of the highlights of a summer visit to Sounkyo is witnessing the majestic waterfalls that dot the area. One such waterfall is the Ryusei-no-taki Falls, also known as Ryusei Falls. This breathtaking cascade plunges from a height of 90 meters, creating a mesmerizing display of water and mist. The surrounding lush greenery adds to the enchanting atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers.
In winter, Sounkyo transforms into a magical icy wonderland. The freezing temperatures create spectacular towers of ice and snow, giving the area an otherworldly feel. The most famous attraction during this season is the Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival. Held annually from late January to early March, the festival showcases impressive ice sculptures and offers various winter activities, such as ice climbing and snowshoeing.
During the festival, the entire Sounkyo Gorge is illuminated with colorful lights, creating a surreal and ethereal ambiance. Visitors can stroll along the illuminated paths and marvel at the intricate ice sculptures that line the gorge. The festival also features fireworks displays on the weekends, adding an extra touch of magic to the winter wonderland.
After a day of exploring the natural wonders of Sounkyo, there’s no better way to relax and rejuvenate than by soaking in the area’s hot springs. Sounkyo is home to several onsen resorts, where visitors can enjoy a traditional Japanese hot spring experience. The mineral-rich waters are believed to have therapeutic properties and are known to promote relaxation and healing. Immerse yourself in the warm waters while taking in the beautiful mountain views, and feel all your worries melt away.
Accommodation and Dining
Sounkyo offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. From luxury resorts to cozy guesthouses, there is something for everyone. Many of the accommodations feature traditional Japanese-style rooms, complete with tatami mats and futon beds, providing a unique cultural experience.
When it comes to dining, Sounkyo is renowned for its fresh and delicious local cuisine. Hokkaido is known for its seafood, and Sounkyo is no exception. Indulge in a variety of seafood dishes, including the famous Hokkaido crabs, which are known for their sweet and succulent meat. Additionally, the region is also famous for its dairy products, such as rich and creamy Hokkaido milk and cheese. Don’t forget to try some local specialties, such as the Hokkaido-style ramen and Jingisukan, a grilled lamb dish that is popular in the region.
Exploring the Surrounding Area
While Sounkyo itself offers plenty of attractions and activities, the surrounding area is also worth exploring. Just a short distance away is the city of Asahikawa, which is known for its beautiful parks, museums, and the famous Asahiyama Zoo. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including polar bears, penguins, and snow leopards. It is particularly famous for its innovative enclosures that allow visitors to observe the animals up close and personal.
Another nearby destination is Furano, a picturesque town known for its lavender fields and ski resorts. In the summer, the lavender fields are in full bloom, creating a vibrant and fragrant landscape. Visitors can stroll through the fields, take stunning photographs, and even participate in lavender-related activities, such as making lavender sachets or enjoying lavender-flavored ice cream. In the winter, Furano transforms into a popular ski destination, attracting skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.
Sounkyo is a paradise for nature lovers, offering a diverse range of attractions and activities throughout the year. Whether you visit in the summer to witness the stunning waterfalls and enjoy guided hikes, or in the winter to experience the magical ice formations and the Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival, you are sure to be captivated by the area’s natural beauty. Soak in the hot springs, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and explore the surrounding areas to make the most of your visit to this enchanting part of Daisetsuzan National Park.
Address And Maps Location:
Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido