Jozankei Onsen: “Sapporo’s onsen town” offers wonderful scenery close to an urban area

Located in Minami Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Jozankei Onsen attracts many visitors, especially day-trippers, because it takes only 40 minutes by car or about 1 hour by Kappa Liner expressway bus from central Sapporo. This hot spring town is part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, offering the distinct atmosphere of a beautiful town surrounded by nature one step from central Sapporo City.

Jozankei Onsen

The place was first opened as a spa in 1866. Jozankei Onsen has a large volume output of spring water, with 56 hot spring sources discharging as much as 8,600 liters of water per minute at 60 – 80 degrees Celsius. This is one of the rare onsen areas in Japan that rely solely on the natural flow of hot springs with no pumps, and many of the onsen hotels in this area offer 100% undiluted or recirculated natural hot spring water. The water contains sodium chloride, which warms the body to the core even in the harsh winter of Hokkaido.

The onsen town spreads along the Toyohira River, and upstream there are beautiful spots such as Hoheikyo Dam and Maizuru-no-toro water pool. The magnificent landscape of the river valley and the mountains is beautiful throughout the year, but it is especially popular during the autumn foliage season. The peak autumn season usually lasts from early to mid-October and the walking trails of Jozankei can be very crowded. The starting points, “Futami Park” and “Futami Suspension Bridge,” are highly recommended spots for viewing the colorful leaves. The well-maintained paths are comfortable for a stroll, leading to great scenery.

Autumn foliage and Futami Suspension Bridge at Jozankei Onsen

You can take photos of the bright-red Futami Suspension Bridge, the symbol of Jozankei, along with the autumn foliage. From the suspension bridge, you can see “Kappabuchi,” a water pool that is said to be home to the legendary kappa specter, and “Futami-iwa” rocks, which look like the famous “Meoto-iwa” wedded rocks in Mie Prefecture.

Hoheikyo Dam and autumn foliage
Hoheikyo Dam and autumn foliage

Hoheikyo Dam is one of the most famous places for beautiful autumn foliage in Hokkaido. Enjoy the stunning landscape created by the lake and the surrounding nature.

Horseback riding in winter at Jozankei Onsen

Another unique feature of Jozankei Onsen is that you can enjoy outdoor activities amid the scenery. Try canoeing on the Toyohira River while admiring the autumn foliage, or horseback riding in snowy fields.

“Yukitoro” event at Jozankei Shrine

Yukitoro is an annual event held from the end of January to early February. A large number of snow candles placed on the grounds of Jozankei Shrine create a mesmerizing view.

Open-air, snow-view bath at Jozankei Onsen

At an onsen hotel, you can enjoy the baths in a relaxing atmosphere while taking in the view of the colored leaves in autumn and snow in winter.

Access Haneda Airport → 90 min. by air → New Chitose Airport → 40 min. by JR Rapid Airport → JR Sapporo Sta. → 60 min. by “Kappa Liner” direct bus (reservation required) → Jozankei Onsen
Telephone number 0115982012

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The information herein is as of August 2022
I am Ayumi from Chiba Prefecture. I love sweets. I majored in Japanese history in my university. I have visited many historic sites from the ancient days to the modern days on my trips. I have visited about 100 castles of various sizes. I am also obsessed with visiting “anime pilgrimage sites,” the locations featured in popular anime and manga.

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