Tokachigawa Onsen: An Onsen Village featuring “moor hot springs” rare in Japan
A 20-minute bus ride from eastern Hokkaido’s Obihiro City is Tokachigawa Onsen. It is located in Otofuke Town in the middle of the Tokachi Plain.
Opened in 1900, Tokachigawa Onsen is “moor hot springs” with a high content of organic substances including plant humus. Millions of years ago, the Tokachi Plain was a large inlet surrounded by wetlands abundant in peat and sediment. Peat turns to lignite, and the moor hot springs of Tokachi Onsen is what is pumped out through the layers of soil and lignite under the plains. Its high levels of organic plant matter give the water a brown and red color, and it is known to leave the skin feeling soft and smooth. It is effective against chronic skin disease, cold hands and feet, as well as cuts. Moor springs are rare in Japan, and it was designated a Hokkaido Heritage in 2004.
The Onsen Town, with hotels and inns, stretches out along the Tokachi-gawa River. Among the facilities are ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that are open to drop-in bathers during the day. The Roadside Station Garden Spa Tokachigawa has also been open since 2016 in the main part of the town, and travelers can enjoy the spas, markets, craft workshops, and restaurants inside. It also has a spa that can be enjoyed wearing bathing suits, allowing families and couples to take a dip in the moor hot springs together. There are also a variety of moor face masks and hand lotions, so visitors can buy unique souvenirs they can only get at Tokachigawa Onsen.
Near Tokachigawa Onsen, visitors can enjoy the majestic Hokkaido scenery and partake in outdoor activities. The Tokachi Nature Center offers early morning hot air balloon rides, Tokachi nature tours, salmon-watching tours, Tokachi canoe tours, mountain bike tours, snow rafting, eagle-watching cruises, and snowmobile rides. There are activities all year round that can be enjoyed in the great outdoors.
On the outskirts of Otofuke Town is Tokachi Ranch where visitors can enjoy a 360-degree view of the immense Tokachi Plain from the observatory.
Furthermore, the ranch boasts a street flanked by white birch, a spot that has been used as a setting for many movies and TV shows. Many travelers come to visit this picturesque path.
Tokchigawa Onsen is the ideal place to experience a unique moor hot spring, as well as to recharge while spending some time amidst the grand nature of Hokkaido.
Haneda Airport -> 95 min by air -> Tokachi Obihiro Airport -> 30 min by airport bus -> Obihiro Sta. -> 30 min by Tokachi bus -> Tokachigawa Onsen
Tokachigawa Onsen Tourist Association
*The information herein is as of June 2021