Daisetsuzan is the largest park in Japan covering 226,000ha area. It is located in the middle of Hokkaido, and consists of alpine mountain peaks, forest, rivers, lakes, and is home to wildlife such as brown bears, foxes, deer, and birds. There are two active volcanoes, Asahidake lying in the north of the park as the highest peak, and Tokachidake lying in the southern end of the park. Many onsen spots are also located here, such as Asahidake and Kogen Onsens and they simply should not be missed.
At the foot of Asahidake, there is a small village with some buildings, wooden lodges, onsen, and several hotels. Asahidake Ropeway, operated by Wakasa Resort, helps visitors to travel up to 489 metres vertically. It is particularly great in autumn, when visitors can enjoy the beautiful colourful leaves. Visitors can also ski on the mountain from December to late April. Shopping and dining spots are only available at the hotels and the ropeway station.
- Hours: 6:00 – 18:00 (Summer), 8:00 – 16:30 (Winter)
- Closed: Mid-November to mid-December
- Fees: 2,900 yen (June to mid-October), 1,800 yen (Mid-October to May), round trip.
The Garden of Taisetsu forest
Sonkyo is a 20-kilometer gorge located at the northeast side of the park which is a popular resort town where there are restaurants and several large hotels there. The town is popular for its onsens and many local ryokans offer hot spring baths, along with a public bath house in the town center as an alternative choice. With over three million visitors each year, Sonkyo is a very popular tourist area.
Besides the onsens, the town has many other tourist spots, such as Kurodake Ski area which opens from mid-November to early June, a beautiful valley “Obako”, waterfall, Garden of Taisetsu forest and Sonkyo ropeway.
So, do you like hiking? Daisetsu Kogen is located at 1260 metres above sea level on the eastern side of the park. It is a popular head trail to Mount Midoridake. The accommodations in Daisetsu Kogen are only open from mid-June to mid-October, which is during the autumn season and the best time for hiking because you will have amazing views of the fall colors along the trail. There is also a hot spring in Daisetsu Kogen which can be used by non-staying guests for 700 yen between 10:30 and 17:00. If you are going to stay, try booking before autumn arrives because rooms are limited.