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Asahikawa Has Soy Sauce Culture and Asahiyama Zoo

March 31st, 2014

ASAHIKAWA

Asahikawa (旭川) that 350,000 people live is the second largest city in Hokkaido and is a regional hub city of the North Hokkaido area. As for climate, it is hot that temperature rises to 25 degrees C in a summer and it is cold that temperature falls to -20 degrees C and snow heavily in a winter because Asahikawa is located in a basin. Therefore a winter festival using the snow is famous. Because famous sightseeing spots such as Asahiyama Zoo (旭山動物園) and Biei (美瑛) are around Asahikawa, many tourrists use bases for tourist attractions in the North Hokkaido. In addition, woodworks have been prosperous since old days, and furniture is famous. Because the water is clear, a liquor such as sake of Otokoyama (男山) and Godo Shusei (合同酒精) are famous.

Asahikawa Woodwork Center
Asahikawa

Speaking of Asahikawa, many people will remember Asahikawa ramen. It is known for soy sauce ramen, but a taste is full of variety recently, too. About 500 ramen restaurants such as Furuki (ふるき), Yoshino (よし乃), Daidaiya (橙ヤ) and Mizuno (みづの) serve the ramen. In addition, pork rice bowl with soy sauce flavored of Sakuratei (さくら亭) and fried squid legs rice bowl are popular, and Jun Dog is popular, too. As for sweets, Long-established confectioners such as The Sun Kuroudo (Theサン蔵人) and Tsuboya (壺屋) keep traditional taste and new confectionery stores such as QLL of the store specializing in swiss roll distinguish themselves.

Tourist Spots

Speaking of famous sightseeing spots in Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo is the first to be pointed out. Because 5.8 million tourists visit Asahikawa and 1.5 million people visit Asahikawa for the purpose of the Asahiyama Zoo, I understand that the Asahiyama Zoo has extensive authority.

Asahiyama Zoo

Asahiyama Zoo is the northernmost zoo in Japan and has the third visitors after Ueno Zoo (上野動物園) and Higashiyama Zoo (東山動物園) in Japan, and 1,600,000 people visit every year. Many tourists come from foreign countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as Japan, too. Originally the Asahiyama Zoo was a loss-making zoo, but they changed ways of exhibitions. One is "Action exhibitions to show original wild life of animals", and other is "Mixed exhibitions to let animals of different kinds coexist in a near‐natural environment". "Asahiyama Zoo Story -Penguins fly in the sky- (旭山動物園物語 ペンギンが空を飛ぶ)" was broadcasted on a movie and a tv, and the Asahiyama Zoo became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hokkaido. Article is here

Polar Bear Looks Fun
Asahiyama Zoo Polar Bear House
Photo credit: Courtesy of Makan Angin

Atmosphere of Ahahiyama Zoo Can Be Watched on Youtube.

Movie of Asahiyama Zoo

Red Brick Warehouses

Asahikawa has prospered as an important city of North Hokkaido since old days. Armed forces and railroad were based in Asahikawa, and it modernized the industry. Red brick warehouses (赤レンガ倉庫群) built in about 1900 are one of those. Old Japan National Railways Asahikawa railyard and old distillation columns of Godo Shusei exist even now.

Atmosphere of Red Bricks Warehouses Can Be Watched on Youtube.

Movie of Red Bricks Warehouses

Shujitsu-no-Oka Hills

Shujitsu-no-Oka Hills (就実の丘) are a viewing spot named by Mr. Osamu Hiyama (檜山修), photographer, in Nishikagura, Asahikawa city (旭川市西神楽). Those are famous for looking over beautiful sceneries of Tokachidake Mountain Range (十勝岳) and fields. There is Shujitsu-no-Oka Hills near Asahikawa Airport, and tourists can photograph the good scenery with an airplane, too. A road to the Shujitsu-no-Oka Hills seem to be called a roller coaster road, and it is the famous road, too. There are not any facilities such as a parking lot around here. Visitors can park their cars to enjoy the views on the shoulder of the road. Article is here

View from Shujitsu Hill
Shujitsu Hill Asahikawa

Atmosphere of Shujitsu Hill Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Shujitsu Hill

Arashiyama Observatory

Arashiyama Observatory (嵐山展望台) in Etanbetu cho, Asahikawa city is a famous place for looking over a townscape of Asahikawa near Asahikawa Takasu Junction (旭川鷹栖ジャンクション) and was built in 1965. There is a stylish two-story observatory deck on a hill and it takes 5 minutes from a parking lot on foot. The Arashiyama Observatory has a nice view, and Daisetsuzan Mountain Range can be seen if it is fine, too. This place seems to have a good night view, too. It will be famous place from local people because some visitors came even on weekdays. By the way, a way to the observatory deck is wheelchair accessible way. There is a restroom near a parking lot. A gravel path for one car width leads to an observatory, Drive carefully. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Townscape of Asahikawa
Arashiyama Observatory in Asahikawa

Atmosphere of Arashiyama Observatory Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Arashiyama Observatory

Kamuikotan

Kamuikotan (神居古潭) is a picturesque scenery in the suburbs of Asahikawa city. A combination of meandering and rocks is beautiful scenery. Originally this place is known as a sacred place for Ainu people, and Kamuikotan means "God lives" in Ainu language. Kamuikotan Ninne Kamui (カムイコタンニッネカムイ * violent and resistant god) lived here in Ainu period and watned to destroy the Ainu people once, but he was brought down by Samaikuru (サマイクル * guardian deity). Because there were a lot of strangely shaped rocks and mysterious stones and this was a difficult spot for crusing, Kamuikotan was called a village of violent and resistant god. A look of Kamui Bridge is very nice. There are the Kamui Bridge (神居大橋), Steam Locomotives, former Kamuikotan Station (旧神居古潭駅舎) and a monument in memory of Takeko Kujo (九条武子) in the site. Kamuiiwa Rock (神居岩) can be looked. Free admission and a parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Kamuikotan
Kamuikotan in Asahikawa

Atmosphere of Kamuikotan Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Kamuikotan

Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing

Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing (男山酒造り資料館) is a famous sake brewery in Nagayama, Asahikawa city. Otokoyama (男山) has came from Sanuemon Yamamoto (山本三右衛門), first leader, that use Otokoyama associated with Otokoyama Hachimangu Shrine (男山八幡宮 * present Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine(石清水町満宮)) in Kyoto as a brand. It has a history of about 340 years and was brewed in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture during Edo period. But Otokoyama Sake Brewing begun to brew the Otokoyama in Asahikawa in 1899 and is known as the head family among many Otokoyama. In front of the brewing factory, Visitors drink water used by sake brewing freely and can take a walk through a beautiful Japanese‐style garden. At the building, the visitors can observe the history of the sake brewing and can sample the sake that won in the world international contests freely. Free admission and a parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing
Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing in Asahikawa

Atmosphere of Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing in Asahikawa Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Otokoyama Museum of Sake Brewing in Asahikawa

Tasty Foods

Asahikawa is known for ramen, but there is the food only in Asahikawa, too. Broiled Pig Innards (ホルモン焼き), Fried Squid Leg Rice Bowl (ゲソ丼), Soy Sauce Chow Mein (醤油やきそば), Soy Sauce Taste Pork Rice Bowl, Jun Dog, sweets are famous, too.

Ramen

Speaking of ramen in Asahkawa, Soy Sause Ramen is a staple dish. As for the Asahikawa ramen, soy sauce is put into soup broth made from w-soup (ダブルスープ) such as seafood broth, pork bone broth and chicken bone broth, and medium thickness curled noodles are used. It features that lard floats on the surface of the soup. About 400 restaurants seem to serve ramen around Asahikawa city. I visited Mizuno (みづの), Furuki (ふるき), Yoshino (よし乃), Morumen Himawari (モルメン ひまわり), Hachiya (蜂屋), Asahikawa Daikichi Ramen (旭川大吉ラーメン), Tsuruya (つるや), Ichikura (一蔵), Baikoken (梅光軒), Sugawara (すがわら), Santoka (山頭火) and New Home Run (ニューホームラン).

Movie of Ginger Ramen, Mizuno

Movie of Asahikawa Ramen, Furuki

Movie of Miso Ramen, Yoshino

Movie of Morumen, Himawari

Movie of Soy Sauce Ramen, Hachiya

Movie of Soy Sauce Ramen, Asahikawa Daikichi Ramen

Movie of Soy Sauce Ramen, Tsuruya

Movie of Dried Chum Salmon Soy Sauce Ramen, Ichikura

Movie of Vegetable Ramen (Soy Sauce Flavor), Baikohke

Movie of Salt Ramen, Sugawara Head Office

Movie of Salt Ramen, Santoka Head Office

Soy Sauce Ramen, New Home Run

Soy Sauce Ramen, Tenkin 4jo Branch

Broiled Pig Innards with Salty Taste

Hog raising has been prosperous around a neighboring of Asahikawa since old days. Because a lot of fresh pig innards are supplied, it become a local speciality dish. It is Baba Hormone that the local speciality dish was served for the first time. The restraunt serving broiled pig innards with salty taste increase recently. I visited Baba Hormone.

Baba Hormone
Asahikawa, Broiled Pig Innards -Baba Hormone-

Broiled Pig Innards and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Baba Hormone

Mongolian Barbecue

Jingisukan Daikokuya Head Office (成吉思汗大黒屋) is a popular mongolian barbecue (ジンギスカン) restraunt in Asahikawa city and was founded in 2002. Tender lamb and an atmosphere of a restraunt filled with smoke are popular. I visited the head office around 18:00 on weekdays. Then it had been already stood in line. There were 4 groups of preceding visitors. Indeed, it was popular. Approximately 20 minutes later, my turn had come at last. While waiting, the line became long. However, a waiter suggested the large number of visitors that the large number of people were accepted at a branch near the head office because the head office was not large. By the way, at the branch and the head office, the serving dishes seem to be the same taste. Article is here

3 Kinds of Lambs Are Grilled
Mongolian Barbecue -Daikokuya in Asahikawa-

Mongolian Barbecue and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Daikokuya

Fried Squid Leg Rice Bowl

Many restraunts seem to serve Fried Squid Leg Rice Bowl (ゲソ丼) in Asahikawa city, but their tastes are seems to serve different. I visited Hanachan (花ちゃん).

Hanachan
Fried Squid Legs Rice Bowl -Hanachan in Asahikawa-

Fried Squid Leg Rice Bowl and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Fried Squid Leg Rice Bowl, Hanachan

Pork Rice Bowl

Speaking of Pork Rice Bowl (豚丼), Obihiro is famous. But Asahikawa has the Pork Rice Bowl, too. It is Sakuratei (さくら亭) that is a long-established restaurant. If the Pork Rice Bowl with salty-sweet flavored is Obihiro style, the Pork Rice Bowl of Asahikawa is soy sauce taste. As well as ramen, seasoning is soy sauce taste. Article is here

Sakuratei
Pork Rice Bowl -Sakuratei in Asahikawa-

Pork Rice Bowl and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Pork Rice Bowl, Sakuratei

JUN DOG

JUN DOG is one of local dishes in Asahikawa, deep-fried foods are wrapped with boiled rice. All Asahikawa people know it, but it is said that people except Asahikawa people do not know it, it is a dish loved by local people. Because I heard from a certain woman who got to know in a study session about JUN DOG, I visited here in the evening and bought a JUN DOG with sausage, a JUN DOG with deep-fried prawn, a JUN DOG with chicken cutlet. The price is JPY 400 per each. With permission of an owner, I decided to eat those at a shop. I had a coffee. Article is here

JUN DOG with Chicken Cutlet
JUN DOG -Pigeon House in Asahikawa-

JUN DOG and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of JUN DOG, Pigeon House

Chicken Dish

Chicken Meals Onoki (鶏料理 小野木) is a long-established Japanese restaurant and was founded in 1922. This restraunt was placed in MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. There is a building in Higashi-Asahikawa near Asahiyama zoo. I heard that the chicken dish named this restraunt was tasty and visited here. Article is here

Deep-Fried Chickens
Chicken Dish -Onoki in Asahikawa-

Deep-Fried Chickens Combo and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Deep-Fried Chickens Combo of Onoki

Sweets

About 250 sweets shops open a businesses in Asahikawa city. There are many sweets shops with high reputation such as Katoya (かとう屋) with the oldest history in Hokkaido, The Sun Kuroudo (Theサン蔵人), Tsuboya (壺屋), LHOTEL de KITAKURABU (ロテル・ド・北倶楽部), Etude Confectionery Store (エチュード洋菓子店) and QLL.

Tsuboya

Tsuboya is a long-established confectionery store in Asahikawa city and was founded in 1929. Kibana cookie (き花) reflecting an image of diamond dust is famous. The kibana cookie has been awarding 'Gold Prize' by Monde Selection for 27 consecutive years. That is great! Such Tsuboya opened Kibana-no-Mori (き花の杜) in 2014. There are a factory, a cafe, a craft shop, a flower shop at a building, and a courtyard is constructed, too. Article is here

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cup with Kibana Cookie and Kibana Hot Chocolate, Tsuboya Kibana-no-Mori
Soft Serve Ice Cream Cup with Kibana Cookie and Kibana Hot Chocolate -Tsuboya Kibana-no-Mori in Asahikawa-

Q'LL

Roll Cake Studio Q'LL is a store specialized in swiss roll cakes in Toyooka, Asahikawa city and was founded in 2009. There is a building at a residential area. I heard that Q'LL was very popular for person loving swiss roll cakes, and I visited here. Article is here

Swiss, Roll QLL
Swiss Roll QLL

The Sun Kuroudo

The Sun Kuroudo (The Sun 蔵人) is a popular confectionery store run by Robakashitukasa (ロバ菓子司), a long-established confectionery company, in Kaguraoka, Asahikawa city. Appearance of a building along a plane tree street is a stylish and got many prizes. Article is here

Swiss Roll, The Sun Kurodo
Swiss Roll The Sun Kurodo

Etude Confectionery Store

Etude Confectionery Store (エチュード洋菓子店) is in Asahimachi, Asahikawa city and was founded in 1984. Baked sweets such as Asahikawa Souffle and Tenshi-no-Hohoemi Cheese Tart (天使のほほえみ) are known, but no matter what, Ohirune Pudding (お昼ねプリン * Baby Chick's Lunchtime Nap Pudding) is very famous. It got the first place in "Pudding Palace (プリンの殿堂) 2006". Raw materials are an egg produced in Higashi-Asahikawa and milk produced in Okhotsk area. Visitors can enjoy Hokkaido taste. I purchased it immediately. The price is JPY 310. Because there was not a place for customers to enjoy foods at the store, I decided to return to my car and to eat it. Article is here

Ohirune Pudding of Chick, Etude Confectionery Store
Etude Confectionery Store, ohirune pudding of the chick

LHOTEL de KITAKURABU

LHOTEL de KITAKURABU Head Office (ロテル・ド・北倶楽部) is a confectionery store run by Robakashitsukasa (ロバ菓子司), long-established confectionery, in Kamitokiwa-cho, Asahikawa city and started a business in 1989. A concept of making up stores seem to be a North European hotel. There were recommended sweets including Golden Fresh Sable (金の生サブレ), New York Cheesecake (ニューヨークチーズケーキ) and so on, because I was full, I purchased only a kind of sweets. It was Cornet (コルネット). The cake has been sold since they started their business, and the price is reasonable, too. The cornet is JPY 115 per one. Article is here

Cornet, LHOTEL de KITAKURABU
LHOTEL de KITAKURABU, Cornet

Event

Many tourists visit Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり). It is a popular snow event after Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido.

Asahikawa Winter Festival

Asahikawa Winter Festival (旭川冬まつり) is a snow festival event held in early February. It was held for the first time in 1960, and this is one of the 2 Major Winter Festival with Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, about 1 million tourists come to see the event. Asahikawa Winter Festival has 2 sites, Asahibashi Bridge Site (旭橋河畔会場) and Heiwadori Shopping Park Site (平和通買物公園会場). As for the Asahibashi Bridge Site adjacent to Tokiwa park, a gigantic snow sculpture is featured. World Ice Sculpture Contest is held at the Heiwadori Shopping Park Site, and ice sculptur works are displayed. Article is here

State of Site
Asahikawa Snow Festival, Asahibashi Bridge Site

Atmosphere of Asahikawa Snow Festival Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Asahikawa Winter Festival

Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Asahikawa.

Booking.com

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