- October 1st, 2014
[Sounkyo in Daisetsuzan Mountain Range] Tourist Attractions, Onsen and Fall Foliage Can Be Enjoyed in God's Beautiful Garden
- List of Sounkyo Tourist Attractions
- List of Events in Sounkyo
- List of Activities in Sounkyo
- List of Accommodations
Sounkyo (層雲峡) is a large valley in Kamikawa town located in the southeastern direction of Asahikawa city. In Omote-daisestu Area (表大雪エリア), Daisetsuzan National Park, sheer cliffs with about 24 km in length are on both sides of Ishikari River, and it is surrounded by mountains as much as 2000 m high, too. Daisetsuzan Mounatin Range has been called "Kamuimintara (カムイミンタラ)" by Ainu people since a very long time ago, and means "A garden that gods have a good time" in Ainu lanugae, and I think that you will be satisfied with the translator if you see a grandmagnificent scenery. But an another meaning is "a home of brown bears", and local people call here a nest of the brown bears, so a lot of the bears inhabit. Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉) is a sightseeing base that about 2 million tourists come in the Daisetsuzan National Park along with Asahidake Onsen (旭岳温泉), and is popular with hikers as trailheads for the Daisetsuzan Mounatin Range.
Previously, Sounkyo was called "Sounbetsu (ソウウンベツ)" in Ainu language, and means River with A Lot of Waterfalls. As the meaning suggests, there are a lot of waterfalls along sheer cliffs. Mr. Keigetsu Omachi (大町桂月), a famous poet, named Sounbetsu Sounkyo in 1921. There are sightseeing spots that a beautiful sheer cliff is called Oobako (大函) and Ryusei Falls and Ginga Falls (銀河・流星の滝). Except those, there are beautiful spots to see fall foliage, Ginsendai (銀泉台), Momijidani Valley (紅葉谷) and Daisetsu Kogen Onsen (大雪高原温泉), and there is Lake Taisestu (大雪湖), too. A skunk cabbage can be enjoyed in a spring, Mountain climbing, fresh green and Sounkyo Onsen Valley Fire Festival (峡谷火まつり夏花火) can be enjoyed in a summer, Fall foliage and hiking can be enjoyed in an autumn, and Skiing on the Mt. Kurodake, a snowshoe tour and Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival can be enjoyed in a winter.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園) in the center of Hokkaido is the largest national park in Japan, the size of 226,764 ha, and has been designed as the national park since 1934, and is the oldest national park in the Hokkaido along with Akan Mashu National Park (阿寒摩周国立公園). A mountain named Daisetsuzan does not exist, and the whole area including the mountains with over 2,000 m above sea level such as Mt. Asahidake (旭岳), the highest mountain in Hokkaido, Mt. Kurodake (黒岳), Mt. Aibestudake (愛別岳), Mt. Tomuraushi (トムラウシ山) is collectively called "Daisetsuzan", and those are called "A roof of the Hokkaido" ,too. Rare nature such as active volcanoes, Lare Columnar joints, a sea of trees and permafrost even in the Hokkaido can be seen. About 250 types of alpine plants grow naturally, and various forms of life such as brown bear, blakiston's fish owl, dolly varden and pine grosbeak inhabit here. By the way, A right notation is "Daisetsuzan", but local people often call "Taisetsuzan". Read More
List of Sounkyo Tourist Attractions
There are the Sounkyo Onsen Resort, the Mt. Kurodake, the Momijidani Valley, the Ryusei Falls, the Ginga Falls, the Obako, the Kobako, the Lake Taisetsu, the Ginsendai and the Taisestu Kokgen Onsen. My visited places are as follows.
Sounkyo Onsen Resort
Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉) is a hot-spring resort in Kamikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city, and is one of the 5 major hot spring resorts in Hokkaido together with Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉), Yunokawa Onsen (湯の川温泉), Toyako Onsen (洞爺湖温泉) and Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉), and is a base for sightseeing of the Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園) that about 2 million tourists come every year. There is a trailhead to Mt. Kurodake (黒岳), and a lot of mountain climbers as well as bathers for medical purposes come. The hot-spring resort is based on a concept of harmony with the natural environment, and almost building design is unified in western-style townscape named "Canyon Mall (キャニオンモール)". There are 15 accommodations, a hot spring facility, a footbath, restaurants, souvenir shops, convenience stores and Kurodake Ropeway (黒岳ロープウェー), and tourists can climb to highland at 1520 m above sea level by the ropeway. By the way, 7-Eleven in Sounkyo is well-known for being owned by Ms. Sara Takanashi (高梨沙羅 * famous Ski jumper)'s parents. Read More
Sounkyo Onsen Guide Map in Japanese
Mt. Kurodake and Fall Foliage
The Sounkyo spreads over at the foot of Mt. kurodake, and is well-known as one of best places to see the fall foliage in Hokkaido. The autumn leaves are full in bloom in mid September, and whole Sounkyo are covered with the fall foliage. Especially, the fall foliage from a mountainside of the Mt. kurodake and a ropeway is amazing. The ropeway and a ski lift are built from the Sounkyo Onsen to the mountainside of the Mt. Kurodake, and it is happy that visitors can reach to 5 station without hiking. Admission free, but if you want to take the ropeway, you must pay a fare. One‐way ticket Adult: JPY 1100, Child: JPY 550. Round‐trip ticket Adult: JPY 1950, Child: JPY 1000. A parking lot is free of charge. In case of the hiking, it takes about 2-3 hours from Sounkyo Onsen Resort (層雲峡温泉街) to Kurodake Station (黒岳駅) on foot. It takes about 5-6 hours from the rsort to the hilltop.
It takes about 7 minutes from Yamafumoto Station (山麓駅) at about 670 m above sea level to the Kurodake Station (5 station) at about 1,300 m above sea level by the ropeway. The ski lift is built from 5 station to 7 station at about 1,520 m above sea level, so visitors can be easy to go up the Mt. kurodake. By the way, it takes about one and a half hours from 7 station to the mountaintop at 1,984 m above sea level. The Mt. Kurodake turns into a ski resort in the winter.
The Kurodake Station has an observatory deck, a shop, a restaurant and a restroom, and a view from the observatory deck on the rooftop of the station is very good. Although the visitors can look at the neighborhood of the Mt. Kurodake from the ground near the Yamafumoto Station, the observatory deck is most suitable if you want to see a superb view. Generally movie of TV is filmed from here, too.
Atmosphere of Sounkyo with Fall Foliage Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Admission free|
|Parking lot||Parking is provided (150 Cars)|
|Business hours||06:30-18:30 * It changes depending on seasons|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||623 204 571*47|
Obako (大函) is a scenic spot with a beautiful conbination of a river and sheer cliffs in Sounkyo (層雲峡), Kamikawa town. Beautiful columnar jointing was born by an explosive eruption of Ohachidaira (御鉢平) around 30,000 years ago. Ishikari River (石狩川) has eroded the rocks over a long period of time, and the Oobako turns into the current shape. A famous scenic spot called Kobako (小函) is near here, too. But it is currently prohibited to enter the Kobako in danger of collapse. A observation deck, a public restroom and a parking lot are on the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. But the restroom is broken. The Obako is about 6 km away from Sounkyo Onsen Resort, and restaurants, cafes and convenience stores are built there. In addition, Ryusei Falls (流星の滝) and Ginga Falls (銀河の滝) are near here, too. Read More
Ryusei Falls and Ginga Falls
Ryusei Falls (流星の滝) and Ginga Falls (銀河の滝) are famous waterfalls that rivers drop from columnar jointing of sheer cliffs into Ishikari River in Sounkyo (層雲峡), Kamikawa, and it is said that those are the most beautiful falls in this area. A pair of the 2 falls is one of 100 Best Waterfalls in japan. A parking lot that the Ryusei Falls or the Ginga Falls can be seen is near Daisetsu National Route (National Route 39), and Sokodai Lookout (双瀑台), a souvenir shop, a public restroom and the parking lot are on the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. In addition, Obako (大函) is near here, too. Read More
Lake Taisetsu (大雪湖) is a man-made lake in Kamikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city. Taisetsu Dam (大雪ダム) was built near a junction of Daisetsu National Route (National Route 39) and Kamikawa National Route (National Route 273) in 1975, so the Lake Taisetsu was borned. Candy Trouts and Dolly Varden Trouts inhabit the intricately shaped lake, and a lot of anglers come. But beware of brown bears bacause the lake is in the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range called "a home of the brown bears". Places to see the lake are the Taisetsu Dam, Taisetsu Lakesite (大雪レイクサイト) and a parking lot park. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Read More
Ginsendai with Fall Foliage
Ginsendai (銀泉台) at about 1,520 m above sea level is a trailhead for Mt. Akadake (赤岳) near Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉) in the southern part of Kamikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city, and is one of famous great places to see fall foliage in Hokkaido. Wild flowers are in full bloom in July, and the fall foliage is the best season to see in mid September. Visitors increase at those seasons. Traffic regulations enforce during high seasons of the fall foliage, and the visitors must use shuttle buses from Taisetsu Lakesite (大雪レイクサイト) to the Ginsendai. The bus fare of each way is JPY 500. It takes about 30 minutes. In addition, my-car control assistance fund is JPY 200. I think that it is a kind of a paking lot fee in the Taisetsu Lakesite. A forest patrol office, a parking lot, a public restroom and a watering place are in the trailhead of the Ginsendai. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Hokkaido Road 1162 to the Ginsendai is closed to traffic from mid October to late June. Read More
Daisetsu Kogen Onsen Hiking Tour to See Fall Foliage
Daisetsu-Kogen Swamp Group (大雪高原沼群) is in the southern part of Kamikawa town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city, and is well-known as one of great places to see fall foliage in Japan, and about 30 large and small swamps are dotted with a highland at 1,200 - 1,500 above sea level. Around the trailhaed for Daisetsu-Kogen Swamp Group is called "Taisestu Kogen Onsen", and Taisetsu-Kogen-so (大雪高原山荘), Brown Bear Information Center (ヒグマ情報センター), Forest Patrol Kogen Office (森林パトロール高原事務所), a public restroom and a parking lot are built there. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. The fall foliage is the best season to see in mid September. Visitors increase at those seasons. Traffic regulations enforce during high seasons of the fall foliage, and the visitors must use shuttle buses from Taisetsu Lakesite (大雪レイクサイト) to the Ginsendai. The bus fare of each way is JPY 500. It takes about 30 minutes. In addition, my-car control assistance fund is JPY 200. I think that it is a kind of a paking lot fee in the Taisetsu Lakesite. Town Road Taisetu Kogen Onsen Line to the Taisetu Kogen Onsen is closed to traffic from mid October to mid June. Read More
Taisetsu Kogen Onsen
Taisetsu Kogen Onsen (大雪高原温泉) is a hot spring place in Kamikawa town in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city. Taisetsu-Kogen-so (大雪高原山荘) is built at 1260 m above sea level in a mountain of Omote Daisetsu Area, Daisetuzan National Park. The distance is around 25 km far away from Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉). There are Brown Bear Information Center (ヒグマ情報センター) and Forest Patrol Kogen Base (森林パトロール高原事務所) around here, and Daisetsu Kogen Onsen Hiking Tour (大雪高原温泉沼めぐりコース) that is famous for beautiful fall foliage is built, too. Ginsendai (銀泉台) that is famous for beautiful fall foliage and Lake Taisetsu (大雪湖) are relatively near here, too. Read More
List of Events in Sounkyo
The Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival is held from late January to late March, and the Sounkyo Onsen Valley Fire Festival is held from late july to mid August. My visited event is as follow.
Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival
Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival (層雲峡氷瀑まつり) is a snow event held in Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa Town located in the eastern part of Asahikawa city, and has been held since 1976. It is held from late January to late March every year, and is well-known as a specialty winter event. Ice sculptures, a resting place, a food stall, a public restroom, North Ice Pub (北の氷酒場) and Hyoto Shrine (氷瀑神社) are in a venue. The venue is from 10 to 20 degrees below zero, and it is very cold, so you had better wear a warm outfit. Admission free. But a assistance fund is JPY 300. A parking lot are free of charge, and visitors can park their cars at the Sounkyo Onsen Public Parking Lot. Read More
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Sounkyo. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Daisetsuzan National Park is here
Daisetsuzan National Park
A page of Hokkaido Fall Foliage is here
Hokkaido Fall Foliage
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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