• Nature
  • FamousSpots
  • NorthernArea

[Sounkyo in Daisetsuzan Mountain Range] Tourist Attractions, Onsen and Fall Foliage Can Be Enjoyed in God's Beautiful Garden

October 1st, 2014

Sounkyo

Sounkyo (層雲峡) is a large valley in Kamikawa town located in the southeastern part 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.

Kurodake Ropeway
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Kurodake Ropeway
Sounkyo Visitor Center
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Sounkyo Visitor Center
Daisetsuzan Mountain Range in Autumn
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Sounkyo Visitor Center
Daisetsuzan Mountain Range in Winter
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Sounkyo Visitor Center

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.

Sounkyo Onsen Valley Fire Festival
Sounkyo in Kamikawa town

Movie of Sounkyo

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". Article is here

Mt. Asahidake
Daisetsuzan National Park

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. Article is here
Sounkyo Onsen Guide Map in Japanese

Kurodake Ropeway
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Kurodake Ropeway
Sounkyo Visitor Center
kamikawa Sounkyo Onsen, Sounkyo Visitor Center

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.

View from Ropeway
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
View from Ropeway
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
View from Ropeway
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
Mt. Kurodake
Kamikawa, Sounkyo

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.

Movie of Mt. Kurodake Hiking

Movie of Mt. Kurodake Skiing

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.

Sounkyo with Fall Foliage
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
Steam Is Rising from Fumarole
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
View from Ropeway
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
Combination of Columnar Jointing and Autumn Leaves
Kamikawa, Sounkyo
Fall Foliage near Yamafumoto Station
Kamikawa, Sounkyo

Atmosphere of Sounkyo with Fall Foliage Can Be Watched on Youtube

Moive of Sounkyo with Fall Foliage

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
Telephone number +81-1658-5-3031
Home page Home page is here
Mapcode 623 204 571*47

Obako

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. Article is here

Obako
Sunkyo, Obako

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. Article is here

Ryusei Falls and Ginga Falls
Sounkyo, Ryusei Falls and Ginga Falls

Lake Taisetsu

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. Article is here

I Look at Daisetsu Mountain Range
Lake Taisetsu in Kamikawa

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. Article is here

広告

Road Can be Seen
Ginsendai with Fall Foliage in Kamikawa

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. Article is here

View at Yezo-Numa Pond
Daisetsu Kogen Onsen Hiking Tour with Fall Foliage in Kamikawa

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. Article is here

Open-air Bath
Taisetsu Kogen Onsen in Kamikawa Taisetsu-Kogen-so

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 Onsen Valley Fire Festival
Sounkyo in Kamikawa town

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. Article is here

Ice Castle
Kamikawa Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival

List of Activities in Sounkyo

Some activity comapnies serve a guided hiking tour, a ski tour and a snowshoe tour. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Guided Hiking Tour

Rinyu Tour(りんゆうツアー)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi
Daisetsuzan Club(大雪山倶楽部)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi
Natures(ネイチャーズ)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi
Mountain Flow(マウンテンフロー)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi

Snowshoe Tour

Rinyu Tour(りんゆうツアー)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi

Ski Tour

Rinyu Tour(りんゆうツアー)
ASOVIEW
Jalan
Sotoasobi

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Sounkyo. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Sounkaku Grand Hotel(層雲閣グランドホテル)
Hotel Taisetsu(ホテル大雪)
Sounkyo Kanko Hotel(層雲峡観光ホテル)
Choyotei(朝陽亭)
Choyo Resort(朝陽リゾートホテル)
Hotel Northern Lodge(ホテルノーザンロッジ)
Booking
Yumoto Ginsenkaku(湯元銀泉閣)
Minshuku Todate(民宿とだて)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Sounkyo Youth Hostel(層雲峡ユースホステル)
Booking
Rakuten
Hotel Kumoi(ホテル雲井)
Mount View Hotel(マウントビューホテル)
Resort Pension Yama-no-Ue(リゾートペンション 山の上)
Pension Ginga(ペンション銀河)
Booking
Booking.com

A page of Daisetsuzan National Park is here

Daisetsuzan National Park

Comment

Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.