phone: +61-166-24-2552address: 8 Chome-3-1 Miyashitadōri, Asahikawa-shi, HokkaidōThis center is a good place for information on transit and lodging. You can also buy local merchandise.
Higashikawa Information Centerphone: +81 166 68-4777address: Higashimachi 1-1-15, Higashikawa, KamikawaThis rest area and information center ("michinoeki") has maps and information on the area. It also has extensive free indoor and outdoor seating, a gift shop, and a small deli selling fried food and ice cream. In the evening, the parking lot is quiet, and there is little road traffic.
Asahikawa AirportServes flights to Tokyo Haneda, Osaka and Nagoya. There are also seasonal flights to Seoul and Taipei. The airport is a 30-minute bus ride from downtown Asahikawa.
By trainAsahikawa is the terminus of the JR Hakodate Main Line to Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate. The spacious, newly renovated station hosts a tourist information centre and lounge with free wifi; helpful English speakers are usually available.
Limited express services run between Sapporo and Asahikawa frequently: every 30 minutes during morning and evening hours, and every hour at other times. The journey takes 85 minutes and costs ¥5,080 return. Infrequent local trains can take anywhere from two to three hours at a cost of ¥2490, in which case - unless you have a Seishun 18 Ticket - a bus may be the better option.
Many of JR's Hokkaido lines branch out from Asahikawa: the Soya Line connects to Wakkanai, while the Sekihoku Line connects to Abashiri and the Furano Line goes to skiing hotspot Furano.
By busChuo Bus Service and JR buses offers frequent (every 20 minutes or so) bus service from the Sapporo JR Station for ¥2000 (¥3750 round trip). It takes just over 2 hours. In the winter, the trip takes 2 hours 25 minutes.
There are some bus services to Daisetsuzan National Park.
By busThe city has an extensive bus network. All attractions are easily reached by bus from the main train station.
Sightseeing Bus Fan FanThis bus service covers three circuits in a hop-on hop-off style and takes you to the main attractions, including the zoo. The buses have an hourly frequency.
On footMost of the sites are easily accessible by foot from the main train station, though others like the zoo, Otokoyama brewery, and the ski resorts need a bus or taxi.
By bicycleMost of the town is in flat land and cycling is easy in summer. Cycling is allowed in the pedestrian lane of all streets, and some streets have special bicycle lanes. There are also dedicated lanes along the embankments of most of the rivers (and there are many). Some hotels offer free bicycle rental. The Tourist Information Center (in the train station) lends bicycles. Note that the region is covered in thick snow in winter.
Asahikawa Furniture Center
Romantic Road (Tree tunnel and Churches)address: Kaguraoka Park~ Midorigaoka, AsahikawaThe road that leads from Kaguraoka forest to the residential area of Midorigaoka is known as the “romantic road”, because of the trees that line both sides of the street, and the two wedding chapels close by. In the summer time, the trees on either side of the road create a tunnel of green over the entire road.
address: 2-7 NagayamaAn award-winning and the most famous sake brewery in Asahikawa. It has 340 years of history and has been portrayed in Japanese block prints (ukiyo-e) of the Edo period. Sake tasting and purchase of special editions. There is a museum in the upper levels portraying historical scrolls, ukiyo-e, and sake-brewing tools.
address: Tokiwa ParkSecond to Sapporo's snow festival in popularity, this festival attracts ice sculpture artists worldwide and hosts the largest snow sculpture in Japan. The festival is held at the start of February.
Asahibashi BridgeThis is one of the three most famous bridges in Hokkaido and the only one still unchanged since it was built.
address: Higashi Asahikawacho KuranumaThe most famous zoo in Japan and the second most visited. This is a small zoo with a few enclosures. The star attractions include the polar bear enclosure that allows to see the bears underwater, the seal enclosure that where you can get seals all around you, and the penguin enclosure including a glass tunnel through the pool.
Arashiyama Pottery VillageLocated on a hill overlooking Asahikawa to the north, this neighbourhood has several crafts workshops including pottery, glass craft, wood work, and textile. Some of these offer courses and many of them have a display area where visitors can see and buy their products.
Kamui Ski LinksThe local favorite.
- You can also do cross-country skiing in some of its parks, including the Tomizawa skiing course at Kamui no Mori Park.
- Biei and Furano are each about one hour away.
- Back-country options include Asahidake and Kurodake.
If you come in summer you will enjoy fine weather with maximum temperatures sometimes exceeding 30 Celsius degrees. Take advantage of the fine cycling paths following the river banks.
Cycling path to KamuikotanThis unpaved cycle trail follows an old rail line and tunnels downstream along the right hand side of the Ishikarigawa river as it cuts through the hills. Near the end of the path is the historical (tiny) train station Kamuikotan. About 20 km one way.
Cycling path to HigashikaguraThis is a paved cycle trail upstream along the right hand side of the Chuubetsu river. The path has no major slopes except the last few hundred metres and it is set between the river bank and endless rice fields, heading towards the imposing Taisetsu-san mountain. The path ends in a wooden hill with a pond and a camping site. About 15 km one way.
address: 7-2-5 Miyashitadori, Asahikawa 070-0030, HokkaidoA large mall next to the train station. Very convenient for all kinds of shopping.
NittaThis shop features traditional Japanese toys and decorations. The upper floor showcases a collection of fine dolls in porcelain and silk.
JuncoboThis white buillding showcases crafted glass made in the premises. Their sake glasses made to resemble icicles are very popular.
Taisetsugama PotteryThis shop displays an extensive collection of fine pottery. If you cannot make it to the shop, there are some items for sale at Seibu, in the city centre.
Ramen VillageEight of Asahikawa's greatest ramen shops in one combined outlet.
SantōkaThe original shop of a popular ramen shop that has opened several branches in Tokyo and overseas.
address: 11-1604-1 MiyashitadoriSet in an old brick warehouse near the railway station, this beer pub offers its own brewed beer in a western setting. Worth a visit only for beer lovers.
If you plan to climb Mount Asahidake in the morning, there is a convenient camp for tents at the foot of the mountain, reachable by bus.
Asahikawa Mongol camping groundaddress: 東旭川町桜岡35-3Living like a Mongol is your dream? Head for the Asahikawa Mongol camping ground! Besides sleeping you can also do some paragliding and yurt construction.
phone: +81 166-25-3200address: 16 Chome MiyashitadoriThis is basically a public bath, but staying overnight is an option. Besides the baths, there are tatami rooms, mangas, TV sets. Put your bag and clothes in a locker, inside you will hang around in Japanese pajamas. Males and females not mixed.
- Furano is a village set in a picturesque landscape that is often used in Japanese dramas and advertisements about quite, rural life in Japan. A popular way to travel between Asahikawa and Furano in summer is the Norokko-go, an old style locomotive that runs purposely at a very slow speed.
- Sounkyo Gorge and Asahidake at the Daisetsuzan National Park, with very popular onsens (hot-spring resorts) and fine mountain hiking.
- Wakkanai the northernmost point in Japan.