The great Kappa King awaits you in Sapporo’s backyard.
Hot spring villages are often located far away from major cities, but this isn’t the case with Jozankei. Part of what attracts visitors to this lush area is its proximity to Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city.
As a result, Jozankei stands out from other smaller hot spring towns in Hokkaido like Noboribetsu and Yunokawa. There are nearly 60 hot spring sources in Jozankei, with vast indoor and outdoor baths, and its waters are rich in a variety of materials which are believed to heave healing properties.
Hokkaido is well-known for its snow and ice festivals in the winter, as well as its gorgeous scenery and cool weather in spring and summer. But, no matter the season, the sights and natural beauty of this hot spring town will take you away from the stress and worries of the world.
One winter highlight that’s sure to light up your night (literally) is the Jozankei Onsen Snow Light Path, where locals create snow laterns for a brisk walk usually in the end of January. Check local listings for the annual event.
Escape the notorious heat and humidity of large cities and spend a few summer days cycling through Jozankei. The area is dotted with picturesque views that come with a visit to Shiraito Fall or the Futami Suspension Bridge.
Next, visit Jozankei Dam and Hoheikyo Dam from late spring to fall for spectacular views of the vast, surrounding land. The harsh winters of Hokkaido are a great compliment to the warmth of a dip in a hot spring.
The harsh winters of Hokkaido are a great compliment to the warmth of a dip in a hot spring.
During the month of October, ride the Koyo Kappa Bus, a tour bus that offers a 60-minute scenic ride of the best spots to take in Jozankei’s fall foliage. Statues of kappa, the legendary Japanese water sprite, dot the area. There’s everything from a lovey-dovey kappa couple to a mother-and-child duo and even a bright green statue of the Great Kappa King.
Once you’ve completed your search (did you find all 21 statues?), head to Kokoro no Sato Jozan to rest and soak your feet in a private foot bath before heading back to Sapporo or staying the night.
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