Positioned in the centre of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is famed throughout Japan as being home to one of the country’s most innovative zoos. Traditional restaurants dish up unique Asahikawa ramen and the famous sake of Otokoyama, while the wild landscapes of Daisetsuzan are just a short drive away.
Things to do in Asahikawa
Jump aboard the cable car that travels up Mount Asahi to visit the uniquely designed Asahiyama Zoo. Enclosures have been created to offer visitors fascinating views of the resident animals, including a glass tunnel that leads through the penguin pool and floor domes that get you eye-to-eye with polar bears and wolves.
Sample Asahikawa ramen, a shoyu-based noodle soup that’s topped with pork, bamboo shoots and eggs. If you want to compare some of the city’s best, head to the Asahikawa Ramen Village where eight local restaurants have opened stores alongside one another, together with a small ramen shrine.
Want to try Asahikawa’s most famous sake? Visit the Otokoyama Sake Brewing Museum on the outskirts of the city where you can see the brewing process first hand. Artworks depicting Otokoyama sake by renowned ukiyoe painter Utamaro are also on display, together with vintage sake tools, bottles and historic scrolls.
Asahikawa makes an ideal base for exploring the pristine wilderness of Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido’s largest national park. Tackle the challenging peak of Mount Kurodake, witness the changing autumn colours from the Ginsendai trailhead and relax in the hot spring baths of Sounkyo Onsen.
Getting around Asahikawa
Asahikawa Airport is located around 35 minutes’ drive from Asahikawa’s city centre, which is a two-hour train ride from Sapporo. Buses travel throughout Asahikawa and connect with the surrounding sights.