Daisetsuzan (大雪山) is Hokkaido's largest national park. It preserves a mountainous area of virtually unspoiled wilderness, which is larger than some of Japan's smaller prefectures. It is a paradise for hikers, outdoor lovers, deer and brown bears, and the first place in Japan to see fall colors and snow each autumn.
Recently Asahiyama Zoo has displaced Ramen and skiing as Asahikawa's primary drawcard, in the process, becoming Japan's number one zoo. The total number of people expected to have visited the zoo by the end of 2007 is in excess of 3 million, an impressive figure when you consider that the population of Asahikawa is a mere 360,000. And, all this form a zoo that just over a decade ago was struggling to stay open.
Asahiyama zoo features more than 800 animals from approximately 150 species, a healthy number when you consider the difficulties associated with maintaining animals during a hot summer and an extremely cold winter.
As can be expected, however, people do have their favourites, and the polar bears, penguins, seals, big cats, and orangutans come in for special attention. The enclosures for these animals are designed with both the animal and visitor in mind so you can expect to get closer than you might imagine. The penguin enclosure, for example, affords a 360-degree view. There is a vertical tank for the spotted seal which prefers to dive and surface vertically. The polar bear enclosure has a variety of built-in viewing areas to allow you special access.
Hokkaidoritsu Asahikawa Bijutsukan is located in Tokiwa Koen, a park in Asahikawa city in northern Hokkaido. A major feature of this museum is its extensive collection of artworks crafted from wood, reflecting its location in Asahikawa, a city whose encompassing forests have given rise to a flourishing woodworking industry based on furniture manufacturing. Many works by artists connected to this region are also housed in the museum.
As far as day trip ideas from Asahikawa go, Tomita Farm is a great choice. A 10ha lavender paradise, Tomita Farm provides ample opportunity for relaxed walks surrounded by seemingly endless patchwork of color, so beautifully arranged and expertly manicured, that the hills seem almost artificial.
Beautiful birch-lined pathways provide comfortable shaded access to the many lavender gift shops, workshops, and rest stops scattered throughout the gardens. The workshops allow visitors to see first-hand how the harvested lavender is treated, worked, and turned into the countless lavender infused products available as elegant gifts and items for everyday use.
Lovers of sweets will be impressed by the lavender flavored soft-serve ice cream, pudding, and jelly found at the cafe, along with plenty of other light lunch options.
It's like being in a dream! Extraordinary experience!
The castle-like appearance of medieval Europe incorporates the elegant Byzantine architectural style everywhere, and the interior is all original design in the image of snow.
The Snow Museum was created with the image of Japan's most beautiful the snowflake that falls in the Daisetsuzan system from the building to the exhibition. The Snow Museum was built in May 1991 using the European Byzantine style. The appearance that uses curves such as dome and arch gives an elegant impression.
The Snow Museum is located on the hills of Asahikawa City, and the view that overlooks Mt. Daisetsu and the city and the appearance in harmony with the scenery of the four seasons
Ueno Farm is a popular farm garden in Nagayama located in the northeastern part of Asahikawa city and has been a farmer since 1906. Ms Sayuki Ueno, a gardener, made a Hokkaido-style garden suited for the climate and natural features of Hokkaido as the foundation for an English-style garden at their site and the garden has been opened to the public since 2001. More than 2,000 types of flowering plants are planted at about 1.3 ha of the site, and visitors can enjoy various flowers from spring to autumn. An open period is from late April to mid-October. Admission fee is JPY 800. A parking lot is free of charge. NAYA cafe is built at the site and opens a business through the year.
Otokoyama sake brewery museum introduces sake brewing culture as Japanese traditional industry and history of Otokoyama from 350 years.
You can see valuable materials, document and sake set in the Edo period, and can also see a part of sake brewing when brewing.
Free entrance fee, we sell items of the brewery limited in tasting & shop.
About 200,000 people visit here every year with Furano, Biei and Asahiyama Zoo as a sightseeing spot in Hokkaido.
Sevenstar Tree (セブンスターの木) is oak on Patchwork Hill (パッチワークの丘) in Biei town located in the southeastern part of Asahikawa city and was named after Sevenstar (famous Japanese cigarette). The tree was printed on a package of the cigarette in 1976 and has become a famous tourist attraction.
A solitary oak grows around the hilltop of the Biri at about 260 m above sea level. Its height is around 13 m. In the summer, the vital power can be felt when branches are thickly covered with leaves. But it looks only just the tree with a lot of branches closely, so it is worth seeing at a little distance.
Asahikawa City Museum displays the Ainu culture and abundant materials related to it in Hokkaido. With a large number of person models, It can reproduce in full of presence the state of traditional life of Ainu people. A realistic model exhibit emerging in a dark place is a dynamic and powerful full mark. Valuable materials of northern ethnic groups other than Ainu people are also exhibited. And, "Time Maze Yukinbo" which displays the appearance of the people's lives and children's play in the Showa 30s and 40' s after the war in Japan, mainly in Asahikawa, is also popular.
Moerenuma Park (モエレ沼公園, Moerenuma Kōen) is a large park in the outskirts of Sapporo. Surrounded by a marsh, the park has a circumference of about four kilometers. The grounds are covered in attractive green space and there are massive, dramatic features that make the park a very unique public space.
The Historic Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村, Kaitaku no Mura) is an open air museum in the suburbs of Sapporo. It exhibits about 60 typical buildings from all over Hokkaido, dating from the Meiji and Taisho Periods (1868 to 1926), the era when Hokkaido's development was carried out on a large scale. There are four different sections: a town, fishing village, farm village and a mountain village.
Hokkaido is the birthplace of beer in Japan. Sapporo Beer, one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in the country, has been brewed in Sapporo since 1877.
The Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館, Sapporo Beer Hakubutsukan) was opened in 1987 in a former brewery from the Meiji Period. The museum introduces the history of beer in Japan and the process of beer making. After the exhibitions, beer tastings are available at a small fee. Alternatively, paid tours are held in Japanese that include a tasting session at the end.
The Hokkaido Shiki Theatre is used exclusively by Japan’s famous Shiki Theatre Company. It is famous for long-running musical the Lion King, which has exceeded over 10,000 performances, making it the most performed play in the history of Japan, as well as many other musicals that attract people of all ages including adults and children
The Ainu Museum is an outdoor museum that allows visitors to encounter the culture of Hokkaido’s indigenous people, the Ainu. At the museum, thatched-roof homes, called “chise,” form a settlement that seems to blend in with nature along the shore of Lake Poroto.
The Clock Tower (時計台, Tokeidai) is a symbol of Sapporo. The building was constructed during the early period of Sapporo's development in 1878 as a drill hall of the Sapporo Agricultural College. In 1881 a clock purchased from Boston was installed.
Today, the Clock Tower serves as a museum with displays about the building's history and Sapporo on the first floor. On the second floor are displays about the clock and a spacious ceremony hall that calls to mind the simple buildings of the colonial American Midwest.
Nijo Market (二条市場, Nijō Ichiba) is a public market in central Sapporo that occupies about one city block. Both locals and tourists visit the market to shop for fresh local produce and seafood such as crabs, salmon eggs, sea urchin and various fresh and prepared fish.
This botanical garden (北海道大学植物園, Hokkaidō Daigaku Shokubutsuen) close to Sapporo's city center belongs to Hokkaido University and primarily serves a scientific and educational purpose. The garden with its walking trails and lawns, however, is also a pleasant place to take a break or to have a (non-alcoholic) picnic.
Established in 1886, the Botanic Garden preserves a small part of the forest which formerly covered the Ishikari Plain. In addition, there is an alpine garden, a greenhouse and a small Ainu museum. During the winter, only the greenhouse is open to the public.
Curb Market (札幌場外市場, Sapporo Jōgai Ichiba) consists of nearly 80 stores and restaurants lined up along several blocks just outside of Sapporo's Central Wholesale Market. One of the city's largest public markets, the Curb Market specializes in Hokkaido seafood such as crab, sea urchin, salmon roe, squid and scallops, and local produce such as corn, melons and potatoes when in season.
Shiroi Koibito Park is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. The company's flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin butter cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between. It is one of the most famous souvenirs from Hokkaido.
The park consists of a free area with a shop, cafe and restaurant and a paid area with various chocolate related exhibits and, most interestingly, a few large windows through which visitors can observe the cookie production process in the factory. It is also possible to create your own cookies in hands-on workshops. Another part of the Shiroi Koibito Park is a soccer field that serves as the practice ground for Consadole Sapporo, the local J-League soccer team.
Mount Moiwa (藻岩山, Moiwa-yama) is one of several small, forested mountains southwest of central Sapporo. The mountain is a popular sightseeing spot that is known for the spectacular view out over the city from an observation deck at its summit. The view is especially beautiful after sunset.
Fukushimagata Wetlands is a vast nature reserve stretching over 193 hectares. It is home to a number of endangered species of animals and plants and is listed on Japan’s 100 greatest natural environments. The park is a paradise for bird and plant lovers.
In spring, the carpet of rapeseed flowers is impressive. Indulge yourself in the vivid yellow colour and scent of the flowers while listening to birds singing. In summer, giant pink lotus flowers are in bloom. The rarely seen Euryale ferox, a massive lotus with two-metre leaves and thorns, can be found here. In winter, the snowy scene of the wetlands with migratory swans is a favourite.
Along with flocks of swans, the greatest concentration of Eastern Taiga Bean geese, a recognised national natural treasure, resides here. Fukushimagata Wetlands is also designated as a wildlife sanctuary for the Japanese white crucian carp.
Niigata boasts sake, rice, and fish that can compete with the best in the nation as well as specialty products and traditional crafts. You can find all of these for sale at Niigata Furusato Village. What’s more, there are a whopping 10,000 products available!
The Sado Gold Mine was the largest gold and silver mine in Japan. It has a 400-year heritage spanning economic ups and downs from its opening in 1601 to its closure in 1989. The industrial remains of the gold mine including tunnels and mining infrastructure are designated both as a national treasure and as part of Japan’s Heritage of Industrial Modernisation. The site is a nominated candidate to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The remains of the gold mine are a popular location for history enthusiasts. The abandoned buildings remind visitors of Hayao Miyazaki's movie “Castle in the Sky”. Visitors can spend all day here to exploring the site’s photogenic scenery.
The gold mine offers two routes that visitors can explore (no reservation is required, each route takes 30 to 40 minutes). These routes are open every day. Large groups or anyone particularly interested in the history of the mine can make a reservation for one of two guided tours. The guided tours are available from April to November and take about 100 minutes. One is available for groups of over 10 people, the other is only for visitors over 13 years.
Saifukuji has 500 years of history. Many visit the temple because of Ishikawa Uncho's artwork -- sculpture, paintings, and lacquer craftworks. All of his works are wonderful, especially the colourful sculpture on the ceiling. Please come and see them with your own eyes!
There are many rice terraces in Tokamachi. If you only have time to see one, we recommend the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces. If you visit early in the morning, you may be able to see the sea of clouds drifting into the valley. In summer the whole landscape turns shades of bright green, and in winter, the rice terrace is covered with snow. You can enjoy various beautiful landscapes depending on the season and time.
Renovated in June 2018, its nickname is "Umigatari." The aquarium has more Magellanic penguins than any other in Japan, and you can see them up close! You can also watch the dolphins' exciting jumps against the backdrop of the great Sea of Japan. It's full of attractions to see.
500 thousand sunflowers bloom broadly in this 4-hectare field. The children's sunflower maze inside the field is one popular attraction. Guests can get a panoramic view of the sunflower field from the observation platform, where they can surely take photos that they will like. Outdoor stalls line the plaza area, energizing the entire venue.
One of the Three Great Gorges of Japan. Gigantic stone cliffs straddle a river, forming a large, V-shaped gorge. The grand rock surface and strong current of the river in combination are both dynamic and beautiful. The facilities were renovated in the spring of 2018. A two-story building with a cafe on the first floor and foot bath on the second floor is now in operation right next to the tunnel entrance.
An impressive 55m waterfall framed by a steep basalt wall on each side, where thundering water crashes onto the large boulders below. The most popular season is spring when the snowmelt from the mountain flows down and causes the volume of water to increase dramatically, but we would also invite you to take a look in the fall season when the leaves have changed colours. There is a pedestrian deck overlooking waterfall, and it is about 15 minutes on foot from the nearest parking area. Come and feel the power at the basin of the waterfalls from the observation area.
The Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Kōen) offers visitors the unique experience of seeing wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. The park is inhabited by Japanese Macaques, which are also known as Snow Monkeys. Visitors will likely already encounter monkeys along the path to the pool. The monkeys live in large social groups, and it can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed from very close and almost completely ignore their human guests.
Sensoji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is one of Tokyo's most colorful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple.
When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo.
Various events are held throughout the year in the Sensoji Temple area. The biggest of them is the Sanja Matsuri, the annual festival of the Asakusa Shrine, held in May. Other events are the Asakusa Samba Carnival in August and the Hagoita-ichi (Hagoita Market) at which decorated wooden paddles used in the traditional game of hanetsuki are sold.
The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634 meters (634 can be read as "Musashi", a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex with aquarium is located at its base.
The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is its two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. The two enclosed decks are located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively, making them the highest observation decks in Japan and some of the highest in the world.
The Chiba Zoological Park, first opened in April 1985, is located about halfway between Tokyo and Narita, just outside of the city of Chiba.
The zoo is divided into seven sections: the Zoological Hall, the Small Animal Zone, the Steppe Zone, the Monkey Zone, the Avian and Aquatic Zone, the Ancestors of Domestic Animals Zone, and the Children’s Zoo. The Small Animal Zone houses Futa, the red panda who in 2005 became a television celebrity because of his ability to stand on his hind legs. His son, Kuta, now has the same ability, so you have twice the chance to see the spectacle when you stop by! The park map has pictures of the animals (at their locations), so there is no need to worry if you cannot get ahold of an English map.
If you can, it is extra special to visit the zoo between mid-March and mid-April, when the many cherry blossom trees onsite are in full bloom!
Akihabara (秋葉原), also called Akiba after a former local shrine, is a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its many electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan's otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. On Sundays, Chuo Dori, the main street through the district, is closed to car traffic from 13:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from October through March).
Akihabara has been undergoing major redevelopment over the years, including the renovation and expansion of Akihabara Station and the construction of new buildings in its proximity. Among these newly opened buildings were a huge Yodobashi electronics store and the Akihabara Crossfield, a business complex with the aim of promoting Akihabara as a center for global electronics technology and trade.
Koishikawa Korakuen (小石川後楽園, Koishikawa Kōrakuen) is one of Tokyo's oldest and best Japanese gardens. It was built in the early Edo Period (1600-1867) at the Tokyo residence of the Mito branch of the ruling Tokugawa family. Like its namesake in Okayama, the garden was named Korakuen after a poem encouraging a ruler to enjoy pleasure only after achieving happiness for his people. Koishikawa is the district in which the garden is located in.
Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社, Yasukuni Jinja) is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo that commemorates Japan's war dead. The shrine was founded in 1869 with the purpose of enshrining those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the foundation for a peaceful Japan.
The current Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.
Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards.
From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.
The Tokyo State Guest House (迎賓館, Geihinkan) is one of two state guest houses of the Japanese government alongside another one in Kyoto. Contained within the Akasaka Imperial Estate in central Tokyo, the Tokyo State Guest House serves to accommodate world leaders, diplomats and other guests of honor during their visits to Japan. When not in use, sections of the grand estate are open to the public, with visitors able to explore some of the opulent rooms, picturesque gardens and the Japanese-style annex.
Tsukiji Outer Market is a district adjacent to the site of the former Tsukiji Wholesale Market. It consists of a few blocks of wholesale and retail shops, as well as restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. Here you can find fresh and processed seafood and produce alongside food-related goods such as knives. A visit to Tsukiji Outer Market is best combined with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch at one of the local restaurants. The restaurants are typically open from 5:00 in the morning to around noon or early afternoon. Because most of the fish served and sold at Tsukiji Outer Market is delivered directly from Toyosu Market, this is one of the best places in Tokyo to enjoy fresh seafood.
Tsukishima (月島, lit. moon island) is a man made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market. It was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel.
In the last few decades, areas of the island were redeveloped into residential high-rise complexes; however, you can still find remnants of the atmosphere of old Tokyo if you poke around the back alleys and lanes, especially around Sumiyoshi Shrine.