Sounkyo Onsen (層雲峡温泉) is a famous hot spring town in the Daisetsuzan National Park in central Hokkaido. Better equipped for budget tourists than Asahidake, it’s also a great place to start a hike into the unspoiled mountains.
Budget travel tips
- Stay at a mountain hut or camp site to save on costs. Ask at the Visitor Center next to the ropeway for more info. They also have a handy free map.
- There are some convenience stores to buy cheap food.
Things to do
Climb Mount Kurodake (黒岳)
A stunning hike up to one of the tallest mountains in this national park. Not crowded at all and lots of amazing views as you climb up above the clouds. A 3 hour return trip from the top of the ropeway, or 7 hours from the bottom.
Hike to Asahidake
This classic hike can be done in a day if you get up early in the morning. You can also stay in a mountain hut or camp site for a reasonable fee (ask at the Visitor Center). The hike takes you through some cool volcanic areas and mountains, plus has a free hot spring (Nakadake Onsen/中岳温泉) if you take a little detour!
Make a customized hike
You can go into the Visitor Center and pick up a map, then make your own route. Ask the staff for any advice or recommendations, as there are some free camp sites and mountain huts (some of which allow you to rent a sleeping bag and other bed items).
Half way up the promenade is a free hot spring bath for your feet!
Choyotei hot spring (層雲峡 朝陽亭)
Right next to the youth hostel, this hot spring has an amazing view of the mountains and the best outside baths in town. Some baths alternate everyday between male and female, so check before! Pick up a discount coupon if staying at the youth hostel.
Cost: 1000 yen
Open: 1pm to 9pm
Kurodake No Yu hot spring (黒岳の湯)
Not the best hot spring in the world, but the cheapest place to get your fix. Located on the promenade.
Cost: 600 yen
Open: 10am to 9pm
How to get there
From Asahikawa station, take a bus to Sounkyo Onsen (2 hours, 2100 yen).
For Sounkyo Onsen: 09:15, 10:45, 12:15, 14:35, 15:45, 16:35, 18:40
For Asahikawa station: 06:20, 07:45, 08:40, 10:55, 13:30, 15:40, 17:30
Hostels and cheap hotels
Sounkyo Youth Hostel
By far the best prices in town, this official youth hostel has a nice lounge to relax in, free internet/wifi and friendly staff. Check prices at Booking.com.
More at Booking.com