Onsen in Hokkaido

11 Best Onsen In Hokkaido, Japan

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Onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by Nishimuraya Kinosaki Onsen is licensed under CC BY 2.0 from Flickr

11 Best Onsen In Hokkaido, Japan

Are you looking for the best onsen in Hokkaido?

Bathing at an onsen has been a major piece of Japanese culture since ancient times for the comfort it brings to mind and body

And onsen in Hokkaido is considered to be among the best in Japan as it houses several best natural hot springs (onsen) in Japan with a fantastic scenic view.

Most onsen in Hokkaido is located near volcanoes and surrounded by unspoiled and wild nature. 

So, aside from enjoying an onsen bath, you will also be able to enjoy exhilarating outdoor activities nearby the onsen.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? 

Hence,  WWB Writer, Najlaa will list the 11 best onsens in Hokkaido that you will not want to miss!

11 Best Onsen In Hokkaido:

  1. Noboribetsu Onsen
  2. Jozankei Onsen 
  3. Toyako Onsen
  4. Yunokawa Onsen
  5. Tokachigawa Onsen
  6. Sounkyo Onsen
  7. Kawayu Onsen
  8. Akanko Onsen
  9. Lake Shikotsu Onsen
  10. Utoro Onsen
  11. Asarigawa Onsen

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Related Travel In Japan Posts:

1. Noboribetsu Onsen

Onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by the author, January 2019

Located at the foot of volcanic Mount Hyori, the Noboribetsu Onsen is not only one of the best onsen in Hokkaido but also one of the best onsen in Japan.  

A mere hour away from Shin-Chitose Airport, this is one of the places that you cannot miss to experience the magic of natural hot springs.

The Hot Spring Properties:

The interesting part of the onsen is that it is rich in 9 different types of spring water qualities which includes sulfur, salt and iron. Milky-white sulfur spring water helps soften and refreshes your skin. Whereas salt-rich and iron-rich spring water promote several other health benefits for your body.

Where to Bathe?

Daiichi Takimotokan Hotel is one of the top picks in Noboribetsu. 

They offer 5 out of 9 types of hot springs water in their facilities with an amazing view of Jigokudani for staying and non-staying guests.

Noboribetsu Grand Hotel is best for someone who is looking for a traditional type of onsen. 

Their open-air bath offers a traditional concept of Japanese onsen with 3 types of hot springs water; salt, sulphurous and chalybeate. 

Other bathing facilities that worth trying:

If you don’t plan to spend a night, don’t worry! 

Most of these Hokkaido onsen welcome day-trippers.

Things to do:

Around the area, you can enjoy a breathtaking volcanic atmosphere which just a short walk away from the onsen, such as a heritage site called Jigokudani aka “Hell Valley, a volcanic crater which was formed from the eruption of Kuttara Volcanoes and the Oyunuma River, a natural footbath hot spring. 

If you are a big fan of Japanese samurai or ninja, take a visit to a theme park called Noboribetsu Date Jidai Village nearby the onsen.

The theme park conjures the Japanese Edo-period ambience, hence it is perfect for someone who wants to experience the historical moments.

How to Get There?

You can choose to either take a train or bus from Sapporo to Noboribetsu.

If you choose to take trains, Noboribetsu Station can be reached by a limited express Hokuto train within  75 minutes from Sapporo Station.

Cost: JPY4,480 (USD43)

Alternatively, you also can take a direct bus from Sapporo Station to Noboribetsu Station with Donan Bus (approximately 100 minutes). 

Or you may take highway buses from Sapporo Station bound for Muroran, which stop near the Noboribetsu Station along the way (approximately 120 minutes).

Cost:

Direct bus – JPY2,200 (USD21)

Highway bus – JPY2,070 (USD20)

From Noboribetsu Station, take a  local bus for an additional 15 minutes to Noboribetsu Onsen. Cost: JPY350 (USD3)

Extra tip, if you plan on using the bus in Hokkaido often, you can save a few yen with the Hokkaido bus pass.

2. Jozankei Onsen

best Hokkaido Onsen
Photo by MIKI Yoshihitois licensed under CC BY 2.0 on Flickr

Set in the northernmost of Shikotsu-Toya National Park just an hour away from Sapporo city centre, the Jozankei Onsen is one of the best Hokkaido Onsen that you must visit. 

Spread out along the banks of the Toyohira River, this onsen serves you some of the most scenic landscapes, while you loosen up in the hot springs bath especially during the winter and autumn time.

The Hot Springs Properties:

Over 50 spring sources flow from Toyohira River to the onsen’s facilities and provide spring waters that contain abundant minerals including sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and sulphur. 

These spring waters are known for their benefits for a skin condition, muscle cramp, fatigue as well as maintaining your digestive health.

With such amazing hot spring qualities, this onsen has gained its reputation and become one of the leading Hokkaido Onsen since it was discovered in 1866 by a Buddhist monk named Mizumi Jozan.

Where to Bath?

There are many onsen facilities that you can find in Jozankei Onsen that offer you an amazing hot spring bath experience.

 Here are some of the recommended place that you surely enjoy:-

  • Nukumorino-Yado Furukawa is a Japanese-style private house that will provide you with a traditional Japanese bath ambience.
  • Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei is another onsen with a Japanese-style concept that is worth trying. This onsen also offers onsen bath rental to their guests for private use.
  • Hoheikyo Onsen is a great place for day-trip visitors. This onsen is famous for its beautiful artistic landscape.

Things to do:

With such a scenic view, aside from bathing in the onsen, you can take your time to wander along the Toyohira River and cross the Futami Suspension Bridge to the Kappa-Fuchi Abyss known for its legendary story of Kappa creatures.

Don’t forget to try kayaking under the Futami Suspension Bridge too. You definitely will enjoy the charming scene surrounding the area.

There are other sightseeing spots that provide picturesque sceneries:

Some of them are Hoheikyo Dam where you can witness the beautiful natural landscape of the blue lake and green mountains and Shiraito no Taki, a waterfall that shows different expressions as seasons change.

How to Get There?

Since Jozankei Onsen is just an hour away from Sapporo, you can either drive there or catch a bus. 

If you plan to take a bus, you can take a local Jotetsu Bus number 7 or 8 bound for Jozankei Onsen. 

These buses depart two to three times an hour and take 75 minutes to arrive at Jozankei Onsen from Sapporo Station, Odori or Susukino. 

Cost: JPY790 (USD7.5)

There is also a direct shuttle bus by Kappa Liner Bus. However, reservation is required.

Cost: JPY1,920 (USD18)

3. Toyako Onsen

Onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by Stephen Fang on Unsplash

Lake Toya is one of the beautiful caldera lakes in Japan formed by ancient volcanic activities. 

Just next to the lake, lies one of the top onsen in Hokkaido which is the Toyako Onsen

The fact that this onsen is overlooking a beautiful lake, is a reason why travellers should add this location to their bucket list.

The Hot Springs Properties:

The Toyako Onsen spring water is either clear or has a yellowish tint colour. 

The reason being is the water consists of minerals such as sodium, calcium, and chloride (neutral hydroponic water). It is known for its effectiveness in reducing fatigue, muscle, and joint pains as well as help in improving poor blood circulation and stomach problems.

Where to Bath? 

Zekkei No Yuyado Toya Kohantei stands right on the shore of Lake Toya. 

The best thing about this onsen is it has an amazing observatory onsen and open-air onsen that you can enjoy an exceptional view of Lake Toya. 

Want more views of the lake? 

Do check out some of the onsens below as well, they have a great onsen that gives you such an unforgettable view of Lake Toya:

Toya Ikoi No Ie is a day onsen that also offers you a gorgeous view of the lake but at a cheaper price

Things to do:

There are plenty of things you can do here at Toyako Onsen from cruising and canoeing at the lake to walking and dipping your foot in an ‘Ashiyu’ free footbath station available around the lake.  

Also, there are fireworks that take place at the lake every day from April to October.

Do you love to hike? 

Then, take the Usuzan Ropeway to the top of Japan’s first UNESCO Global Geopark called Mount Usu located at the south of Toyako Onsen.

From there, be ready to hike your way to some of the lookouts that offer you a stunning view of volcanic crates.

How to Get There?

The fastest way to Toyako Onsen is by taking JR limited Express Hokuto bound for Hakodate where you can reach Toya Station within 100 minutes from Sapporo Station.

Cost: JPY6000 (USD57)

It is also fully covered by JR Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass if you purchase one of those passes.

At Toya Station, you need to take the local bus for another 15 minutes to reach the Toyako Onsen.

Cost: JPY340 (USD3)

On the other hand, if you prefer to reach Toyako Onsen directly, you may take a journey of 2.5 hours by direct bus (operated by Donan Bus) from Sapporo Station to Toyako Onsen.

Cost: JPY2830 (USD27)

4. Yunokawa Onsen

Hokkaido onsen
Photo by Sakaori is licensed under CC BY 3.0 on Wikimedia

Only 5 minutes away from Hakodate Airport, this onsen located right next to the ocean, is another major Hokkaido onsen that you need to know about.

Due to its location being conveniently accessible to most of Hakodate’s hotspots, Yunokawa Onsen has served as the base for most sightseeing trips.

The Hot Springs  Properties:

The majority of onsens in Yunokawa Onsen are considered neutral hydroponic water due to their high in minerals such as sodium chloride. 

As a result of different concentrations of the minerals, you might find some onsens have a slightly reddish colour of water and some are colourless.

However, all of them bring great benefits to your health such as treating nerve and joint pains, reduces fatigue, smoothens the skin and so much more.

Being next to the ocean, you will have the luxury of witnessing the beauty of the Tsugaru Traits sunset while soaking in the onsen. This elevates your healing experience.

Where to Bath?

Hakodate Hotel Banso is one of the top ryokans in Hakodate. It provides an amazing modern Japanese-syle hot spring bath atmosphere and exquisite seafood using the freshest fish.

Heiseikan Shiosaitei is an onsen that gives you an unforgettable onsen experience as it stands right next to the sea and offers you a view of the entire ocean through the panoramic glass windows of their bathing facility. 

Wakamatsu Hot Spring Resort is one of the most authentic Japanese concept onsens that you should stop by if you are a big fan of Japanese architecture. 

What’s so interesting about this onsen is that each room and onsen bath are overlooking the ocean. Hence, provide you with a beautiful traditional experience of a Japanese onsen in Hokkaido.

Things to do:

Being located within the Hakodate city sightseeing hotspot, you can enjoy a city life holiday and have a chance to taste the incredible freshest food in Hokkaido (seafood especially) that Yunokawa Onsen has to offer.

Get yourself to Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden to have a rare opportunity to witness monkeys (Japanese Macaques) taking a leisurely dip in hot springs.

Or if you come during the spring or autumn season, do visit  Kosetsuen Garden or Goryokaku Park to witness the beauty of cherry blossom tree blooming or the autumn foliage. 

There are lots of other things you can do in Yunokawa Onsen. To know more about it, you can find it here.

How to Get There?

The convenient way is to take a flight from Sapporo to Hakodate. From Hakodate Airports, you can reach Yunokawa Onsen within 5 – 10 minutes by car.

Otherwise, you can take a 6 hours journey by bus to the onsen from Sapporo Station.

Cost: JPY4,800 (USD46)

5. Tokachigawa Onsen

onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by The Official Tokachigawa Onsen Travel Guide

The Tokachigawa onsen is located at the centre of Tokachi Plains. It boasts a wonderful sight of farm fields and barns. Known for making people look beautiful, this onsen is incredibly popular among women. 

The Hot Springs Properties:

It is the rarest onsen in Hokkaido and the world due to its unique properties that contain many plant-based components (moor hot springs). 

The reddish-brown colour shows that the spring waters are loaded with plant minerals, thus it is said that it has a high moisturizing effect that rejuvenates the skin. 

To all the ladies out there, who want to have smoother and glowing skin, then this onsen is just for you.

Where to Bath?

Tokachigawa Onsen Daiichi Hotel provides various onsen baths in their facility which includes a jacuzzi, barrel and outdoor bath. The outdoor bath is accompanied by a nice view of a river where you can find pleasure.

Kangetsuen is located right next to Tokachi River allowing you to catch the grand flow of the river while you submerge yourself in their open-air bath. 

Tokachigawa Onsen Sanyoan has a traditional Japanese cypress bath which provides an atmosphere where you can immerse and slowly unwind to release the fatigue. 

There are many other onsens that you may opt for at Tokachigawa where you can find it here.

Things to do:

Aside from hot springs, Tokachigawa Onsen is bustling with many natural parks that you can have fun.

Also, thanks to the location which the majority is farmland, you can have the opportunity to savour the freshest farm food in Hokkaido such as vegetables, meat, dairy and many more.

During the summer, I suggest you catch the Moor Hot Springs Firefly Festival, where you can be entertained watching lots of fireflies flying in the area. 

On the other hand, during winter enjoy the Tokachigawa Swan Festival Sairinka, a unique winter event featuring incredible lighting displays.

How to Get There?

You have to take a 3 hours limited express train from Sapporo Station to Obihiro Station. 

From there, take another 30 minutes bus ride bound for Tokachigawa-Onsen Daiichi Hotel to Tokachigawa Onsen. The bus will stop right in front of the hotel.

Cost: 

Train – JPY7,790 (USD74) 

Bus – between JPY140 (USD1) and JPY500 (USD4)

6. Sounkyo Onsen

onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by Shirokazan is licensed under CC BY 2.0 on Flickr

As part of Daisetsuzan National Park, the Sounkyo Onsen is nestled in a narrow gorge at an altitude of 670 meters at the foot of Mount Kurodake. 

Blessed with mountain geography, Sounkyo is not only famous for its hot springs but also famous for its adventurous outdoor activities.

The Hot Springs Properties:

Sounkyo hot springs have over 60 springs sources that offer simple spring waters and sulphuric waters.

It is known for its effectiveness for poor blood circulation,  joint pain, skin disease and several other health conditions. Furthermore, due to its low alkaline levels, the onsen is safe for children and people with sensitive skin.

Where to Bath?

Sounkyo Choyotei is one of the popular onsens in Sounkyo due to its majestic view of the mountain’s nature at their bathing facilities. If you enjoy being with nature, this is a place for you.

Hotel Taisetsu is an onsen located at the highest hill in Sounkyo and has 3 large hot spring baths where each has its distinct view and decor that you can choose from. 

Things to do:

Not far from the onsen, you will find two beautiful waterfalls Ginga no Taki (Milky Way Falls) and Ryusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls).  

So, be sure to bring your camera and create an insta-worthy photo of the two waterfalls flowing with the enchanted nature. Further up from the waterfalls you will meet Obako, an impressive rock formation that looks like a folding screen.

For more adventurous activities, take a ride on Kurodake Ropeway that will bring you close to the summit of Mount Kurodake. 

From the ropeway station, you will need to hike for an hour to reach the peak. At the top of Mount Kurodake, you may continue for a 1- 2 days hike to the top of Mount Asahidake via the wild trails of the Daisetsuzan National Park.

How to Get There?

First, if you are from Sapporo you need to reach  Asahakiwa by either limited express train or by bus. 

At Asahikawa, there are direct buses that travel between Asahikawa Station to Sounkyo Onsen for approximately 120 minutes every 1 – 2 hours.

Cost: JPY2,140 (USD20)

Another option you may take is by taking a train to Kamikawa from Asahikawa Station for 40 minutes by limited express train or 70 minutes by local train. 

From there, take a local bus for another 30 minutes to Sounkyo Onsen.

Cost: 

Local train + bus – JPY2,180 (USD21) 

Limited express train + bus – JPY2,890 (USD27)

7. Kawayu Onsen

onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by Shirokazan is licensed under CC BY 2.0 from Flickr

The Kawayu Onsen is a small hot springs town situated in Akan Mashu National Park between Lake Kussharo, Lake Mashu and Mount Iou. 

The onsen entices the heart of many travellers for its volcanic landscape and abundant hot spring around the area.

Do not get confused with other onsens with the same name in Wakayama prefecture, because both have different climates.

The Hot Springs Properties:

The onsen water origin is 100% directly from the source, which comes from volcanic Mount Io and has a very acidic property with a pH of 1.4

Thus, it is very good for treating skin problems.

However, please do AVOID wearing any jewellery when bathing as it can quickly oxidise jewellery like gold or silver and result in colour changes.

Where to Bath?

Kawayu Kanko Hotel an on-site onsen where the water is continuously flowing from a hot spring source located just 35 meters from the bathing facilities.

Equipped with a heat exchanger, the water temperature can be adjusted without adding additional freshwater. Hence, you will be able to experience pure sulphuric water as it is.

Oyado Kinkiyu is also a great place for you to bathe as they offer remarkable outdoor baths that extend to almost 2 floors. 

Within the onsen town, you will find many foot bath facilities where you can dip your foot in after a long walk for free.

Things to do:

As part of Akan Mashu National Park, there are several activities you can do here. Some of them are:

  • Have an enjoyable hike through the mossy forest towards Mount Io.
  • Viewing wild swans at Lake Kussharo while dipping your foot in the footbath or while doing water sport activities such as canoeing.
  • Gazing at the impressive view of the Mashu caldera at Lake Mashu 3rd observatory.

During winter, there is a popular festival called ‘Diamond Dust’ that is held every February.

This festival is filled with lights of thousand ice candles which you will see the place turned into a magical land.

Waiting for a train could take very long hours in Kawayu Onsen. So, why not use the time to enjoy fine cuisine at the 1936 Orchard Grass Café located inside a historical train station of Kawayu Onsen.

How to Get There?

To reach Kawayu Onsen from Sapporo, you need to catch a JR Ozora limited express train bound for Kushiro. 

Then, from Kushiro, you need to transfer to the JR Senmon line to the Kawayu Onsen Station. The whole journey from Sapporo to Kawayu Onsen Station will take approximately 6 hours.

Cost: JPY12,090 (USD115)

At Kawayu Onsen Station, you can either take a bus ride for 10 minutes or take a walk through Mount Io for 45 minutes to reach the onsen town.

Cost: JPY290 (USD3) for the bus ride.

8. Akanko Onsen

onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by TravelingOtter is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 on Flickr

The Akanko Onsen is the liveliest onsen in Hokkaido which is located next to beautiful Lake Akan. Well known for the habitat of Marimo (moss balls), this hot spring has become one of the significant highlights in Hokkaido.

The Hot Springs Properties:

The spring waters in Akanko Onsen are mainly simple thermal water but there is also some with sulphuric water.

The water is said to be therapeutic for fatigue, neuralgia, poor blood circulation, digestive problems and many more. 

Where to Bath?

Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga is an amazing onsen located at the shores of Lake Akan. Some rooms have an outdoor hot springs bath that offers a pleasant view of Lake Akan for you to unwind while bathing.

New Akan Hotel features a large infinity hot springs pool facing an incredible view of Lake Akan where you can have fun with your family and friends. Since it is not a gender-separated pool, you are required to wear a swimsuit when bathing. 

Within the onsen, there are several footbaths and hand-baths that you can have a dip for a short break after a long walk.

Things to do:

If you want to. see the sight of Lake Akan, take a boat cruise around the lake to the 4 islands located within the lake which are Ojima, Kojima, Yaitai and Churui Island. 

To understand more about the lake’s ecosystem such as the famous Marimo (moss balls), do visit the Akan Kohan Eco-Museum Centre. 

If you like to be part of the Ainu culture (Japanese Indigenous people), have a visit to the largest Ainu village called Ainu Kotan.

Nearby the area there is a beautiful Bokke nature trail, where you can get up close to the hot springs source which was formed from a volcanic eruption.

How to Get There?

The easiest way to Akanko Onsen is by taking a flight from Sapporo to Kushiro Airport. From there, take an airport liner bus or local bus for another 60 – 70 minutes to reach Akanko Onsen.

Cost: JPY2,190 (USD21) (bus fare from the Kushiro Airports)

Alternatively, you can take 4 hours 15 minutes train ride of JR Ozora limited express from Sapporo Station bound for Kushiro Station. At Kushiro Station, you need to take a 110 minutes local bus ride to the onsen town. 

Cost: 

Train – JPY9,990 (USD94)

Local bus – JPY2,750 (USD26)

9. Lake Shikotsu Onsen

onsen in Hokkaido
Photo by Robert Thomson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 on Flickr

This onsen was founded in 1974 while drilling the ground near the east of Lake Shikotsu.

It is a small onsen town with only 7 accommodations around it but due to its location which is part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, it has become one a popular Hokkaido Onsen. 

The Hot Springs Properties:

With a high temperature hypotonic low alkaline water, it is said to be known as ‘Bijin no Yu’ water of beauty for its gentle element and high moisturizer which is good for the skin. 

Apart from that, the hot spring is also good for other benefits such as neuralgia,  muscle and joint pain, etc. 

Where to Bath?

Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa Mizu no Uta a luxurious hot spring bath that provides several types of bathing facilities such as a whirlpool bath, sleeping bath and sit-down bath for their guests.

Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku offers one of the nicest private onsen Hokkaido where each bath has an exceptional view of the lake. Perfect for someone who is looking for privacy when bathing.

Other great onsens that you should check out around Lake Shikotsu that offer amazing bath experience:

Things to do:

Lake Shikotsu is notable for its crystalline water, hence it is well known for scuba diving, snorkelling and canoeing activities from April to November. If you are a person who loves water sports activities, then this is just a great place for you.

Besides water sports activities, since the onsen is encircled by the mountains, you can hike one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, Mount Tarumae

Another interesting site in the location is Koke no Domon, a moss-like Canyon loaded with various types of moss.

How to Get There?

Lake Shikotsu is only 40 minutes drive from the New Chitose Airport.

If you are driving from Noboribetsu to Sapporo or vice versa, Lake Shikotsu is 80 minutes drive between the two destinations. 

Unfortunately, there is no longer a direct bus from Sapporo to Lake Shikotsu since 2010. 

So, another way for you to reach the lake by public transport from Sapporo is by taking a 20 – 35 minutes train to Chitose Station first. And from Chitose Station take a 45 minutes bus ride that stops at the Shikotsuko stop.

Cost: from JPY1,700 (USD16)  to JPY2,230 (USD21) (bus fare included)

10. Utoro Onsen

Hokkaido Onsen
Photo by Hajime NakanoHajime Nakano is licensed under CC BY 2.0 on Flickr

If the ocean is your thing, then this onsen might be worth it for you to visit. 

Situated next to the Okhotsk Sea and also as part of Shiretoko Peninsula (UNESCO World Heritage Site) you will be surrounded by the beautiful nature and wildlife at Utoro Onsen.

The Hot Springs Properties:

Sodium chloride hydrogen carbonate is the property of Otoro hot springs water.

It has a yellow muddiness colour with a salty taste and it provides many benefits to your health such as improving muscle and joint pains, digestive problem, skin problem and fatigue.

Where to Bath?

Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel & Resort has a large public and open-air bath that faces an amazing scene of the ocean. During winter, you will find a beautiful view of the iceberg floating on the ocean from the onsen.

Inn on World Natural Heritage Shiretoko Village featuring an onsen that stands in the centre of wild nature. While you soaking in the onsen, you can hear the calm sound of animals and breezing trees. 

Things to do:

Once you are at Utoro Onsen, the first thing you should do is to climb up to Oronko Rock

A 60 meters high rock sits next to the harbour. At the top of it, you will be able to see the remarkable view of Utoro town.

Blessed with amazing geography, the next things you should do is to explore the unspoiled Shiretoko National Park such as:

How to Get There?

The convenient way to Utoro Onsen is by taking an overnight direct bus from Sapporo Bus Terminal to Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal.

Cost: JPY8,400 (USD80)

Otherwise, you need to take a 4 hours journey on the limited express train JR Ozora bound for Kushiro and transfer to the JR Senmon line to the Shiretokoshari Station for another 2 hours. 

Cost: JPY11,970 (USD113)

When you reach Shiretokoshari Station, there is an infrequent bus that goes to Utoro onsen. (approximately 50 minutes ride)

Cost: JPY1,650 (USD16) 

11. Asarigawa Onsen

Hokkaido Onsen
Photo by 663highland is licensed under CC BY 2.5 on Wikimedia

Set in Otaru City just less than an hour from Sapporo and encircled by mountains, the Asarigawa Onsen offers you a fresh adventurous and relaxing atmosphere that will ease your body and mind.

It is the only hot spring in Otaru City, hence becoming the popular onsen between Otaru and Sapporo.

The Hot Springs Properties:

The hot springs water in the onsen is mainly sodium chloride or simple thermal spring water which is effective for relieving muscle pain, neuralgia and rheumatism.

Where to Bath?

Asari Classe Hotel provides 3 fantastic open-air stone-rock baths overlooking a beautiful forest surrounding the onsen where the moods change as the season changes. 

Hotel Musashitei has several types of bath facilities such as a cypress bath, jacuzzi bath, bedrock bath and indoor and outdoor bath you can choose from to unwind in the warm onsen.

Things to do:

The Asarigawa Onsen is famous for its leisure activities like skiing, hiking, camping and golfing. 

Some of the recommended activities that you should explore:

How To Get There?

Just an hour away from Sapporo, Asarigawa Onsen can be reached by either car, bus or train.

If you opt for a train, from Sapporo Station you need to take JR rapid train for 32 minutes to reach Otaru Station. 

Another option is to take a highway bus for 68 minutes to Otaru Station.

Cost: 

Train – JPY750 (USD7)

Bus – JPY620 (USD6)

When you reach Otaru Station, you need to take a 30 minutes bus ride with a local bus to Asarigawa Onsen.

Cost: JPY340 (USD3)

How Much Does An Onsen Cost?

If you wish to stay a night at an onsen, the average price per night is between:

  •  JPY15,000 (USD142) and JPY25,000 (USD237) per person including tax.

 The price might be expensive for some people, but it is an experience worth every penny.

However, if staying a night might be costly for you, you may opt for day time onsen. Most ryokan onsen or hotel onsen in Hokkaido welcome day-trippers. 

So instead of paying for the rooms, you just have to pay for the onsen admission fee. 

  • The price range for day onsen is from JPY350 (USD3) to JPY2,500 (USD23).

Alternative option : 

A Private Onsen in Hokkaido: Onsen Rental for Private Use (Kashikiri-Buro)

Private Onsen Hokkaido
Photo by Japanexperterna.se is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 on Flickr

Some ryokans (a Japanese-style inn) or hotels offer an onsen rental service, where you can rent a whole onsen bath for private use for an hour.

Depending on the ryokans, the price for rental for some onsen can be free while some charge.

If they charged, commonly the price is within the range of:

  •  JPY2,000 (USD18) to JPY3,000 (USD28) per one-time use.

For more information about onsen rental, you may find it here.

How Should I Dress For An Onsen?

There are several rules you need to strictly follow in terms of etiquette, manners and what to wear at an onsen. The rules are:

  • Before entering the onsen bath, one must wash first as it is customary to wash before soaking in an onsen
  • You must be completely naked and no swimming suit or big towels wrapping around you when bathing in an onsen
  • Use your small towel to cover your lower part when you move from the changing room to the shower area to the onsen and back to the changing room.
  • Rinse yourself every time transferring from one bath to another bath
  • Do not soak your towel in an onsen
  • Do not swim or run in an onsen 
  • If you have long hair, you are required to tie your hair as it is not allowed to let your hair in the water
  • A tattoo is a big no-no in an onsen. Therefore, it is advisable for people with a tattoo  opt for a private onsen
  • After bathing, ensure you wipe yourself dry before entering the changing room
  • Before leaving the changing room, ensure that you have cleaned your place.

Some onsen will provide Yukata ( a cotton summer kimono) for you to wear after bathing. So if they do, do wear it to have a full genuine Japanese onsen experience.

How Long Should You Stay In An Onsen?

It depends on the water temperature and your body heat tolerance. 

The general rule of thumb is that the hotter the water, the shorter the time you should stay in an onsen. 

This is because if you stay in an onsen too long you can endanger your body and can cause several side effects such as dehydration, dizziness, fainting and overheating of the body.

For the best bathing experience, it is advisable to follow the recommended maximum time

  • 36 °C – 40 minutes
  • 37 °C – 30 minutes
  • 38 °C – 25 minutes
  • 39 °C – 20 minutes
  • 40 °C – 15 minutes
  • 41 °C – 10 minutes
  • 42 °C – 5 minutes

What Is The Difference Between Ryokan And Onsen?

Lots of people are still confused and think that ryokan and onsen are the same things. 

But the short answer is “No” and the long answer is that both are interrelated to one another.

Private Onsen Hokkaido
Photo by Filiz Elaerts on Unsplash

An Onsen means natural hot spring in Japanese, while a ryokan is a Japanese traditional accommodation featuring a Japanese-style room complimentary with Japanese food and a Yukata (summer kimono).

Most of the ryokans have a communal bath but not all are onsen baths.

Also, not all onsen are ryokans because some onsen are only day bath facilities where no accommodation is provided.

Best Food in Hokkaido

food in Hokkaido
Photo by the author
  • Hokkaido king crab
  • Hokkaido ramen 
  • Genghis Khan or Jingisukan
  • Soup Curry
  • Kaisendon
  • Sapporo Beer and Nikka Whisky
  • Yubari King Melon
  • Soft Serve Ice Cream
  • Ishikari Nabe
  • Hokkaido dairy food and dessert

Conclusion

There you go, 11 Best Onsen in Hokkaido that you should not miss whenever you are in Hokkaido.

Whether you go there solo, with your spouse, family or friends each onsen will give you an exciting experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Soaking your body in onsen not only allows you to relax and relieve stress.

It also helps in improving your body self-healing. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for you to experience up close to this unique Japanese bathing culture.

11 Best Onsen in Hokkaido, Japan

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