Hokkaido is not only a treasure trove of food with many popular sightseeing spots and ski resorts, but there are also many hot springs scattered throughout. Imagine hot springs bordering the sea or lake, quiet mountain hot springs, and even facilities where you can soak in the bath while admiring the magnificent scenery. In this article, we will introduce the bestt 10 hot spring areas in Hokkaido.
1. Yunokawa Hot Spring
"Yunokawa Hot Spring" (湯の川温泉 / Yunokawa Onsen) located in Hakodate City, southwestern Hokkaido is a hot spring town that is close to the Hakodate's city area and is an ideal base for sightseeing. There is an anecdote that in the Edo period, the 9th generation feudal lord who suffered from an intractable disease when he was young recovered completely after soaking the hot spring water. This area boasts an abundant amount of chloride spring water. Chances are that if you dig a well, hot springs will come out!
- About 5 minutes by shuttle bus from Hakodate Airport
- About 25 minutes by bus from JR Hakodate Station
The recommended sightseeing spot is the "Hakodate City Tropical Botanical Garden" (函館市熱帯植物園). You can meet Japanese macaques enjoying themselves in the hot springs.
Hakodate City Tropical Botanical Garden
- Address: 3-1-15 Yunokawacho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
- Hours: (April-October) 9:30-18:00, (November-March) 9:30-16:30
- Admission fee: 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students, 300 yen for adults
- HP: https://hako-eco.com/
2. Toyako Onsen
"Toyako Onsen" (洞爺湖温泉) is a scenic chloride-rich hot spring area on the south coast of Lake Toya, located in the southwestern part of Hokkaido. Its lakeside is dotted with hotels, footbaths, and handbaths, so you can feel free to stop by during your walk. Among the many walking and sightseeing spots, the most interesting one is the Tozen Yakushi Nyorai-do "Ema Mikuji". If you put it in hot water, the fortune-telling result will gradually appear. How about trying your luck at Lake Toya, a power spot with the legend of the dragon god?
- About 1 hour and 50 minutes by JR train & bus from New Chitose Airport to JR Toya Station
- About 2 hours and 45 minutes by bus from JR Sapporo Station to Toyako Onsen
3. Noboribetsu Onsen
"Noboribetsu Onsen" (登別温泉) is a hot spring resort that represents Hokkaido, located in the southwestern part of Hokkaido. Spring quality includes acidic spring, sulfur spring (hydrogen sulfide type), ferruginous spring, carbonated spring, sulfate spring, and many more. It is also known as a "hot spring department store" since you can enjoy 10 types of hot springs.
The biggest source of all is in "Jigokudani" (地獄谷 - Hell Valley). The bottom of the valley with a diameter of 450m has 15 "hells" (地獄 / Jigoku) centered around the Great Hell, gushing out 3,000L of hot springs every minute. Hot spring areas where you can soak in 10 types of hot water in one place like this are rare even in Japan, be sure to experience as many as you can!
- About 1 hour and 15 minutes by highway bus from New Chitose Airport (reservation required)
- About 1 hour and 20 minutes by highway bus from Sapporo (reservation required)
- Enjoy Noboribetsu’s Hot Spring Water In Hokkaido Winter
- Warm Up in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido for Your Next Winter Vacation in Japan
4. Jozankei Onsen
"Jozankei Onsen" (定山渓温泉) is located southwest of Sapporo, the prefectural capital of Hokkaido. Hot spring facilities and hotels are scattered along the lush green valley. Known as the "Sapporo no Okuzashiki" (札幌の奥座敷 - Sapporo's inner parlor), it has healed many people with its hot springs and the beauty of the valley.
There are 56 chloride hot spring sources, most of which are concentrated near Tsukimi Bridge and Takayama Bridge on the Toyohira River. The abundant amount of hot water springs out naturally from cracks in the bedrock of the river bank and riverbed. It is a hot spring area where you can soak in the bath while feeling the grandeur of nature.
- About 75 minutes by bus from JR Sapporo Station
- About 100 minutes by direct bus from New Chitose Airport
- Relax at the Hokkaido's Jozankei Onsen Hot Springs Resort
- Jozankei Hotels Where You Can Enjoy the Magnificence of Hokkaido Nature
5. Niseko Onsen
"Niseko Onsen" (ニセコ温泉) is located in the western part of central Hokkaido, generally referrting to hot springs scattered in Niseko Town, Kutchan Town, and Rankoshi Town. There are many hot springs in this hot spring area, such as Niseko Konbu Onsen and Niseko Goshiki Onsen (chloride springs), Niseko Yumoto Onsen (sulfur springs), and Niseko Niimi Onsen (sulfate springs). At such Niseko Onsen, we recommend purchasing the “Niseko's Hot Spring Pass” (ニセコ湯めぐりパス), which will help you fully enjoy visiting the hot spring resorts that are blessed with great views.
- About 2 hours and 15 minutes by JR from Sapporo
- About 2 hours and 45 minutes by JR from New Chitose Airport
6. Tokachigawa Onsen
"Tokachigawa Onsen" (十勝川温泉) is located almost in the center of the Tokachi Plain in eastern Hokkaido. It is a Moor-no-Yu (モールの湯 - Moor hot spring) which contains a lot of plant-based organic matter originating from an ancient plant. It was also selected as an asset of Hokkaido ahead of other hot spring areas because of its scarce and limited resource compared to general mineral hot springs. What's more, the simple spring's water is said to help rejuvenate the skin!
- About 3 hours and 30 minutes from JR Sapporo Station by JR and bus
- About 2 hours and 30 minutes from New Chitose Airport by JR and bus
7. Akanko Onsen
"Akanko Onsen" (阿寒湖温泉 - Lake Akan Hot Spring) is located in the eastern part of Hokkaido and is home to wild animals such as Yezo deer and red foxes. This simple spring was long loved by the indigenous Ainu people since the 1850s. Now it has become one renowned hot spring town dotted with inns around the lakeside. You can soak in the hot spring while surrounded by the magnificent nature of the lake, Mt. Meakan, and Mt. Oakan. It is also recommended to use as a base for sightseeing in Akan where you can learn about Ainu culture.
- About 1 hour and 10 minutes by bus from Kushiro Airport
- About 5 hours and 10 minutes from JR Sapporo Station by JR and bus
8. Kawayu Onsen
"Kawayu Onsen" (川湯温泉) is located in the northeastern part of Hokkaido with Atosanupuri (Mt. Io), which is still active as an active volcano, as the source. Spring type is sulfur spring and the hot water is so strong in acidity that it can dissolve a five-inch nail in a week! Kawayu Onsen has been loved by many people since ancient times and is said to be effective against all kinds of diseases. You can also enjoy forest bathing in the surroundings of the hot spring town, which is filled with steam and the scent of sulfur from the abundant amount of hot spring water. In winter, hoarfrost can form on the trees for extra visual enjoyment. It is a hot spring area where you can enjoy both blissful relaxation and beautiful scenery.
- 1.5 hours by car from Tancho Kushiro International Airport, Memanbetsu Airport, or Nemuro Nakashibetsu Airport
- About 10 minutes by bus from JR Kawayu Onsen Station
9. Sounkyo Onsen
“Sounkyo Onsen” (層雲峡温泉) located in the central part of Hokkaido is blessed with valley beauty and is one of the top-class scenic spots in Hokkaido. The 600-high 24km-long cliffs, autumn-colored trees, and famous waterfalls such as "Ginga no Taki" (銀河の滝) and "Ryusei no Taki" (流星の滝) create an overwhelming landscape. The spring type of Sounkyo Onsen is a sulfur spring, while you will find several hot spring sources, each with different color, scent, and temperature in the area. There are inns where you can soak in hot spring water from multiple sources. Apart from staying overnight, you can also enjoy visiting several different hot springs by taking a day trip to the other baths.
- About 2 hours and 40 minutes by bus from Asahikawa Airport
- About 3 hours and 25 minutes by bus from JR Sapporo Station
10. Utoro Onsen (Shiretoko Onsen)
"Utoro Onsen" (ウトロ温泉) is also known as Shiretoko Onsen (知床温泉). It is a hot spring area located on the hills of the Shiretoko Peninsula, which protrudes into the Sea of Okhotsk in the eastern part of Hokkaido. The Chishima (Kuril) volcanic belt extending from Kamchatka to the Chishima (Kuril) Islands and the Shiretoko Peninsula, gushes out a large amount of high-quality hot springs.
The cloudy water of the chloride spring leaves your skin smooth. At the hot spring overlooking the Sea of Okhotsk, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset and a sense of unity with the sea. Drift ice can also be seen during the extremely cold season. If luck is with you, you may even encounter wild animals such as brown bears and deer! If you are sightseeing in Shiretoko, this hot spring area is the perfect base to explore the dynamic food chain.
- About 2 hours and 15 minutes by bus from Memanbetsu Airport