Inside Daisetsuzan National Park, Sounkyo is renowned for the beauty of the valley created by erosion from the Ishikari River. It offers impressive waterfalls and views of the soaring columnar-joint rocks formed by ancient molten lava as it slowly cooled. The area also serves as a base camp for climbing Mt. Kurodake, and many sightseers gather in early to mid-September to view the autumn leaves. Also, Sounkyo features over 10 onsen (hot spring) hotels along the Sounkyo Onsen Hotel Road, making the area ideal for lodging when staying near Biei, Furano, or Asahikawa. Sounkyo is about 1 hour 30 minutes by car from the city of Asahikawa.
Ski slopes are open nearby between early November and mid-May, offering winter sports as an extra dimension to this stunning region.
From Asahikawa Airport, take the Asahikawa Electric Railway Bus for 35 minutes and get off at JR Asahikawa Station. From JR Asahikawa Station, take the Dohoku Bus headed to Sounkyo for about 1 hour 50 minutes.
Main Attractions in the Sounkyo Area
(1) Ryusei-no-taki and Ginga-no-taki
These striking waterfalls are listed among the One Hundred Most Famous Waterfalls of Japan. Ryusei-no-taki has a strong current and a drop of about 90 m, while Ginga-no-taki resembles white threads cascading from a cliff edge about 120 m high. These two waterfalls sit side by side, and you can view them together from an observation deck called Sobakudai. The two waterfalls flowing together are also called ”meotodaki,” or ”husband-and-wife waterfalls.” The parking lot at the waterfalls includes a restroom, a dining hall, and a souvenir shop among other facilities.
The falls are free to visit and are situated 5 minutes by car from the Sounkyo Bus Terminal.
Obako is a picturesque area spanning about 6 km from the Sounkyo Onsen along the upstream part of the Ishikari River. See the fascinating vertical columnar volcanic rocks up close, and come in autumn to experience the spectacular fiery autumn leaves.
Obako is free to visit, and is situated 10 minutes by car from the Sounkyo Bus Terminal.
(3) Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Kurodake Ropeway
Mt. Kurodake is 1,984 m tall. A ropeway and lift runs from the Sounkyo Onsen to the 7th station on Kurodake at an altitude of 1,520 m for an easier climb. You can walk from the 7th station to the peak, and the area is particularly beautiful in July and August with alpine plants growing all over. Be sure to make sufficient preparations before attempting to climb the mountain.
Autumn delivers spectacularly colorful leaves, and you can enjoy skiing and snowshoe-hiking in the winter.
The ropeway runs 6:00am–6:00pm (may vary depending on the season. The ropeway runs every 20 minutes.) A return trip costs 1,950 JPY for the ropeway and 600 JPY for the lift (400 JPY one way in the winter). The ropeway base station is situated 5 minutes by foot from the Sounkyo Bus Terminal.
Sounkyo Onsen Hyobaku Festival
This festival runs between late January and mid-March. Ice sculptures, giant slides, ice bar, ice shrine, and other features are set up in freezing-cold Sounkyo, with various events held throughout the period. Winter activities such as ice climbing experiences and snowshoe tours (both are paid) are also available. Don't miss the ice sculptures illuminated at night or the nightly fireworks display.
Sounkyo, Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido, 078-1701
- Nearest Station
･ Sekihoku Main Line
- Phone Number
01658-2-1811Available languagesonly in Japanese
- Public Site
- Official Site
Recommended Spots in Area
Sounkyo Visitor CenterFurano / Biei / SounkyoOther Museums
Ice Fall FestivalFurano / Biei / SounkyoWinter
Sounkyo OnsenFurano / Biei / SounkyoHot Springs (Onsen) & Bath Houses (Sento)
Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Kurodake RopewayFurano / Biei / SounkyoAdventure Activities
Ginga Falls and Ryusei FallsFurano / Biei / SounkyoRivers, Lakes & Canyons