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Jozankei Onsen: 5 Things to Do in the Cozy Hot Springs Getaway in Japan's Wild North (Access+Ryokan)

Jozankei Onsen: 5 Things to Do in the Cozy Hot Springs Getaway in Japan's Wild North (Access+Ryokan)

Date published: 23 October 2019
Last updated: 2 December 2020

Jozankei Onsen spreads out along the banks of the Toyohira River and only a 50-minute drive away from Sapporo.

Founded in 1866 it is one of Hokkaido’s best-known hot springs areas. Visitors can either find accommodations in one of the inns or just enjoy the many different hot springs, including foot baths, on a day trip.

Blessed with natural scenery, autumn brings the area fame for its bright crimson leaves while in winter, the countless lights from snow candles glittering at night in the resort town nestled in deep snow. An annual event in the winter is the yukitoro or snow lanterns creating a fantasy-like atmosphere.

Here are some of the top attractions in Jozankei Onsen!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Try one of the famous free footbaths as you stroll through the Jozan Onsen resort area!
  2. 2. Soak in Kokoro-no-Sato Jozan: The ultimate footbath experience!
  3. 3. Enjoy a luxurious soak at Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei
  4. 4. Winter Trip? Enjoy the Snow Light Winter Event at Jozankei Onsen!
  5. 5. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Jozankei Onsen's natural scenery (best in autumn!)
  6. Other Recommended Jozankei Onsen Ryokan
  7. Related Articles
The snowy scenery can be enjoyed from within the hot springs or foot baths. Both make your skin feel soft and smooth and will keep you warm against the cold! (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)

In 2016, Jozankei Onsen celebrated its 150th anniversary. It had its beginning in 1866 when Miizumi Jozan, an ascetic monk, visited the source of the spring guided by local Ainu and this prompted the opening of the area as a hot spring resort.

A statue of Miizumi Jozan in the Jozan Onsen Park whom the Jozankei (Jozan Gorge) region is named after. (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)

1. Try one of the famous free footbaths as you stroll through the Jozan Onsen resort area!

There are 56 hot springs in Jozankei Onsen and more than half of them bubble up naturally from openings in the rock bed and along the shores of the Toyohira River that runs down the middle of the resort. Spring water temperatures are about 60 to 80 degrees Celsius and produce an amazing estimated daily volume of about 8,600 liters.

A view of the Toyohira River from Tsukimi-bashi (Moon View Bridge). Inns that draw hot spring water for their baths line the river.

These are called sodium chloride springs; the water is transparent and contains natural salts. The salt in the water makes your skin feel soft and smooth after you get out of the bath and leaves you feeling warm for quite a while afterward. You can enjoy the baths at the various inns and hotels or one of the many foot and hand baths in the area!

First, let me introduce some of the foot and hand baths that you can enjoy free of charge. The first one is about a one or two-minute walk from Tsukimi-bashi towards the hot spring district.

It is the Choju to Kenko no Ashi Tsubo Yu (Foot Bath Spring of Longevity and Health) which can be used between the hours of 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.

The bottom of the bath has small stones which stimulate the soles of your feet. Warming your feet while viewing the snow outside is so relaxing you might find yourself dozing off.

Nearby in the Iwato Kannon-do you can purchase a towel from a vending machine (200 yen each, tax included) so you don’t need to bring one with you.

Walking two or three minutes further from Tsukimi-bashi and facing Choju to Kenko no Ashi Tsubo Yu there is the Kappa Kazoku no Gankake Te Yu (Kappa Family Supplication hand bath) which is open 24 hours a day.

There is a hand bath beneath the monument inscribed “Jozankei Onsen” which stands at the intersection where the national highway turns towards Tsukimi-bashi
If you pour hot water on the head of the kappa it will come out its mouth
Here it is popular to rinse your hands for supplication with the hot water from the mouth of the kappa

Incidentally, there is a legend about kappa at Jozankei Onsen which has given rise to stone images of kappa around the area. For those who are curious to learn more, how about taking an exploratory walk about the area?

If you walk four or five minutes along the national highway from the Kappa Family Supplication hand bath you will arrive at the Ashi no Fureai Taro no Yu (Mingling Feet Taro Spring) which can be used between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.

This is a relatively more spacious foot bath which can accommodate a greater number of people

Here, too, there is a vending machine where you can buy towels.

2. Soak in Kokoro-no-Sato Jozan: The ultimate footbath experience!

There are all sorts of foot and hand baths in the hot springs town, but perhaps none offer as special an experience as the Kokoro no Sato Jozan.

The Kokoro no Sato Jozan is about a two-minute walk from Tsukimi-bashi. The facility is set within a Japanese-style garden
There are 8 types of foot baths. More than half of them have roofs to protect you from the elements

The theme of this facility is “relaxing in nature, an oasis of the heart”. If you pay the 1,500 (tax included) admission fee, you can freely spend as much time here as you like during its hours of operation.

You can use any of the eight foot baths as much as you like! Chairs with thick cushions face the front making sitting for long hours a comfortable and pleasant experience.

You can freely adjust the temperature of the spring using the valve on the spigot

In addition to providing tabi (Japanese socks with split toe) and towels, they also have lap blankets, hanten (traditional quilt jacket), and in the summer, straw hats; all of which you can use freely. There are changing rooms which make it convenient for those who need a place to change in order to use the foot baths. Moreover, they provide as much hand cream and body oil as you would like to use! If you use tabi, you are allowed to take them with you when you leave.

After relaxing at a foot bath, visit the healing lounge inside.

Relaxing music is played in the healing lounge
You are also welcome to sample the homemade tea cakes as much as you like in the healing lounge
On this day there was a selection of gateau chocolat and miniature cream puffs. Of course, drinks are also offered freely!

If you would like to eat something a bit heartier than just tea cakes, you can either bring your own food and drink into the facility, or you can buy them here.

Relaxing with a book while enjoying tea cakes
You can even take a nap once you’ve had your fill

Adjacent the healing lounge are a tea room and library containing about 800 books on nature. The tea room has implements for making tea and for 500 yen (tax included) you can make matcha tea for yourself. If you choose to do so, the staff will gladly assist you.

Some of the visitors like to bring beer with them to enjoy while soaking their feet in the baths while others bring laptops with them to help pass the time.

  • Kokoro-no-Sato Jozan
    心の里 定山
    • Address 〒061-2303 北海道札幌市南区定山渓温泉西4-372-1/4-372-1, Jozankeionsennishi, Minami-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 061-2303, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-598-5888
    • Admission fee: 1,500 yen (tax included) for use of the baths, lounge, tea cakes, and drinks
      ※Elementary age children and younger are not allowed.
      Hours: 10:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM
      Holidays: none

3. Enjoy a luxurious soak at Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei

In addition to the foot baths, we also recommend a side trip to another facility for bathing.

There are several hotels and facilities in Jozankei Onsen where you can enjoy the hot spring baths without spending the night. One of these is the Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei located a three or four-minute walk from Tsukimi-bashi.

This spacious facility offers a variety of large and small baths, including outdoor baths, Jacuzzi, sauna, and cold-water baths (Photo: Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei)
The outdoor bath is made from Japanese cypress. The water temperature can be set to between 38 ~ 42 degrees Celsius, so you can adjust it to your comfort (Photo: Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei)

For day-trip visitors the charge for just the baths is 1,000 yen for adults (tax included) but they also offer a plan which includes a delicious meal of charcoal-grilled seasonal fish and meat for 2,300 yen (tax included). The portions are hearty and nutritionally balanced.

Today’s charcoal-grilled (meat) set lunch. Rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, salad, three types of side dishes, and soup are included

Enjoy a soothing hot spring bath that moisturizes your skin after a light lunch; a refreshing way to relax before returning for the day!
If you prefer to stay longer, then we suggest you make arrangements to spend the night.

About half of the guest rooms have their own private hot spring baths for added privacy. (Photo: Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei)
This is one of the baths that can be reserved for private use. There also two outdoor baths which similarly can be reserved. They are available 24 hours a day (Photo: Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei)
There is a Japanese-style garden on the third floor which is perfect for taking a stroll to cool off during the warmer seasons. The garden covered in snow during winter is also lovely (Photo: Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei)

Day-trip fees: 1,000 yen for adults, 600 yen for children aged two years to elementary school age; no charge for babies under a year of age; 2,300 yen for the bath plus meal plan; bath towel and face towel rental fee of 200 yen
Overnight accommodation fee: 14,000 yen for one night and 2 meals ~ Hours of operation for day-trip use: 12:00 PM ~ 3:00 PM, dining 11:00 AM ~ 3:00 PM
※ Taxes not included in any of the prices mentioned
(Last order: 2:30 PM)
Holidays: none

Enjoy the special experiences afforded in winter. If you are planning such a trip, we recommend the following!

4. Winter Trip? Enjoy the Snow Light Winter Event at Jozankei Onsen!

Local residents line up countless snow candles in the precincts of the Jozankei Shrine in the middle of winter. This Snow Light event is held every year during the early part of February. It is scheduled to be held from around January 30 to February 3. Enjoy the mystical atmosphere of the soft glow of candle lamps on winter nights!

The fluttering light of each of the candle lights create a warm and relaxing mood. (Photo: Jozankei Tourism

“Prayer Lamps” can be purchased for 500 yen (tax included) during the event; popular for bringing tranquility. People make a wish and light the candle which is placed within a wax bowl and then take it to the Snow Tower. If the candle does not blow out before they get to the Snow Tower, then their wish will come true.

Looking down from the Snow Tower on the myriad wax bowls on which wishes have been written (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)

During the event, popular Jozankei Onsen products such as onion soup and hot drinks are also offered. A winter evening is certain to bring a smile to your lips.

  • Yukitoro
    • Address 〒061-2302 北海道札幌市南区定山渓温泉東3-218/3-218, Jozankeionsenhigashi, Minami-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 061-2302, Japan
    • Phone Number:011-598-2012(Jozankei Tourist Association)
      Event dates: Wednesday, January 30 ~ Sunday, February 3, 2019
      Admission: free
      Hours: 6:00 PM ~ 9:00 PM

5. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Jozankei Onsen's natural scenery (best in autumn!)

Jozankei Onsen, which developed as a hot spring resort, is blessed in rich natural beauty. While the view of the hot springs covered in winter snow is gorgeous, the view at other times of the year is equally beautiful. Perhaps none are more so than in autumn when the bright autumn colors appear all over Hokkaido, a season for which it is famous.

Jozankei Onsen in autumn. The best time for viewing the colors is from the beginning to middle of October (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)

A good place from which to view the crimson autumn leaves is the area around the Futami Suspension Bridge located midway on the Futami Jozan Road which runs along the edges of the Toyohira River.

The red Futami Suspension Bridge spanning the Toyohira River gorge (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)
A view of the Futami Suspension Bridge from the Kappa-buchi river banks farther downstream. (Photo: Jozankei Tourism Association)

Futami Jozan Road and Futami Suspension Bridge are closed to traffic in winter (roughly mid-November to the middle of April), but the views are wonderful in spring when the area is verdant with new green leaves and in summer when the sun streaks down through the groves along the gorge.

Many hikers are drawn to the area even when the autumn leaves are not in color (Photo: Jozankei Tourism

The entrance to the Futami Jozan Road can easily be reached a short 3 ~ 5-minute walk from Tsukimi-bashi near the hot spring resorts.
Be sure to visit the Jozankei Nature Luminaire illumination event held between Jozankei Futami Park and the Futami Suspension Bridge between June 1 and October 21, 2018!

During its 150-year history Jozankei Onsen has come to be called Sapporo’s parlor. Rich in natural scenery and hot springs gentle to the skin, it is an area easily accessible from Sapporo perfect for taking leisurely strolls and refreshing hot spring baths.

Admission: free
Hours: Longevity and Health Foot Bath: 7:00 AM ~ 8:00 PM; Kappa Family Supplication Hand Bath: 24 hours a day; Mingling Feet Taro Spring: 7:00 AM ~ 8:00 PM

Written by: Nobuhiro Kawashima

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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