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Hoheikyo Onsen (Sapporo): This Open-Air Spa Heaven is Not Where You'd Expect

Hoheikyo Onsen (Sapporo): This Open-Air Spa Heaven is Not Where You'd Expect

Date published: 7 February 2020
Last updated: 3 July 2020

Hoheikyo Onsen is located about an hour away by bus or car from Sapporo City. It is a hot spring area where you can enjoy naturally heated spring water flowing directly up from the source. It’s said that the water in this area makes your skin beautiful.

Located amid the mountains, the facility is also known for their authentic Indian curry and jingisukan – a Japanese grilled mutton dish. During winter with heavy snow, they offer all-you-can-eat Indian food and jingisukan in a large snow igloo.

Here we introduce the charms of Hoheikyo Onsen, which attracts curry and hot springs connoisseurs!

Table of Contents
  1. Getting to Hoheikyo Onsen
  2. Enjoy Seasonal Views From Hoheikyo Onsen's Open-Air Hot Spring
  3. 3 Open-Air Hot Springs That’ll Make You Want to Take a Long Soak
  4. Silky Smooth Skin after an Onsen Bath: Additive-Free Hot Spring Water Direct from the Source, for Beautiful Skin
  5. People Visit Hoheikyo Onsen Just for the Popular Indian Curry?!
  6. Hoheikyo Onsen in Winter: Enjoy the Huge Igloo with Charcoal Grilled Jingisukan!
In winter you can enjoy the snow view from the open-air hot spring

Getting to Hoheikyo Onsen

Hoheikyo Onsen is a day-trip hot spring facility located near Jozankei Onsen, which is considered a retreat outside of Sapporo City.

It takes about 60 minutes to reach Hoheikyo Onsen from Sapporo Station by car, or about 70 minutes taking the Kappa Liner Bus that starts from Sapporo Station and goes through the Jozankei Onsen area to reach Hoheikyo Onsen (one way 840 yen, requires reservations). There is also a fixed-route bus that goes to Hoheikyo Onsen (one way 840 yen) from Sapporo Station which takes about 90 minutes.

Bathing fees are 1,000 yen for adults, 500 yen for elementary school students.

There is a bus stop in front of Hoheikyo Onsen

Enjoy Seasonal Views From Hoheikyo Onsen's Open-Air Hot Spring

Enjoy Seasonal Views From Hoheikyo Onsen's Open-Air Hot Spring
Hoheikyo Onsen with a rustic look

The highlight of Hoheikyo Onsen is the large open-air hot spring that is surrounded by nature and the hot spring water that flows directly from the source.

The hot spring water also has the effect to make your skin beautiful. There are many residents of Sapporo who come here regularly to experience the atmosphere and the amazing hot spring.

Not only does Hoheikyo Onsen attract customers from all over Japan but, in recent years the number of foreign tourists has increased.

A great open feeling with nothing to obstruct your view! On a clear sky day you can see the beautiful snow covered mountains in the distance.

This area gets heavy snow. About a third of the year, from the first half of December to early April, you can enjoy the open-air hot spring with a snowscape view.

The season to view sakura cherry blossoms is right after Golden Week Holiday, around mid-May (photo provided by Hoheikyo Onsen)

Once spring is in the air you can view the cherry blossoms from the open-air hot spring, and in summer you can see the verdant scenery of the mountains.

Autumn is the season when Hoheikyo Onsen is most thriving. The surrounding trees start to change colors and people come to view the autumn foliage, it is so popular that there is even a line of cars waiting outside.

The best season to see the autumn leaves is from early to mid-October (photo provided by Hoheikyo Onsen

Other than the changing view from season to season, the facility also has a different charm during the day and at night.

The facility is beautifully illuminated at night! (Photo provided by Hoheikyo Onsen)

Hoheikyo Onsen is a hot spring facility where you can experience the charm of nature at any time.

3 Open-Air Hot Springs That’ll Make You Want to Take a Long Soak

There are two bathing areas at Hoheikyo Onsen on the second floor. To the entrance side of the building there is one indoor bathing area and one large open-air hot spring Muine Onsen, which could probably fit about 100 people.

The indoor bath is filled with Yu-no-Hana, hot-spring material deposits which resemble flowers. The hot spring temperature is around 42°C and a bit hot. The doors in the back lead to the outdoor area.
The large open-air hot spring Muine Onsen. It is so large that it won’t fit in one photo and the hot spring continues to the right side of the photo. The temperature of Muine Onsen is 39°C, which isn’t too hot and good for longer baths.

Towards the back side there are three indoor hot springs and two open-air hot springs Fukuro Onsen and Yuyu Onsen.

The indoor hot spring of the bathing area in the back side. The hot spring temperature is around 42°C and a bit hot. Behind the fence to the back right are two bathtubs.
The wooden bath tubs. Each bat can fit about two to three people and feels like a private bathtub. The temperature for the baths are about 38 to 40°C.
ou can enjoy the feeling of taking a bath in a secret mountain location at Fukuro Onsen. The hot spring temperature is around 39°C.
To reach Yuyu Onsen, climb the steps where the water flows from Fukuro Onsen.
You can enjoy a more mature secluded bathing area at Yuyu Onsen. The temperature of the hot spring is around 39°C and is good for longer baths

The three open-air hot springs are stone baths and there are flat rocks and logs along the rim and in the center of the hot spring where you can sit on.

The hidden seat in the baths are a perfect for half-body bathing or cooling off!

At Yuyu Onsen there are two hidden spots where you can lie down. Make sure to look for the hidden spots when you get there. You might find some other hidden things exploring the baths.

Resting your head on the wooden pillow hidden in the bath is so comfortable that you might even fall asleep

The open-air baths temperature are set lower and is perfect for longer baths. You will forget the flow of time and want to spend the whole time soaking in the bath.

The hot spring to the front and back swaps between male and female daily, so your experience will vary on the day. The front side hot springs are male only on odd days and female only on even days, for the back side hot springs even days are for male and odd days are for females.

Silky Smooth Skin after an Onsen Bath: Additive-Free Hot Spring Water Direct from the Source, for Beautiful Skin

The location of Hoheikyo Onsen is wonderful, but the spring quality is also amazing!

The water has a slight green tint

To prevent the water from oxidizing when it touches the air, the spring water pumped on Hoheikyo Onsen grounds is not stored in a water tank but flows directly to the bathing areas.

The spring water is not heated nor does it have water added to it, and the temperature is managed by controlling the amount of water in the tub. Since there is an abundance of spring water, the overflowed water is not reused by a circulation system.

Also, the water for the shower is from the hot spring. The facility offers hot spring water directly from the source without additives.

The most important thing for a hot spring is the freshness! The pumped water goes directly to the bath tubs

The Hoheikyo Onsen water includes minerals such as sodium, calcium, and hydrogen carbonate, which gives the water a slight filmy texture.

The component in hydrogen carbonate has a quality to emulsify keratin and also wash away old skin oil, also it is said that the sodium helps moisturize your skin.

This is the reason behind Hoheikyo Onsen being called the hot spring for beautiful skin, also people with skin conditions come here for bath treatments.

The hot spring components that stuck to the floor and side of the bath tub looks like a limestone cavern. It is not man made and was created over time

The fresh hot spring water is beneficial to the skin. After I got out of the bath, my skin was very smooth! It felt like a baby’s skin. You are sure to come back for more, once you experience it.

After your bath you can use the free resting room. The facility uses floor heating powered geothermally and is very comfortable in winter
There are private rooms with a fee (1 room 1 hour 3,000 yen)

People Visit Hoheikyo Onsen Just for the Popular Indian Curry?!

Hoheikyo Onsen has appealing hot springs and food. At the ONSEN Shokudo dining hall, they serve dishes such as curry and Tandoori chicken, jingisukan, and 100% buckwheat soba noodles.

100% buckwheat soba made with soba powder from Hokkaido is also popular! Mori-soba 750 yen
ONSEN Shokudo table seats
From the window by the terrace seats you can see the Japanese garden and the waterfall with hot spring water flowing down.

The Indian food is popular among the curry connoisseurs, and there are people who visit the facility to just eat the curry.

Hoheikyo Onsen’ famous Indian curry
The Nepalese staff replicate the authentic flavor which is arranged for Japanese people.

There are two types of curry, onion based and tomato based; both are handmade and use different blends of spices and herbs.

There are five levels of spiciness from the lowest level for children, sweet, medium, hot and very hot. You can choose the level of spiciness when you order. The standard spiciness here is medium. Unless you don’t like spicy food, you should still be able to enjoy the standard spiciness.

The Eggplant and Tomato Curry medium spiciness (850 yen) with a charbroiled eggplant, is one of the tomato based curry menu
The Lamb Curry medium spiciness (1,000 yen) with big chunks of lamb, is one of the onion based curry. We also order the haskap berry lassi (430 yen, 330 yen when ordered with a meal) made with haskap berry harvested from their garden.

The curry comes with naan bread You can also get more naan (220 yen for one, 330 yen if you only order naan).

Once the order is received the naan is made in a special ceramic oven, and has a nice chewy but fluffy texture.
Add the curry to your naan and bon appetit!

Both onion-based and tomato-based curries are spicy. However they are not too spicy and you can enjoy the delicious flavor of the curry. Also the combination of curry and naan is amazing! The chewy texture and the wheat flavor is great. The naan is delicious with curry or plain.
The onion-based curry is slightly mild due to the sweetness of the onion, and the tomato based curry has a slight sourness to it that gives just the right amount of kick.

For people who want curry and Indian food like Tandoori Chicken, there are set menus.

The Tandoori Mix Grill set (1,650 yen) includes Eggplant and Tomato Curry (medium spiciness) with Tandoori chicken and seekh kebab, salad, and chai. A naan also comes with the set

It is so delicious that you won’t forget the taste. It’s understandable how people come here for the curry and skip the bath, even though the hot spring is amazing.

  • Hoheikyo Onsen ONSEN Shokudo
    豊平峡温泉 ONSEN食堂
    • Address 608-2 Jozankei Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    • Hours: Indian Food 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM L.O., Jingisukan & Soba 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM L.O., 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM L.O.
      Closed: None
      Phone: 011-598-2410

Hoheikyo Onsen in Winter: Enjoy the Huge Igloo with Charcoal Grilled Jingisukan!

From late January to mid-March a large snow igloo is made at Hoheikyo Onsen’s Second Parking Lot. How big is it? Well, it’s this big!

Ta-da! It’s more like a hill!

You can enter freely and look around. Also you can enjoy charcoal grilled Jingisukan inside the snow igloo!

Snow sculptured owls greet you at the entrance

Entering the snow igloo, we were surprised at how securely it was made, and it was quite warm inside. It’s probably because it’s not affected by the wind blowing outside.

The inside. Charcoal grill for Jingisukan and seats. One grill can serve up to six people, and the snow igloo can accommodate up to 24 people at a time.
Snow sculpture bears by the wall

In the snow igloo, they offer two types of meal plans.

1. All-You-Can-Eat Charcoal Grill BBQ Plan 3,500 yen per person
90 minutes all-you-can-eat Jingisukan (with vegetables) and Indian food (naan, Tandoori chicken, spareribs, seekh kebab), 1 onigiri (rice ball) per person

2. Kamakura Jingisukan Plan: 2,400 yen per person
Jingisukan (with vegetables) and 1 naan

*Both plans include hot spring fees, requires 4 or more people and reservation up to three days in advance

Since you are at Hoheikyo Onsen which is famous for Indian food, we recommend the all-you-can-eat plan with Indian food.

The all-you-can eat plan menu (for the photo they gave us servings for 2 people)

The staff will manage the charcoal, so all you have to do is grill the meat when it arrives. Very simple!

Sit in front of the grill and cook the meat. The grill also serves as a stove, and it’s warm enough that you don’t need gloves
The meat they use is tender sirloin, only 2k of this meat can be found in a sheep

The meat is marinated in a special sweet and spicy sauce and is flavored perfectly so you don’t need dipping sauce when you eat it.

You can’t taste or smell the distinct smell of mutton, and the meat is very tender! You can’t go wrong going with the all-you-can-eat plan. It’s so good that it’s hard to stop eating.

Now, here is how you eat Hoheikyo Onsen’s Jingisukan. You wrap the Jingisukan with the naan.

The naan is huge!
Tear the naan in to bite size and lightly grill it.
Place the meat on the grilled naan and wrap it

Now you have a Jingisukan naan sandwich. The chewy naan and tender mutton really match. Make sure to try it out, I am sure you will enjoy it and get hooked just like me! The Tandoori chicken is good as is, but it’s also good if you grill it for a bit and wrap it in naan.

It was so delicious that when I came back to my senses, I realized that I ate too much....

The igloo has two entrances and even fans, so the smell of the smoke from the grill isn’t that noticeable. However even if the smell sticks, you are at a hot spring facility, so you can just wash it away.

You can also order the Jingisukan at the ONSEN Shokudo, and during summer they have the BBQ house outdoors that also serves Jingisukan.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to Hoheikyo Onsen, which is popular with hot spring and curry connoisseurs. Curry and hot springs seem like an odd match, but both of them are amazing.

When you are in Sapporo and have free time for half a day, we recommend heading over to Hoheikyo Onsen, which is 1 hour away one-way, and experience a hot spring that makes your skin beautiful and authentic Indian curry.

If you visit during the winter, the experience of eating Jingisukan in a snow igloo will be something you won’t forget.

  • Hoheikyo Onsen
    • Address 608-2 Jozankei Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
    • Bathing Times: 10:00 AM - 10:30 PM (final admission 9:45 PM)
      Bathing Fee: Adults 1,000 yen, children 500 yen
      Closed: None
      Phone: 011-598-2410

*All prices in the article include tax. The prices will change after autumn 2019 due to consumption tax revision.

*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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