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Top 10 Hokkaido Onsen Hot Spring Wonderlands Hidden in Japan's Deep North!

Top 10 Hokkaido Onsen Hot Spring Wonderlands Hidden in Japan's Deep North!

Date published: 19 March 2020
Last updated: 22 February 2021

In Japan's wild northern island of Hokkaido, onsen hot springs can be found in a variety of tranquil places. With so many volcanically active areas, such as Asahi-dake, the Shiretoko Mountain Range, Mount Meakan, Mount Io (Atosanupuri) and Mount Usu, the island is bubbling with activity.

Many of these Hokkaido onsen hot springs can be found in breathtaking areas. Some can be found beside scenic coastlines, while others are nestled within evergreen-speckled valleys. What's more, there is a massive variety of hot spring water types - including some with organic plant matter. One could call Hokkaido a hot spring paradise.

So what are some of the best Hokkaido onsen to visit? Here we'll introduce Hokkaido’s popular hot spring areas you'll want to add to your bucket list!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Noboribetsu Onsen: Offering Various Kinds of Hokkaido Onsen Waters
  2. 2. Toyako Onsen: Abundant Quantity of Hot Spring Water and Beautiful View
  3. 3. Jozankei Onsen: Convenient Access from Sapporo Station
  4. 4. Yunokawa Onsen: Located along the Ocean near Hakodate Airport
  5. 5. Tokachigawa Onsen: A Rare Plant Moor Hot Spring!
  6. 6. Sounkyo Onsen: Located at the Base of Daisetsuzan
  7. 7. Akanko Onsen: Located Beside Lake Akan, where Marimo Grow
  8. 8. Kawayu Onsen: Sulfur Spring Flowing from Mount Io
  9. 9. Lake Shikotsu Onsen: Hot spring immersed in nature, near New Chitose Airport
  10. 10. Utoro Onsen: Hot-spring paradise where you can enjoy the nature of Shiretoko

1. Noboribetsu Onsen: Offering Various Kinds of Hokkaido Onsen Waters

One of the famous Hokkaido onsen hot spring areas, Noboribetsu Onsen's source comes from a Jigokudani (Hell Valley), where steam can be seen rising. From here, 10,000 tons of water gushes out a day and is directed to nearby hotels.

This area also has nine different hot spring water qualities, and you can feel the difference at various locations.

Jigokudani itself is also a sightseeing spot in Noboribetsu, and there's a walkway just so that you can explore around the area. Around this Hokkaido onsen area, there are many statues of Oni (demons) - the symbol of Noboribetsu.

One of Noboribetsu Onsen’s sources, Jigokudani
The hot spring district of Noboribetsu Onsen in the valley
Access:
Around 1 hour and 50 minutes by Kosoku Onsen-Go bus from JR Sapporo Station, one bus per day.
Feature:
9 different water qualities; each hot spring has a high temperature ranging from 45~90℃. You can enjoy various water quality hot springs and outdoor hot springs at hotels.
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
14 hotels. Along Noboribetsu Onsen Dori, there are many restaurants and gift shops.
Hot Spring Quality and Effect:
-Sulfur Spring: Chronic dermatopathia and others
-Common Salt Spring: Chronic dermatopathia and others
-Vitriol Spring: Anemia and others
-Radium Spring: Neuralgia and others
Main Hotels:
Dai-ichi Takimotokan Hotel, Noboribetsu Grand Hotel, and Hotel Mahoroba
  • Dai-ichi Takimotokan
    • Address Noboribetsu Onsen-cho 55 , Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, 059-0595
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    • Nearest Station Noboribetsu Station (Muroran Main Line)

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2. Toyako Onsen: Abundant Quantity of Hot Spring Water and Beautiful View

Lake Toya is a colorful lake that was created by ancient volcanic activity. There is an island in the middle of the lake and the beautiful view is registered with Global Geoparks.

There are more than 10 hotels around the lakeside and many hotels that accommodate day trip hot springs. Also, there are free hand and foot baths where you can enjoy the perfect Hokkaido onsen. Fireworks festivals are held every night from late April to October.

Island in Lake Toya and Mount Yotei
Fireworks festival held every night from late April to October
Access:
Around 2 hours and 45 minutes by bus from JR Sapporo Station
Feature:
Splendid view of Lake Toya while enjoying the famous Hokkaido onsen there; plenty of hot spring water with 1400 liters per minute.
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
14 hotels and inns, there are also guest-houses and boarding houses. Various restaurants and gift shops in the hot spring district.
Hot Spring Quality:
Natrium, calcium – chloride spring
Helps With:
Cuts, poor blood circulation, and others
Main Hotels:
Toyako Manseikaku Hotel Lakeside Terrace, Zekkei No Yuyado Toya Kohantei and Toya Kanko Hotel

3. Jozankei Onsen: Convenient Access from Sapporo Station

The popular Hokkaido onsen hot spring area Jozankei is located 26km south of central Sapporo, about an hour's drive. This historical hot spring was developed in 1886 when the Buddhist monk Miizumi Jozan was led to the hot spring source by the local Ainu people. It lies in a lush valley, and it is also a popular location in autumn for the fall foliage.

The hot spring district along the valley.

One can enjoy a splendid outdoor hot spring at a hotel
Access:
About a 1-hour bus ride from JR Sapporo Station
Feature:
Colorless and transparent water with a temperature between 50-80℃
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
Around 18 large hotels and long-standing inns. The hot spring district has Gensen Park, hand and foot baths, and walking paths.
Hot Spring Quality:
Natrium - chloride spring
Helps With:
Anemia, neuralgia, and others
Main Hotels:
Jozankei Manseikaku Hotel Milione, Jozankei View Hotel, and Hotel Shika-no-Yu
  • Hotel Shikanoyu
    • Address Minami-ku Jozankeionsen Nishi 3 -32 , Jozankei, Hokkaido, 061-2303
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    • Nearest Station Densha jigyosho mae Station (Sapporo Streetcar Yamahana Line)

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4. Yunokawa Onsen: Located along the Ocean near Hakodate Airport

Yunokawa Onsen is located in a convenient sightseeing location that is 5 minutes away by car from Hakodate Airport and about 15 minutes by car from Hakodate City. It is a historical hot spring that was discovered in 1653. The first hot spring facility was opened in 1886, and the area kept developing.

Facing the Tsugaru Strait, many inns provide an outdoor hot spring with an ocean view. Also, the tropical botanical garden is famous for monkeys enjoying the hot spring during the winter.

A view of the Tsugaru Strait and Shimokita Peninsula on Honshu, to the right a view of Mount Hakodate can be seen
Yunokawa Onsen specialty, monkeys enjoying the hot spring
Access:
About a 6-hour bus ride from JR Sapporo Station
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
There are about 19 hotels and Japanese-style restaurants and inns. There is no central hot spring district with inns, restaurants, or gift shops.
Feature:
Every minute, 4,850 liters of water springs out from the 22 sources. The average temperature is 65℃.
Hot Spring Quality:
Natrium - calcium chloride spring
Helps With:
Stiff shoulders, bruises, sprains, and others
Main Hotels:
Yunokawa Prince Nagisatei, Yunokawa Takubokutei, Bourou Noguchi Hakodate Ryokan
  • Takuboku Tei
    • Address Yunokawa-cho 1-18-15, Hakodate, Hokkaido, 042-0932
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    • Nearest Station Yunokawa-onsen Station (Hakodate Tram Line 2 / Hakodate Tram Line 5 )
      4 minutes on foot

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5. Tokachigawa Onsen: A Rare Plant Moor Hot Spring!

Located on the riverbank of Tokachigawa (Tokachi River), the hot spring gushes out from 500 to 700 meters underground with a temperature of about 55 ~ 60℃ and has a plant moor water quality.

Unlike mineral hot springs, moor hot springs are alkaline containing humic substances derived from peat, and have a soft texture. It has a reputation for making your skin smooth.

The water is reddish brown with a unique odor and slight sliminess
Access:
About 30 minutes by car from JR Obihiro Station
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
9 hotels are located along the Tokachigawa riverbank, the inn with moor hot spring is in that area. However, there is no hot spring district with inns and restaurants.
Feature:
Alkaline with a reddish-brown color.
Hot Spring Quality:
Weak alkaline hypotonicity hot spring
Helps With:
Neuralgia, arthralgia, chronic dermatitis, and others
Main Hotels:
Hotel Daiheigen, Sasai Hotel, Sanyoan Ryokan
  • Hotel Daiheigen
    • Address Tokachigawa Onsen Minami 15-1, Otofuke, Hokkaido, 080-0263
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    • Nearest Station Satsunai Station (Nemuro Main Line)

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  • Sasai Hotel
    • Address Tokachigawa Onsen Kita15-1, Otofuke, Hokkaido, 080-0262
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    • Nearest Station Satsunai Station (Nemuro Main Line)

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  • Sanyoan
    • Address Tokachigawa Onsen Minami 13, Otofuke, Hokkaido, 080-0263
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    • Nearest Station Satsunai Station (Nemuro Main Line)

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6. Sounkyo Onsen: Located at the Base of Daisetsuzan

The mountain resort hot spring area sitting at an altitude of 670m is located at the base of Mount Kuro of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group. You can easily reach the 7th station of Mount Kuro by using the ropeway and lift from the hot spring district. Sounkyo is a popular Hokkaido onsen hot spring site known for its picturesque valley.

Beautiful view from the hot spring
The ropeway leading to Mount Kuro from Sounkyo Onsen
Access:
An hour and a half drive by car from JR Asahikawa Station
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
17 hotels in the area
Feature:
Located at the base of Mount Kuro of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, each hotel has its own hot spring source.
Hot Spring Quality:
Mainly simple thermal hot spring
Helps With:
Neuralgia, poor circulation, arthralgia, and others
Main Hotels:
Sounkyo Kanko Hotel, Hotel Taisetsu, Sounkyo Choyotei
  • Choyo Tei
    • Address Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa, Hokkaido, 078-1795
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    • Nearest Station Kamikawa Station (Sekihoku Main Line)

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7. Akanko Onsen: Located Beside Lake Akan, where Marimo Grow

A famous hot spring located on Lake Akan's riverside, where the natural treasure, marimo (moss balls), grow. There are areas where you can feel Earth’s energy where pockets would blow out mud with volcanic gas on the lakeside.

There is a large hotel facing the lake, and you can get a great view of Lake Akan, Mount Oakan, and Mount Meakan from the outdoor hot spring. There is a traditional Ainu village near the hot spring district where you can experience the Ainu culture.

Hotel Akankoso’s large bath area
Lake Akan and Mount Oakan
Access:
About an hour and a half by car from JR Kushiro Station. An hour and 15 minutes by the airport shuttle bus from Tancho Kushiro Airport
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
There is a large hotel on the lakeside, restaurants, Ainu gift shops, and foot and hand baths. At the Ainu Kotan, there are gift shops operated by Ainu people and also a theater to enjoy the traditional dance.
Features:
Major sightseeing area of eastern Hokkaido, located at the lakeside of Lake Akan, and tourist attractions like marimo and Ainu Kotan
Hot Spring Quality:
Mainly simple thermal hot spring
Helps With:
Neuralgia, poor circulation, and others
Main Hotels:
Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga, New Akan Hotel, Hotel Akankoso
  • Hotel Akankoso
    • Address Akankoonsen1-5-10, Akankohan, Hokkaido, 085-0467
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    • Nearest Station Mashu Station (Senmo Main Line)

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8. Kawayu Onsen: Sulfur Spring Flowing from Mount Io

Mount Io (Atosanupuri), located 3km away from the hot spring district, was a sulfur mine. Fumarolic activity continues, and the smell of sulfur still lingers in the desolate landscape.

The hotels of Kawayu Onsen are located around the river where the hot spring flows out of Mount Io. There is a large foot bath in the area. With plenty of hot water, the hot spring area has 100% of the water coming directly from the source.

Volcanic smoke rising from Mount Io, the source of Kawayu Onsen
Sulfur hot spring piped directly from the source (Meiyu-no-Mori Hotel Kitafukuro)
Access:
About an hour and half by car from JR Kushiro Station
Feature:
Few hotels and the hot spring district is spread out; however, due to 100% of the spring water being direct from the source, many people come for hot spring treatment. It is the main sightseeing base for visiting Mount Io, Lake Mashu, and Lake Kussharo.
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
There are 8 hotels in the Kawayu district and 1 near JR Kawayu Onsen Station
Hot Spring Quality:
Strong acidic hydrogen sulfide inclusive, vitriol spring
Helps With:
Chronic dermatitis, neuralgia, and others
Main Hotels:
Kawayu Kanko Hotel, Yunokaku Ikedaya, Meiyu-no-Mori Hotel Kitafukuro
  • Kawayu Kanko Hotel
    • Address Kawayu Onsen 1-2-30, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, 088-3465
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    • Nearest Station Kawayu-Onsen Station (Senmo Main Line)
      49 minutes on foot

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  • Yunokaku Ikedaya
    • Address Kawayu Onsen2-6-25, Teshikaga, Hokkaido, 088-3465
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    • Nearest Station Kawayu-Onsen Station (Senmo Main Line)

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9. Lake Shikotsu Onsen: Hot spring immersed in nature, near New Chitose Airport

9. Lake Shikotsu Onsen: Hot spring immersed in nature, near New Chitose Airport

This hot spring opened in 1974 in the hot-spring town on the east side of Lake Shikotsu. The town is a bustling hub of boats arriving and departing, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Lake Shikotsu is a lake with crystalline waters, and it had been determined to be the best water quality in Japan for eleven consecutive years. No wonder why activities like canoeing and diving are so popular here. In winter, the Lake Shikoku Ice Festival takes place.

Access:
Around 30 minutes by car from New Chitose Airport.
Features:
A hot-spring resort surrounded by nature in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Rich hot waters.
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
There are six inns around Lake Shikotsu.
Hot Spring Quality:
Hypotonic low alkaline hot spring, neutral hypotonic high-temperature hot spring.
Helps With:
Chronic dermatitis, neuralgia, and others
Main Hotels:
Lake Shikotsu Tsuraga Resort Spa Mizu no Uta; Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Besso Ao no Za; Kyumakura Shikotsuko Hotel and Honsen; Shikotsuko Daiichi Hotel Suizantei; Marukoma Hot Spring Hotel; Lakeside Villa Suimeikaku.
  • Shikotsuko Onsen
    支笏湖温泉
    • Address Shikotsuko-Onsen, Chitose Shi, Hokkaido, 066-0281, Japan
    • Phone Number 0123-25-2201
  • Marukoma Onsen Ryokan
    • Address Shikotsuko Poropinai 7, Chitose, Hokkaido, 066-0287
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    • Nearest Station Makomanai Station (Namboku Line)

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10. Utoro Onsen: Hot-spring paradise where you can enjoy the nature of Shiretoko

10. Utoro Onsen: Hot-spring paradise where you can enjoy the nature of Shiretoko

Surrounded by magnificent nature, the Shiretoko Peninsula, famous nationally and abroad, is located above the Kuril Volcanic Belt, and is rich in hot springs. In the Utoro District, where the hot-spring town is located, there are many inns along the coast and on higher ground. Many tourists use them as a base when they go sightseeing in Shiretoko.

Access:
Around 45 minutes from JR Shiretoko Shari Station by Shari Bus “Shiretoko Airport Liner”
Scale of the Hot Spring Area:
There are 16 inns, hotels, and guest houses.
Features:
Since it faces the sea of Okhotsk, there are many scenic spots to enjoy the sunset, and hot springs from where you can see the drifting ice floating to the horizon.
Hot spring quality:
Chloride/hydrogen carbonate spring
Helps With:
Neuralgia, fatigue, chronic skin diseases and more.
Main hotels:
Kitakobushi Shiretoko Resort & Hotel; Shiretoko Daiichi Hotel; KIKI Shiretoko Natural Resort; Hotel Shiretoko
  • Utoro Onsen
    ウトロ温泉
    • Address Utorokagawa, Shari Gun Shari Cho, Hokkaido, 099-4351, Japan
    • Phone Number 0152-22-2125

Text by: Minna no Kotobasha

* The information in this article is as of January 2021. Please check the official website for the latest information.

*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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