Jozankei retreat: Spend an extraordinary time with rich nature and soothing hot springs

  • : 1 day (one night and two days if you plan to stay overnight)
  • Route: Experience nature and activities → lunch → hot springs → explore the hot spring resort (→ spend the night)
  • MAP

A historic Sapporo hot spring resort

Useful Info
  • Jozankei is a hot spring resort located in the nature-rich Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It’s close to central Sapporo so you can choose to spend the night or go on a day trip to enjoy the hot springs.
  • If you’re going by public transport, you can take a bus.
  • The local bus from Sapporo Station takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, while the direct Kappa Liner bus takes about 1 hour.
  • IC cards, such as SAPICA, KITACA and SUICA can be used on the local bus.
  • The Kappa Liner is by reservation only (online or via the reservation hotline). Click here to make your booking through the website—you can also pay online (credit cards only).
  • There are also discount packages that include the bus fare and day tripper access to some hot springs, which can be purchased online or from various places including the Tourist Information Center, or the Jotetsu Bus Ticket Sales Counter at Sapporo Station. Click here to reserve the discount package online (credit card payments only. Only the Kappa Liner can be booked online).
  • If you plan to stay at a hotel or ryokan, they may offer a convenient shuttle bus service.

This hot spring resort has stolen the hearts of Sapporo locals for many years. Located within Sapporo’s city limits, Jozankei is about a 60-minute bus ride from the city center. Opened about 150 years ago, Jozankei has recently undergone upgrades of its restaurants and activities that take advantage of the area’s rich nature and changing seasons, making it a popular spot for a full day of fun.

To the right is the red brick Hokuren Building
Bus Stop 27

A convenient option for getting to Jozankei is the direct Kappa Liner bus. The bus stop is located in front of the red brick Hokuren Building, which can be found by heading right after exiting from the east side of JR Sapporo Station’s South Exit. The Kappa Liner leaves from Bus Stop 27.

Click here for more details on Jotetsu Bus Guide

Venture into a valley of deep natural beauty

Useful Info

  • Spring in the Jozankei area is from early April to May. Since it’s among the mountains, autumn and winter arrive slightly earlier than in central Sapporo, with autumn leaves reaching their peak from early to mid-October and snow starting to settle from late November to early December in an average year.

Once you arrive in Jozankei, the first thing you should do is try out some of the variety of activities in the area’s undulating valley and deep forests.

Canoeing is a top choice—you’ll feel at one with nature as you paddle down the river that winds through the valley and enjoy the seasonal colors of the area.

SUP, which involves standing on a board and paddling across the water’s surface, has also been gaining popularity recently. Jozankei’s canoe and SUP tours are guided and take place on a part of the river that has an average depth of one meter and a gentle current, so even beginners and children can join in.

If you want to get even closer to nature, a hike through the lush green forests is a must-try. Jozankei is surrounded by mountains, so it’s a popular spot for hiking. There’s a huge range of hiking trails to suit all levels—from easy trails that can be completed in a pair of sneakers to the more advanced expeditions that require hard-core hiking gear.

With plenty of snow activities to enjoy, the fun doesn’t stop when the snow begins to fall! Taking a snow-viewing rafting trip through the peaceful valley surrounded by snowy scenery is an unmissable experience. You might even see wild animals like deer and natural phenomena like frozen waterfalls.

The snow-viewing sauna activity is also one for the bucket list. After warming up in the sauna tent you can dive into the soft snow outside. This luxurious sauna experience is something you can only have in snow country.

Click here for more details on Activities in Jozankei
Links to Jozankei activity operators: 
Amuse Sports

Enjoy a relaxing lunch at the hot spring resort

Useful Info

  • At Jozankei, you can easily pop into various restaurants throughout a walkable area. From eateries that have been a part of the community for a long time to fancy bakeries, cafes and restaurants, you’re bound to find something to suit your tastes.
  • If you want to settle your itinerary in advance, reserving lunch at a hotel is also a great option.

After enjoying the outdoors, it’s time for a delicious lunch at the hot spring resort. You’ll find long-standing ramen and coffee shops where you can easily pop in and savor some simple Japanese cuisine.

Recently there’s been a rise in restaurant hubs in the area, offering a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. One of those spaces is the Yamanokazemachi area, which is situated next to accommodation facilities such as the Suizantei Club Jozankei and Hatagoya Jozankei Shoten.

This stylish space is home to a variety of stores, such as a traditional Japanese diner, bakery and Western confectionery shop.

The hand-made bread at the bakery is so popular that they often sell out during the morning, even on weekdays.

In front of the bakery is a free foot bath.

Kokoro no Sato Jozan Footbath & Lounge near the Nukumori no Yado Furukawa hotel is a relaxing spot that’s also well worth a visit.

Kokoro no Sato is separated into two areas, the Nono-terrace and Jozan. The Nono-terrace features an activity tour desk, a restaurant, a market and a sweets shop among other facilities.

From stew made with seasonal vegetables and local pork to a pudding that looks like an egg, the restaurant’s menu is packed with options that are as visually impressive as they are tasty—it’s hard to decide what to try!

The Jozan area features eight different footbaths with picturesque scenery all around.

When you use a footbath, you’ll receive a stacked box filled with homemade tea cakes and seasonal sweets, accompanied by a beverage.

Other new additions to Jozankei include a specialty shumai restaurant, as well as a fashionable café. The Zeneral Coffee Store, located just inside the hot spring resort when you enter from Sapporo, is also a good spot to take a break when taking a stroll through the area.

Soak in a hot spring or stay the night

Useful Info

  • Jozankei is home to 56 hot springs and is famous for its abundant hot spring water.
  • The water is clear, colorless sodium chloride spring water (neutral, hypotonic, hyperthermal spring). It warms the body all the way to the core.

After enjoying your lunch, you can enter a hot spring as a day tripper and spend the rest of your visit soaking in the soothing waters. There are a variety of styles of hot spring baths available in the resort, from long-established ryokan to luxury ryokan and huge spa resorts, a number of which are open for day-trip bathing.

Jozankei is also known for its autumn foliage, and the view from the hot springs is exceptional. From the open-air baths, you can enjoy the view of rich greenery in spring and summer, colorful autumn leaves in fall, and snowy landscapes in winter.

It’s important to remember the rules about bathing in hot springs in Japan. Here, you bathe in the nude—you must wash your body thoroughly before entering the bath and be sure not to wear a towel in the bath. Most hot springs don’t allow people with tattoos to use their facilities, but there are some that allow you to enter if you cover your tattoos with tattoo concealing tape or a shirt. There are also private hot springs and guest rooms that come with their own hot spring bath. If you have tattoos, it’s best to check whether you can enter each hot spring before going or reserve a private hot spring or guest room with a hot spring bath included.

Get the most from the hot spring resort

Useful Info

  • JOZANKEI NATURE LUMINARIE is a nighttime light show held between Futami Park and Futami-Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge, open only to guests staying at Jozankei’s accommodation facilities. The event is usually held from June to October.
  • Jozankei Onsen Yukitouro (Snow Candle Way) is a snow candle event held at the Jozankei Shrine. The event is usually held from late January to early February.

Jozankei is a great spot for a day trip, but if you have time, it’s worth staying the night to savor the experience.

Jozankei is home to the legend of the kappa, a mythical river creature, so there are many kappa statues dotted around the resort—keep an eye out for them as you take a stroll through the streets.

There are various ways to enjoy the hot springs, including hand and foot baths and Ontama-no-yu where you can boil eggs in the hot spring water.

As a guest at one of Jozankei’s accommodation facilities, you can also enjoy the guests-only JOZANKEI NATURE LUMINARIE event that turns the resort into a beautiful world of color with illuminations and projection mapping. The event is held every year from early June to late October.

From late January to early February when the resort is covered in snow, you can enjoy a snow candle event called Jozankei Onsen Yukitouro (Snow Candle Way). Day and night, Jozankei has so much to see and do, so it’s well worth booking a room at one of the resort’s accommodation facilities.

Click here for more details on Jozankei Nature Luminarie
Click here for more details on Yukitouro