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Sounkyo onsen village

Sounkyo is a touristy hot spring resort in a narrow valley of Daisetsuzan National Park with a pleasant village center, onsen baths and beautiful nearby waterfalls. It is also a good base for walks and hiking tours into the national park. Sounkyo has one public bath house, the Kurodake no Yu. Located in the town center, it offers indoor and outdoor baths with limited views of the surrounding landscape.

More hot spring bathing is available at the town's many ryokan, several of which open their baths to non-staying guests during daytime and for typically around 1000 yen.

The Sounkyo Ropeway departs from next to the Sounkyo Visitor Center in the recently redeveloped village center. It is followed by a chair lift, which brings you to within a 1-2 hour hike of the summit of Mount Kurodake (1984 meters). The classic 1-2 day tour for advanced hikers continues from the summit of Kurodake to the summit of Asahidake, from where one can descend to Asahidake Onsen.

Down in the valley, three kilometers from Sounkyo, there are two beautiful waterfalls, Ginga no Taki and Ryusei no Taki, which can be viewed from a large parking lot or from a small observation deck reached via a steep walking trail in about 15-20 minutes from the parking lot. Another five kilometers up the valley is the Obako rock formation.

Sounkyo is a popular autumn leaf viewing spot. The peak of the season normally takes place in the second half of September in the higher elevations of Mount Kurodake, while down in the valley the colors are usually best around mid October.

How to get there
There are seven direct buses per day from Asahikawa Station to Sounkyo (50 minutes, 1900 yen one way). Alternatively, you can ride a JR train to Kamikawa Station (40 minutes, around 2000 yen by limited express train or 70 minutes, 1040 yen by local train from Asahikawa) and catch a bus from there (30 minutes, 770 yen, 11 buses per day). See a link to the timetable under "English Links" below.

Some ryokan in Sounkyo provide a free shuttle bus for staying guests from Asahikawa or even Sapporo.