The primary draw card to Asahikawa during the winter months is without question the quality of snowboarding and skiing to be had.
Asahikawa sits at the foot of the Taisetsu mountain range (Taisetsuzan) making it the perfect base to launch skiing and snowboarding adventures to some of the finest powder locations Hokkaido has to offer.
Famous places like
Kamui Ski Links, Asahidake, Furano, Kurodake, and Tokachidake, are all accessible via Asahikawa. As an added bonus, skiers and snowboarders have the luxury of relaxing in the city at night and enjoying some of the local food, beer, and entertainment.
The transport system to the mountains is not perfect and we would definitely recommend hiring a car for a few days to get the most out of your time. Buses to Kamui Ski Links, Furano, and Asahidake are available, though you will enjoy much more freedom with your own wheels. If you do decide on the public transport option, it would be a good idea to plan a two or three day stay at your destination to minimize the down time due to transport. Kamui Ski Links has no on-hill accommodation but is very close to the city, Asahidake is littered with hot-spring hotels on the mountain, while Furano offers a broad choice of accommodation of all types.
The advantage of starting in Asahikawa is the ease of hunting for the best conditions on any given day. More often than not, when the weather closes some of the bigger mountains, Kamui Ski Links is available as a back-up (closures at Kamui are very rare).
Whichever option you decide to pursue, you can almost certainly expect great powder, relatively minimal mountain traffic, inexpensive ski passes, friendly locals, and a great cultural adventure you'll not easily forget.
As popular as skiing and snowboarding are in this part of Hokkaido, there are many other winter activities and attractions that should not be overlooked. The annual winter festival held in early February is an eye-pleasing spectacle of snow, ice, light and fireworks. The main shopping street Kaimono Koen is lined on both sides from start to finish with ice sculptures made by teams from all over the world. The effect is stunning, particularly at night when they are illuminated with colored light. Another winter activity to be had in Asahikawa is dog-sledding. Not what you would really be thinking as an option at the start of your trip but there you go, it's available to you in Asahikawa. As a change of pace, the now famous Asahiyama Zoo is open during the winter. The zoo has become Asahikawa's number one tourist attraction, so if you get the chance, check it out along the way.
Asahikawa is cold but beautiful during the winter. It provides a great base for enjoying all things winter. You will not be disappointed.
Asahikawa's Asahiyama Zoo has become the city's most popular tourist attraction in recent years, replacing Asahikawa ramen (hot noodle soup) for that particular title. With a ridiculously low entry fee and plenty to see, it's really a great day out...
Getting the greatest value out of your time and money in central Hokkaido has never been easier. Kitoushi Forest Park and adjacent Canmore Ski Village can be found a mere 25~30 minutes by car from Asahikawa City centre in Higashikawa Town. It sits at the foot of the Daisetsuzan mountain range, making it the perfect starting point for a thorough tour of central and northern Hokkaido ski fields.