• Artist's rendering of the completed open air bath area in the hot spring facilities. The layout is designed for maximum enjoyment of starry skies and natural environs. (Image provided by Sora)

    Eastern Hokkaido Tokachi region's Obihiro based venture firm "Sora" has officially decided to use the hot spring source from long-esteemed Obihiro hotel "Fukui Hotel", which became a Sora subsidiar...

  • An ‘Ice Fall Shrine’ ice sculpture has been established again this year at the site of the ‘47th Sounkyo Onsen Ice Fall Festival’ held at the Sounkyo hot-spring resort in the town of Kamikawa in northern Hokkaido, where visitors attached coins to a ‘sacred ball’ made of ice in the hope of bringing good luck.

  • At Lake Kuttari in the town of Shintoku located in the Eastern Hokkaido Tokachi region, holes have been cut in the frozen lake to replicate the "avanto" practice of bathing in cold river water after enjoying a sauna, in place of a cold-water bath. A staff member from the Embassy of Finland, the birthplace of the avanto custom, visited on February 7. The staff member bathed in the Lake Kuttari avanto and expressed awe at, "the sensation of free openness that feels like you are becoming one with nature."

  • From February 4, ‘Toyako Onsen Winter Fireworks 2022’ was held for a limited 10-day period in the hot-spring resort of Toyako Onsen in central Hokkaido, with a total of 250 fireworks lighting up the night sky. Firework displays in the hot-spring resort have a long history, after they began as a way of invigorating the area when it experienced a sharp drop in the number of tourists after the eruption of Mt. Usu. The Toyako Onsen Tourist Association held the event again this year to bring a little light relief to the hot-spring resort, where many hotels have closed due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

  • The Lake Akan illuminations ‘Ten-en-no-Mori’ (Heavenly Garden Forest) have begun at a special venue next to the lakeside parking lot in Akanko Onsen in the city of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido. Approximately 30,000 LEDs and the like are set to music to create a magical spectacle amid the winter forest in Akan.

  • ‘Hunting time: Kucha’ a monitor tour in which participants could experience Ainu-style camping was held from October 8 to 10 at Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho in the city of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido. Participants stayed in ‘kucha’ (small, temporary huts) made from pine trees, and came into contact with part of the Ainu culture. The Akan Tourism Association & Community Development Organization, which sponsored the event, is aiming to introduce the program as a new sightseeing tour from 2022.

  • The autumn foliage has reached its peak around Taisetsu Kogen Onsen in Sounkyo in the town of Kamikawa in northern Hokkaido. The red rowan and yellow butterfly maple (acer tschonoskii) leaves created beautiful patterns amid the sunlight during the fine weather on September 25.

  • The town of Oketo in Eastern Hokkaido's Okhotsk Region completed building the five overnight rental trailer houses that were being constructed within the grounds of "Oketo Katsuyama Onsen Yuu-Yu", the town's only hot spring facility. The trailer houses will be available for overnight rental starting on October 1. The facilities will take reservations for October and November starting on September 10. This new tourism resource launch was prompted in part by outdoor activities growing in popularity out of the desire to avoid crowds in closed-in spaces amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and also in part by an expected continuation of the increase in families and individual travelers even after the pandemic subsides.

  • The hot spring districts of Noboribetsu and Toyako are internationally popular Central Hokkaido tourist areas. And a new style of sauna is popping up there that allows users to adjust the temperature and humidity on their own, with an eye on business after the COVID-19 pandemic tapers down.

  • The Meto Onsen hot spring in Eastern Hokkaido's Ashoro Town is known as the oldest hot spring in the Tokachi region. This autumn, it will launch new outdoor sauna facilities, a mini-pool, and dome shaped camping tents.