The hot-spring town of Jozankei is the perfect place to escape for a relaxing weekend soaking in the healing waters of myriad natural geothermal baths. This full-featured resort town just an hour outside of Sapporo has about 20 hotels, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops.
In the fall, Jozankei is also a popular base for foliage watchers looking to enjoy the scenery of the changing leaves. The onsens themselves are true volcanic hot springs laden with healing minerals, and during the winter, the nearby Toyohira River mixes with the spring waters, enveloping the town in inviting steam. As with most onsens in Japan, baths are divided into men’s and women’s sections, and bathing is done in the nude. The nearby Jozankei Dam and Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort are also popular attractions in the area.
Jozankei sits south of Sapporo along Route 230, which is a beautiful scenic route through the Toyohira River valley. If you’re not driving yourself, you can catch a bus from the Sapporo Station Bus Terminal, where buses depart a couple times an hour. Buses also connect to Jozankei from Makomanai Station, at the end of the Namboku Subway Line.