Activities & Tours

Asahiyama Zoo

The Asahiyama Zoo is a highlight of Asahikawa activities, and is a good choice for an inexpensive half day endeavour. The Asahiyama Zoo features various cold weather type animals such as seals and polar bears in unique enclosures that have pop up perspex hoods, tubes or windows to enable up-close viewing, as well as a few animals such as giraffes that seem a fraction out of place in Hokkaido.

The emperor penguin parades are an absolute hit and it’s amazing to watch these cute animals dawdle down a designated pathway whilst they pose for the tourists to take their picture! Feeding time for the seals and polar bears is also very entertaining.

The Asahiyama Zoo is open from 10:30am to 3:30pm during winter and there are various inexpensive buses from various locations in Asahikawa to the Asahiyama Zoo. From the train station (or from near the Asahikawa Grand Hotel) you can take bus 41, 42 or 47. There are about 2 buses per hour, and the trip takes approximately 40 minutes.

It is generally extremely cold at the Asahikawa zoo during winter. Despite there being some indoor displays and various places to warm up, it’s advisable to dress as warmly as you can. The zoo has gift shops selling cute stuffed animal toys, and simple meals are available at a few cafes. They even sell deer katsu curry, which seems really wrong after you’ve just been looking at live deer!

Other Asahikawa Activities

Most hotels can provide you with an English tourist map, which outlines various attractions within Asahikawa and surrounds. Alternatively the tourist information centre at the station is fantastic, and there are a few English speaking staff who can provide maps and information for things to do in the area. Examples of some of the Asahikawa attractions include museums and sake breweries.

The Otokoyama Sake Museum is a large establishment showcasing Japan’s national drink. It’s 6km from Asahikawa station and you can catch a bus there.

The Takasago Shuzo Sake Brewery is held within a historic building and in addition to sake tastings and sales, there are various artefacts on display. It is a 1.3km walk from the train station.

The Asahikawa Winter Festival is held in early February, with large exhibits of snow statues and sculptures. It’s not quite as grandiose as the Sapporo Snow Festival, but impressive nonetheless.
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