Asahikawa is one of northern Hokkaido’s central, core cities. Sometimes called the “roof of Hokkaido” (Hokkaido no yane), Asahikawa is surrounded by snowy mountains and lush nature, which provide endless things to do.

You can climb Mt. Asahi or Mt. Kuro, sample sake made with fresh water, ski on fine powder snow, or warm up in the cold months with Asahikawa ramen.

Here, we’ve carefully selected ten unforgettable things to do in Asahikawa.

1. Asahiyama Zoo: A recreation of the animals’ wild habitat

Feel the power. (Photo: Tsuyoshi Yoshida)

About 40 minutes by car from JR Asahikawa Station, Asahiyama Zoo is one of Hokkaido’s most popular spots. Here, you can find “behavioral exhibitions” that focus on the inherent abilities and behaviors of the animals themselves.

The tanks allow you to see animals acting as they would in the wild, but in a way that lets you get up close, such as the vertical pipe tank for the seals, and the tunnel passageways for the penguins.

There is also a popular “mogu mogu time” (munch munch time), where you can see the animals being fed. Sometimes it can get quite lively, with strange scenarios such as the tiger projectile peeing(?!).

In the winter, you can see the Penguin Walk (Photo: Yoshida Kajiwa)

The zoo does not keep a huge variety of different species or rare animals, but there is plenty to see year-round. In the summer you can see orangutans searching for food from high up above, and in the summer, penguins waddling across the snow for a bit of exercise.

Asahiyama Zoo (Asahikawa): Complete Guide to Hokkaido’s Incredible Zoo!

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken – Sanitizer installed – Ventilation measures in place – Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature – Guests are required to wear masks

Multilingual support
Brochures are provided in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese

Asahiyama Zoo
Kuranuma, Higashiasahikawa-cho, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido

Book Now ▶ Asahiyama Zoo, Biei Blue Pond, and Farm Tomita Day Trip in Hokkaido

2. Eat Asahikawa Ramen: A warming noodle soup for cold days

Noodles with a seafood and pork broth “double” soup (Photo: Tsuyoshi Yoshida)

Asahikawa ramen is one of Hokkaido’s local specialty ramen. The complex broth is made from seafood, pork bones, chicken broth, vegetables, and other things, and is topped with medium-fine noodles that have a low water content. The surface is covered with lard oil, which is said to be a “way to stop the ramen from cooling even in the freezing temperatures of Asahikawa” (though opinion varies).

The “Asahikawa Ramen Village” is almost like a ramen theme park.

There are tons of ramen spots around the city, and the most popular ones have lines out the front before they even open. If you’re not sure which one to try out, we recommend Asahikawa Ramen Village.

There are loads of popular restaurants competing with each other for the best-tasting ramen. Although Asahikawa ramen is known for its soy base (shoyu), there are no…

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