How to enjoy Hot Springs and Fall Foliage in Mt.Tokachidake near Ryounkaku

If you want to enjoy the autumn foliage in Hokkaido, the Tokachidake area is one of the most famous spots. Among them, the views from Ryounkaku, a hot spring inn located high in the mountains, are particularly recommended.

Ryounkaku serves as the gateway to climbing various peaks in the Tokachidake Mountain Range, including Furano-dake, Tokachi-dake, and Biei-Fuji, which together form the “roof” of Hokkaido.

Situated at an altitude of 1,280 meters, Ryounkaku is a hot spring inn that attracts many tourists due to its popularity for mountain climbing. The onsen here uses natural spring water sourced directly from the mountain above, making it a truly exceptional hot spring. Be sure to try it out.

How to park your car

Just above the inn is a large parking lot. From June to October, during the climbing season, the lot often overflows with cars on weekends, stretching onto the road. There are no guards, so follow the example of other parked cars when you arrive.

First, Enjoy the Scenery

Behind the Ryounkaku building is an observation deck offering a magnificent view of the Tokachi Mountain Range. Equipped with tables and chairs, it’s a popular resting spot for climbers who have completed their hikes.

This is one of the best places to view the autumn foliage.

For those who want to enjoy the foliage up close, consider hiking from the trailhead to a spot called “Sandan-yama Junction.” It’s an easy hike without steep climbs, making it a leisurely experience. In about 30 minutes, you’ll reach Sandan-yama Junction, an open area with a clear view of the “Nukkakushi Crater.” From there, you can climb the mountain on the right to head towards Furano-dake or go left to reach Sandan-yama.

Furano-dake and Tokachi-dake are each around 2,000 meters high, equivalent to 3,000-meter class mountains in Honshu. Ensure you have adequate mountain gear for these climbs. Additionally, the bear population in Hokkaido has been increasing in recent years, leading to more bear-related incidents in the mountains. Be prepared with items like bells and bear repellent spray to alert bears to your presence. Entering the mountains in groups is also crucial.

Other Activities

In summer, many people also come by bicycle. The final steep climb is challenging, but the view at the top is breathtaking. And don’t forget the onsen!

Winter is also a wonderful time to visit. The winter scenery is spectacular, and the area is known for backcountry skiing. However, backcountry activities are at your own risk, so ensure you have sufficient gear and always be accompanied by an experienced guide. This area is prone to many accidents, so always exercise caution.