Asahikawa City is located approximately in the center of Hokkaido, with a view of the Taisetsu Mountains and many rivers that water the plains of Hokkaido, including the Ishikari River. It is the second largest city in Hokkaido and is a beautiful blend of urban life and nature. Because it is located in the Kamikawa Basin, it is known for having hot summers even in cool Hokkaido, while it is famous for cold winters, and the coldest temperature ever recorded in Japan, -41°C. Even with the severe weather, Asahikawa’s rich natural resources and the colorful changing seasons make a town that lets you see the beauty of the four seasons.
Surrounded by the Taisetsu Mountains, Asahikawa has good water and good air, the important ingredients for good food. In this rich environment, Asahikawa’s produce, which every grower works wholeheartedly to grow, is excellent.
● Asahikawa’s Water
Asahikawa’s water comes from springs whose source is snowmelt from Mount Asahi, the Taisetsu Mountain range’s highest peak, called “the roof of Hokkaido.” The melted snow is filtered naturally over years as it seeps through the rocks and down the mountain until it bubbles up in springs. It has lots of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and the rice and vegetables cultivated with that water are extraordinary.
● Asahikawa’s Rice
Asahikawa is the best place for rice in Hokkaido. Also, because the rice harvest is the largest in Japan, Hokkaido can boast of its position as a national rice production region. Water from the Taisetsu Mountains and the unique weather, with the wide temperature swings between night and day, allow the growth of plentiful harvests of rice. With the rich environment, weather, growers’ skill and hard work, the best rice in Hokkaido can be grown here.
● Asahikawa’s Vegetables
The basin’s special weather pattern of extreme temperature differences between night and day create firm vegetables, making them sweeter and gives the vegetables a richer flavor. Taking advantage of the vast land and climate, growers aim to produce safer, more reliable vegetables, using clean farming techniques to grow clean produce.
● Asahikawa’s Seafood
Located in the center of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is roughly the same distance from the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the Okhotsk Sea. As such, it is like a fishing port without the ocean, drawing fresh seafood from the three seas around it, and called “North Hokkaido’s food distribution hub.” So we can always provide guests with fresh, and delicious seafood.
● Asahikawa’s Meat
Asahikawa has had a flourishing pork industry for a long time. There are meat producers around Asahikawa. We are located in the ideal environment where safe, reliable, and fresh meat is always available.
Seven well-known gardens of Hokkaido are located along the 200 kilometer Production running north to south from Asahikawa to Furano to Tokachi. Each garden is filled with its own character utilizing Hokkaido’s climate and scenery. It is a tourist route with natural scenery and mountains to see, activities to enjoy, and rich food to satisfy everyone. Asahikawa Grand Hotel is associated with the route as its official hotel.
● Gardens in Asahikawa
Ueno Farm. Heal your heart with the colorful flowers in a garden where light and wind play.
This garden was based on an English garden while preserving the spirit of Hokkaido. With flowers tailored to the climate, this is truly “Hokkaido’s Garden,” filled with the charms of the north country. The shop where you can buy seedlings and gifts is also popular. Sayuki Ueno, who designed this garden, also designed “Kaze no Garden”
● Asahikawa Grand Hotel’s Special Hokkaido Garden Path Lunch
Under the supervision of Sayuki Ueno, Manabu Takeda, the chief chef of Champ D’or on the 17th floor of Asahikawa Grand Hotel, has created a lunch with the theme “Ueno Farm on your plate” that reflects the changing seasons of Hokkaido. The lunch items change with the changing seasons and include vegetables from around Asahikawa and seafood from fishing ports around Hokkaido to create a special lunch. You can enjoy a delicious, and healthy season in Hokkaido.
On September 20, 1890, three villages were established in Kamikawa County, Asahikawa Village, Nagayama Village, and Kamui Village. From 1891, colonizing soldiers were settled there, and the development of Asahikawa as the center of Kamikawa proceeded. By the great efforts of the settlers Asahikawa were incorporated as a city in 1922 with a population that exceeded 360,000 in 1983. It became the second largest city in Hokkaido after Sapporo. In 1972 it opened the first pedestrian zone in Japan, stretching about one kilometer from Asahikawa Station to 8-jo Street. Four major national highways run through it, and four Japan Rail lines have their termini there. In October 1990 the Do-o Expressway reached Asahikawa, and in February 1997, with the opening of the 2,500-meter runway at Asahikawa Airport, Asahikawa has become not just the central city of North Hokkaido, but has seen steady development as a commercial hub and distribution center in North and East Hokkaido regions. On April 1, 2000, Asahikawa began a plan of development aimed at transitioning into a core city. “Shining with water and greenery, the northern hub, Asahikawa” is the new creation we are working toward while planning for the sake of the city body. We are proceeding to increase civic pride and satisfaction through those plans.
● Culture, Literature
Ayako Miura Literature Museum
With “light, love and life” as its theme, the introduces all Museum works of Ayako Miura. The Literature Museum is located in the middle of an academically valuable test forest grown to see whether or not foreign tree species can grow in the cold regions of Japan.
Born in Asahikawa City, 1922. In 1961, she contributed a story in “Shufu no Tomo” magazine’s “True Stories from Housewives” anthology, “Taiyo wa Futatabi Bossezu” under the name Ritsuko Hayashida. The next year it was printed in the New Year’s issue in “Record of Love” section. In 1963, she entered the novel “Hyoten” in the Asahi Newspaper contest which celebrated the 85th anniversary of the founding of the company in Osaka and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the company in Tokyo. In December 1964, she won the contest and her novel was published in serial form in the paper. This novel, “Hyoten” (“Freezing Point”) was published by the Asahi Newspaper Company in 1966 and sold 710 thousand copies. A bestseller, it was made into a movie in 1966, as well as a radio drama, and a TV drama. In March 2011, the bridge on the road leading from Asahikawa Station toward the Ayako Miura Literature Museum was named Hyoten Bridge after her novel.
Hokkaido Traditional Arts and Crafts Village, Yukaraori Gallery The workshop opened in 1962 and displays the works of Shiko Munakata. The name “Yukaraori” comes from the words “gently,” “well,” and “good” with the meaning of “weaving good cloth well.” With Hokkaido’s natural beauty as the motif, wool is dyed hundreds of colors, spun, and woven by hand. You can watch demonstrations of the weaving process.
There are three nationally-known sake breweries in Asahikawa.
From its start as Kobiyama Sake Brewery, a century has passed. Taking advantage of the up-to-60-degree difference between summer and winter temperatures in the frigid Asahikawa region, the brewery has continued making its pioneering brand of sake, Kokushi Muso, a dry, manly sake, for 30 years. The number of its fans is increasing nationwide. Takasago Shuzo and Asahikawa Grand Hotel also have a collaboration of sake.
Otokoyama has been in operation for about 300 years since the Kanbun Era. It began brewing in Itami, and has been famous since the Edo Era for producing well-loved sake with fans down through the years. Sake was a precious commodity in the past, and its fame continues into the present.
Taisetsu no Kura
Born from a passion for “offering truly delicious Hokkaido sake to everyone,” we brew many kinds of sake based on the mercy and strictness of nature. We work to the limits of love and commitment.
Asahiyama Zoo is Japan’s northernmost zoo. It quickly became famous as the place where you can observe the habits of the animals in as close to a natural environment as possible. It has become established as a leading tourist attraction of Hokkaido, and many tourists from other countries visit as well as Japanese tourists.
● Asahiyama Park Evening Cherry Blossom Festival
2,000 cherry trees are lit up, and you can enjoy a magical atmosphere.
● Hokkaido Music Parade
Groups dressed in colorful costumes play loudly while marching along the street.
● Flower Festival Asahikawa
A flower-filled event complete with flower market, various lectures, a contest, and gifts of seedlings.
● Ishikari River Festival
A fish release, crossing a log bridge, a flea market, a fireworks display, and more are held at this event.
● Asahikawa Summer Festival
With lots of colorful events, Asahikawa Summer Festival is the largest summer festival as the high tide of the summer.
● The Hokkaido Shimbun Press Summer Fireworks Display
A fireworks display against the backdrop of the Asahibashi Bridge that attracts many locals and tourists.
● Taisetsu Sanroku Festival
A summer festival held in Sanroku, Asahikawa’s entertainment district.
● Rekka Tanabata Festival
Floats decorated with beautiful Tanabata ornaments are the center of this parade with dancers and taiko drummers, and the enthusiasm and power are great.
● Nagayama Settlers’ Festival
This festival expresses our thanks to our predecessors for their achievements. The large settlers’ lanterns are a sight to see.
● Fireworks in Kagura
Kaguraoka Taiko Drums and fireworks display light up the foreign species test forest and Seseragi Park and are quite magical.
● Tabe-marche ( Northern gourmet festival )
With the center of Asahikawa as the venue, Asahikawa’s, and North Hokkaido’s produce, seafood, processed foods, and culinary specialties are gathered under one roof and presented to the country.
● Asahikawa Winter Festival
8-story high snow sculptures at this festival have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. Also, there is a jumbo ice slide popular with children that both children and adults can enjoy.
● World Ice Sculpture Competition
One of the world’s leading ice sculpture competitions is held in the Mecca of ice sculpturing. The world’s greatest ice sculptors gather from around the world and work day and night for 46 hours to complete their sculptures.
● Asahikawa Snow Lights
The art of lighting carefully arranged snow, ice, and trees turns the nighttime venue turns into a fantastic world.
● Vasaloppet Japan
From children to senior citizens, this is a relaxed cross-country ski competition that is popular because anyone can join. Participants include not just local and Hokkaido residents, but people from outside of Hokkaido, and citizens of other countries. It’s a major ski event that enriches the end of winter.