We drove 3 hours to Asahikawa (旭川) from Noboribetsu. Asahikawa is the second largest city in Hokkaido, after Sapporo. Mainland Japanese populated the city in the Meiji period (1868 – July 1912) as military settler colonists to develop and defend Hokkaidō against foreign nations, particularly Imperial Russia.
Driving in winter with beautiful scenery
1. Asahiyama Zoo
Asahiyama Zoo (Map) is one of the most visited zoos in Japan primarily specializing in cold climate species. The zoo houses more than 800 animals from 150 species.
The animal’s enclosure was specially designed to allow visitors to observe the animals in a much closer range. The Penguin Parade is the main highlight where visitors can get up close with the penguins doing their morning and afternoon walk.
Entry Fees: 820 yen
Look Ma, I’m a star
Cute and adorable
2. Kamikawa Shrine
Kamkawa Shrine is a beautiful Shinto shrine located on the top of Kaguraoka Park. The shrine is frequented by locals with various festivals held here.
1. Asahikawa Ramen Village
Asahikawa is famous for its shoyu ramen, classically served with pork bone broth as well as fish broth. The Ramen Village (Map) is the best place to try as it houses 8 of Asahikawa’s famous ramen thus making it convenient to try several shops in a go. They do have the main shops in the city center as well.
The 8 ramen shops are Ramen Aoba, Santoka, Ittetsu-an Matsuda, Ishida, Tenkin, Saijo, Baikoken and Kobo Kato Ramen.
2. Toriton Sushi
Expect 1 hour queue during peak hour
Always order Chutoro & Otoro when in Japan. It literally melts in your mouth
3. Butadonya, AEON Mall Asahikawa Station Food Court
Butadon originated from Obihiro, Hokkaido and is now commonly available in Japan. Buta means Pork and don mean rice. We tried the beef and chicken from Butadonya and they taste so good.
Japanese beef rice
Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
4. Ramen Hachiya
Ramen Hachiya (Map) is one of the famous ramens in Asahikawa. The shop started selling ice cream before adding on ramen which became famous. They use mackerel and pork bones for the broth resulting in a distinct smokey flavor.
Try their honey ice cream
1. JR Inn Asahikawa
We stayed 2 days in JR Inn Asahikawa. The hotel is strategically situated in the city center and right next to AEON Mall and the JR train station. We strongly recommend this hotel with its minimalist design yet at an affordable price. The hotel even has its own hot bath for hotel guests.
Airbnb is a good alternative choice apart from hotel. Get Extra RM160 off on your Airbnb booking when you Sign up new Airbnb HERE!
Hokkaido Car Rental
We booked our Nissan car online with ToCoo Japan. If you are travelling to few cities, Hokkaido Highway Pass will be beneficial as HEP allows unlimited use of Hokkaido’s expressways, for one fixed price thus saving on toll.
We rented our portable wifi from Roaming Man which offers 3GB data daily at a 4G speed at only RM12 per day for up to 5 devices.
Promo code: RMWIFI19 for 10% off discount. (validity: 4th May till 31 July 2019, for travels until 31 Dec 2019)
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