Asahikawa (旭川) is a large city in Hokkaido that is mainly used as a transport terminal or somewhere to stop along on a journey. It also has a nearby zoo.

Budget travel tips

  • Get some food here before heading off into the mountains or countryside towns (such as Biei or Naka-Furano), as food there can be expensive or nonexistent!

Places of interest

Asahiyama Zoo

One of the best zoos in Japan, with all sorts of animals and great shows to see. Full guide here.

Main shopping street

Walk out of the north exit to reach this main shopping street, with a few cheap shops and restaurants.

How to get there

Without the Japan Rail Pass

From Sapporo station, take the bus from the Bus Terminal to Asahikawa (2 hours, 2060 yen).

With the Japan Rail Pass

From Sapporo station, take the Limited Express train to Asahikawa station (85 mins).


Hostels and Cheap Hotels

Mimatsuso Ryokan

Super cheap place with excellent service (free Japanese confectionery and tea on arrival!) and a good location near Asahikawa station. Check prices at

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Published by Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who lived in New Zealand and Japan for many years. Having traveled across these countries, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel, and also worked at many leading tourism companies in both countries. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association. Those heading to Taiwan should check out his new site, Taiwanna Travel.