Asahikawa is a city positioned roughly in the center of Hokkaido.
It has a population of over 350 thousand people, and is the Hokkaido's second largest city after Sapporo.
Agriculture is the main industry, especially rice and buckwheat are good quality.
Ishikari River flows near the city, and some rivers flow through the city into it. So there are many bridges in the city.
The city is in a basin, then it is the coldest city in Japan in winter.
Asahikawa has the Japanese the lowest temperature record of 41.0 degrees below zero in 1902.
But it is comparatively hot in summer, and the temperatures are sometimes above 30 degrees Celsius.
Asahikawa is the base point for sightseeing around central Hokkaido.
It is an arch bridge over the Ishikari River, and is located just north
of central Asahikawa.
It was strongly built with steel imported from Germany in 1932, for passing combat vehicles and withstanding enemy's attack.
Now Route 40 passes on the bridge. The smart bridge is a symbol of Asahikawa.
It is a theme park of Asahikawa ramen, and is located 5 km east of central Asahikawa.
Asahikawa ramen is one of popular ramens in Hokkaido along with Sapporo
This theme park is in a part of the shopping area "Western Powers".
In a pavillion, 8 Asahikawa ramen shops are opened. Each shop serves mini-size ramen, then we can taste ramens of a few shops there.
This is one of most popular spot in Asahikawa for tourist.
It is a municipal zoo, and is located 10 km east of central Asahikawa.
Asahiyama is a small mountain, and the zoo is on the western slope.
This is one of the most popular zoo in Japan, and has more than 3 million visitors a year which is neally as much as the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo which is the biggest one in Japan.
This zoo was opened in 1967, and the peak of visitors was about 600
thousand in 1983.
In 1994 an infection killed some animals in the zoo, then this had discouraged people from visiting here.
To defuse the situation, they remade the zoo.
It was not to show the body of animals, but to show the behavior of animals.
Remaking started since 1997, then the visitors are increasing rapidly, and now many foreign tourist also visit here.
We can see many moving, walking and swimming animals in this zoo.
In winter, we can see the popular event that many penguins stroll in the zoo.
Get on the route bus for Asahiyama-doubutsuen from JR Asahikawa station. It takes about 40 minutes.
It is a gorge formed by Ishikari River, and is located about 15 km west
of central Asahikawa.
There is continual steep cliff along the river, and are a lot of strange rocks in the rapid flow.
"Kamui-kotan" means "living place of gods" in Ainu language, so here is a sacred place for the native Ainu.
In every Autumnal Equinox Day (around September 23th), "Kotan Fesival" is held here, and we can see the traditional Ainu's ceremony and culture.
Get on the route bus for Fukagawa from JR Asahikawa station, and get off at "Kamui-kotan" stop. It takes about 25 minutes.
This is a hidden popular scenic spot, which is introduced in few guidebook and is known to only a little local people.
It is a nondescriptive country intersection on a hill.
From here, we can see a straight road like roller coaster, grand Daisentsuzan mountains scenery, the long-distance view of Asahikawa city and Biei town, and the scenery of Asahikawa Airport.
It is a very interesting observatory, but if you want to visit here, you must rent a car or walk.
By limited express of JR, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Sapporo.
Photo by DO PHOTO
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