Friday, December 27, 2013

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Sounkyo Kankou Hotel 層雲峡観光ホテル

Stayed 07.02.2013 (1 day)
Booked through Japanican.

- Booked western style twin rooms, inclusive of both breakfast and dinner, at 12,600 yen/room (~ 90 SGD/pax). Found the price relatively cheap for a hot spring hotel. Hotel is divided into two annexes - the more luxurious Japanese style rooms are found in Shiki (四季) while the other guest rooms are housed in Saika (花彩), the main building. Rooms that were assigned to us were unusually spacious (even after we opened up two luggage fully), especially for the price we were paying for.

- Location of hotel is about 3 - 5 minutes walk from Sounkyo Onsen bus terminal, tourist centre and main onsen town (whereby you can find Seicomart convenience store, several eateries and ropeway to Mt Kurodake). Did not have time to visit the main onsen town and nearby attractions (Waterfall of Ginga and Meteor, Oobako and Kobako gorges) as we arrived at the hotel in the late evening and left for Asahikawa early next day. The venue for the annual Sounkyo Ice Fall Festival is also about 5 mins walk from the hotel.

- There are two separate communal bathhouses for men and women. Bathouses are closed at midmight, for thirty minutes, to prepare for opposite gender usage. Do note that for one of their bathhouses, its indoor and outdoor sections are not connected i.e. one will need to dress up to shuffle between the indoor and outdoor hot spring facilities.

- Both breakfast and dinner were buffet style, offering quite a decent spread of Western and Japanese cuisine. Seafood items such as the ever popular crab legs and scallops, miso hot pot (packed with ingredients that you are free to pick/choose), steak and tempura were available during dinner. Had soup curry (one of the signature dishes from Sapporo) for the very first time too during breakfast.
Side note: Restaurant was very packed (and noisy) during our day of visit as the hotel was hosting a huge overseas tour group. Unfortunately, the crowd did make the overall dinning experience seemed more hectic.

Top: spotted a Sika deer outside our window; Bottom: 1 hour bus ride to Asahikawa Washington Hotel
- Utilised the free shuttle bus service provided by hotel to transfer to Asahikawa.
From Asahikawa Washington Hotel > Sounkyo Kankou Hotel: 1400 hrs
From Sounkyo Kankou Hotel > Asahikawa Washington Hotel: 1000 hrs
Do note that phone/email reservation is required at least 1 day before your stay. Did reconfirm my reservation with the front desk on the night of my stay.

Conclusion: Will definitely come back to Sounkyo on a different season to visit Mt Kurodake and other beautiful natural landscapes of waterfalls and gorges. Affordable room rates for this hotel will definitely attract many budget travellers. Hot spring facility is definitely not the best I've been to but reasonably good for the price. Personally, I will want to try out other accommodation options (hopefully a quieter/less crowded one) on my next visit to Sounkyo.


Sounkyo Kankou Hotel 層雲峡観光ホテル
078-1701 北海道上川郡上川町字層雲峡

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  1. Hi, Thanks for your post. I read all your info. I am planning to travel in Hokkaido in Feb 2015. How can you bring your luggage on the train and bus from place to place? Can I put my luggage on the bus, get off for sightseeing, get on and continue travelling with the bus?

    1. Hi! Feb is a good time to visit, especially during the Sapporo Snow Festival week. Oh yes, there are compartments on most trains for you to put your luggage. I didn't find any on board Asahiyama Zoo Train and SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen though - had to put the smaller ones on the racks above. If you are travelling in group of four, you can adjust the seats to face each other and put your luggage in the slot behind the seats (that you turned). If you are plan to take the Twinkle Bus (e.g. Shiretoko-go), rest assured that you can keep the luggage in the bottom compartment of the bus. Hope this info helps!