Asahikawa is a city on northern Japan's Hokkaido island. To the east, a cable car runs up Mount Asahi, the location of the Asahiyama Zoo with its polar bears, penguins and orangutans. Closer to the centre, restaurants in the Asahikawa Ramen Village offer the city's signature soy sauce–based noodle soup. Malls line the pedestrianised shopping street of Kaimono Koen, stretching north from Asahikawa train station.
Asahikawa Airport is a single-runway regional airport in Hokkaidō, Japan, straddling the cities of Asahikawa and Higashikagura. Planning of the airport began in the late 1950s. The site was chosen in November 1960 and received government approval in 1963. Japan Domestic Airlines began the first scheduled flight to Asahikawa on July 1, 1966, a NAMC YS-11 service to Haneda Airport via Okadama Airport. The airport was closed for expansion work from May 1981 until February 1982, during which time the main runway was extended and widened, from 1,200 x 30 m to 1,640 m x 45 m. A further extension to 2,000 m was completed in November 1982. Following these expansions, jet service began at the airport, beginning with DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft followed by widebody Airbus A300s beginning in December 1983. ANA operated the first international charter flight from Asahikawa in 1987. Another runway extension, to 2,500 m, was completed in 1997, and the parallel taxiway opened in 1998. Scheduled international service to Seoul began in 2006, using new international facilities in the airport terminal. In 2016, plans were finalised to build a new 5,700 m² international terminal to the south of the existing terminal, with a target of 500,000 international passengers per year by 2030. Construction began in October 2017 and opening is scheduled for December 2018. The existing terminal will also be expanded and renovated by September 2019.
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Average temperatures in Asahikawa vary an incredible amount. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for about half of the year and otherwise lovely with a chance of rain or snow throughout most of the year. The area is less temperate than some in the 21st percentile for pleasant weather compared to tourist destinations worldwide. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Asahikawa, the hottest months are August, July, and then June. The warmest time of year is generally early to mid-August where highs are regularly around 83.8°F (28.8°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 65.5°F (18.6°C) at night.
1. Mount Asahi - Mount Asahi is a mountain located in the town of Higashikawa, Hokkaido and the tallest mountain in the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is part of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group of the Ishikari Mountains; it is located in the northern part of the Daisetsuzan National Park. The mountain is popular with hikers in the summer and can be easily reached from Asahidake Onsen via Asahidake Ropeway. During winter, the mountain is open for use by skiers and snowboarders. Sugatami Pond, directly below the peak, is famous for its reflection of the peaks, snow, and steam escaping from the volcanic vents.
2. Asahiyama Zoo - The Asahiyama Zoo is a municipal zoo opened in July 1967 in Asahikawa, Hokkaidō, Japan, and is the northernmost zoo in the country. In August 2004, over 320,000 people visited the zoo, the second highest number of visitors among all the zoos in Japan. Located in Higashi Asahikawa, on the outskirts of Asahikawa, the Asahiyama Zoo is accredited by the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA).
3. The Snow Crystal Museum - The Snow Crystal Museum of Asahikawa is a small, understated “museum” purely dedicated to snowflakes. The museum is reminiscent of a European castle and belongs to the Hokkaido Folk Arts and Crafts Village, which also includes the International Dyeing and Weaving Art Museum and the Yukara Ori Craft Museum. The Arts and Crafts Village is located on national route 12 in Asahikawa and has a large parking lot available for your vehicle. Admission to the Crystal Museum for one adult cost 650 yen, which is debatably pricey for what the museum offers, although I didn’t mind paying that price in exchange for the fairy-tale-esque architectural experience. To enter the museum, you first go down a spiral of stairs that leads to a corridor. The spiral railing is laced with metal snowflakes and at the bottom of the staircase is a water fountain full of coins. The bottom of the staircase leads to a set of doors decorated with ornate opaque snowflakes and is guarded by two statues of heroic looking women on either side.