We arrived at Nakadake Onsen and decided to have lunch there. A couple people were there already and some even brought a cooking stove and boiled their eggs in the hot spring. The actual hole of the hot spring was quite small but the water was incredibly hot, probably somewhere around 50-60°C. Therefore the hot spring water was fused with water running down from a snowfield above before it led into the onsen.
Hot water on the left and cold water on the right: the amount of water being mixed was precisely controlled, to make for the best temperature!
Me in the Onsen…
From there the warm creek went on downwards, melting some snow along the way.
The way back to the ropeway at the Sugatami ponds was quite long but offered beautiful views of the surrounding mountains like “the top of Hokkaido” Asahidake..
There was a river to cross, but as there were plenty of big stones around I did not have to take my shoes of.
Soon, the trail was gone as there was an elevated wooden path built ontop of the trail, likely to preserve nature.
But nature seemed to have taken over and thus the path was disintegrated already, making walking on it really dangerous. With a little bit of snow/slush/ice on it, it was also incredibly slippy.
The path was also crossing some swamps and water spilled on the wood with mold already on top of it. I think many people slipped there that day.
Along the way were two mountains called (badly translated) “Big Hill” and “Small Hill”, which had the popular cone shape.
“Big Hill” aka 大塚
Most of the plants along the trail were already long gone, mostly evergreen plants were left.
Many of which plants/trees were quite volumnious however..
While the weather had been perfect (aside from the strong wind, which in turn helped keep the clouds away), it started to turn quickly now.
But luckily the clouds cleared up as fast as they came.
Finally arrived at the Sugatami Ponds at the foot of Mt. Asahidake, from where the ropeway down is not far. It took around 1h30 from Nakadake Onsen to reach the ponds, which is in line with what guidebooks say. At the entrance/exit to/from the ponds they set up what looked like an IR counter. I probably triggered it twice though..
The ponds were better than expected!
There were also a couple of sulphur springs from which the sulphur burst out with high pressure and thus was quite loud. It really resembled Iceland!
A lot of people decided to visit the Sugitami ponds on that day, the area was really packed. Most people were 60+ years old and came in huge groups by coach. It was kind of difficulte to move around, because everybody moved very slowly and there wasn’t a lot of space.
Looking back on Mt. Asahidake
Just before the ropeway were some stairs which caused a major traffic jam!
From the ropeway I could see that most of the trees already lost their leaves, no more Autumn Colours in sight. Only the evergreen trees had some colours left.
At the foot of the ropeway, Asahidake Onsen, I had to wait for an hour for my bus to take me back to Asahikawa and then Sapporo. It wasn’t too bad though because I got to see the sunset illuminating Mt Asahidake!
Thanks for stopping by!