The Jozankei Hot Spring is located to the southwest of Sapporo in a ravine situated upstream along the Toyohira River. Called “Sapporo’s back parlor,” the spa is surrounded by mountains. It was discovered by a monk called Jozan, and was named after him for the efforts he made to develop it. The spa is known for its plentiful waters, some 200,000 liters of which flow every hour. The waters contain a large variety of minerals, including boric acid, sulfur and salt. Its Na-Cl Spring, which contains clear and colorless water of a mild salty taste, is one of the most popular qualities of any of the hot springs in Japan.
The symbol of Jozankei
The symbol of Jozankei is the water sprite known as a ‘kappa.’ A kappa is an imaginary Japanese creature that lives both on land and in water. It is a funny-shaped hobgoblin, with a plate on its head, webbed hands and feet, and a pointed mouth. It became the guardian spirit of this place as the result of a legend about a young boy who is supposed to have been taken off to the land of the kappa, where he lived happily. Over 20 kappa statues stand in various poses around the spa town, including the “Great Kappa King.”
The Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is nearby, as well as a number of sightseeing spots such as Hoheikyo Dam and Jozankei Dam. Jozan-gensen-koen Park is located in the center of town. There, you can enjoy forest bathing and a stroll on the promenade along the Toyohira-gawa River, which has hot water springing from its bottom, to the picturesque Futami-tsuribashi Bridge.