Asahikawa: Adventures on Sleds and Wheels
Located in the center of Hokkaido Prefecture, Asahikawa City is Hokkaido's second largest city. It is also one of the coldest places in all of Japan, with winter temperatures often dropping to minus 20 degrees Celsius. In February, the city's annual 6-day winter festival draws close to a million visitors. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Dean Newcombe and Nakaoka Aki explore Asahikawa in midwinter, and find that it has numerous attractions that are equally accessible to those who use wheelchairs.

Asahiyama Zoo

This is one of Japan's most popular zoos, and it was among the first zoos in the country to showcase animals in a way that visitors can observe their natural behavior. In winter, crowds gather to watch the popular daily penguin parade.

Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum

This museum was opened in 1916, with the aim of preserving the culture and traditions of Hokkaido's indigenous Ainu people. Visitors can observe exhibits of Ainu household items, as well as a traditional house, known in the Ainu language as "Chise."

Moonlight Ladies Dog Sledding

During the winter months, visitors can ride on dog sleds, led by a snowmobile along a snow-covered 7km course. Located in Takasu-cho, just outside Asahikawa. Prior reservations required.


From Tokyo, flights to Asahikawa take 1 hour 40 minutes. It takes another 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the city center.