Asahikawa 旭川市: A street, a garden and stay

By Cubie - November 11, 2012

Asahikawa is a city in Kamikawa Subprefecture, Hokkaido. It is the capital of the subprefecture and the second largest city in Hokkaido, after Sapporo.

The name Asahikawa came by as native Ainu people called the Chubetsu river that crossed Asahikawa from the east to the west “Chiu Pet” meaning "river with wake". When Japanese immigrants started to settle Hokkaido, they misheard the word as “Chu Pe” meaning "river of the sun". Asahi means the ray of sun and kawa means river in Japanese.

We made Asahikawa as our base for travelling to Biei, Furano and Asahidake due to its convenience as the main transportation hub. Also, we departed out of Hokkaido from Asahikawa Airport.

Credit to Asahikawa, we have not spent enough time travelling around in Asahikawa. We only walked around Asahikawa's main street and Kaguraoka Park. However I do know that Asahikawa Zoo is a popular tourist destination, as well as Asahikawa Ramen Village.

An empty Asahikawa Station in the morning
We stayed very near Asahikawa Station, it could've been nearer at Asahikawa Terminal Hotel but it was booked out. I believe the hotel has been closed down as of now though. This hotel was just right outside of the train station that there was actually a sign to indicate which exit you should take. Now that the hotel has been closed down, I am not sure if the sign is still there.

Anyway, we stayed in Washington Hotel Fujita Kanko Asahikawa which was right across the street from the train station. Unfortunately, I don't remember which exit it was but then again, the train station wasn't overly huge. :P

The hotel is located at a very convenient and strategic location, but that was probably the only good thing I could commend on. Other than that, it was the least impressive of all the places we stayed in this trip - both in terms of service, and even the complimentary breakfast.

The room we stayed in
Stepping out of the hotel... viola, you have reached the start of Asahikawa main street. It is pedestrian only street, known as "Kaimono Koen". The formal name for this outdoor shopping street is "Asahikawa Heiwa-dori Kaimon-koen" directly translated as "Asahikawa Peace Street Shopping Park". This street runs 10 blocks and is Japan's first pedestrian only outdoor shopping mall when the construction was completed in 1972.

The start of Kaimono Koen
Along Kaimono Koen, there are many shops and major department stores. There is a Kinokuniya book store! Also noted were a couple of sculptures.
The saxophone sculpture guy travelled from Lake Toya eh :P
This was named as "Hope"... now it make sense...
Of the very few places I went to in Asahikawa, the other one was Kaguraoka Park. The kind ladies in Tourist Information in Asahikawa Station was trying to tell me that it was far to walk if I take train and trying to get me to take a bus instead. However since we have the free rides ticket from the Round Tour Ticket, I was rather keen to take the train, really, it wasn't that far to walk anyway.

So, we took a train from Asahikawa station and got off at Kaguraoko station, just a station away. From Kaguraoko station, walked out and turned left and walk all the way. According to google map, it was only a 8-10 minutes walk, really wasn't a long walk. Walking there was a little uphill, but that also mean that you'll get a good downhill stretch when walking back to the station.

As we walked up, we saw two boys cycling down at a super fast speed and one of them fell, as his bicycle went over a little unevenness. Poor thing, it was a loud crash too but as people say, little kids are built to withstand little falls and bumps. He got up in a bit and was all good.

It was described that the road that leads from Kaguraoka forest to the residential area of Midorigaoka is known as the "romantic road" based on the trees that line both sides of the street.

I imagine the photo would be nicer if I shot it in the middle of the road
In addition, are two wedding chapels close by.

Though I am not entirely sure if this is a wedding chapel... but its by the road side..
That was all we managed to walk to before the sun set. The remaining of time was spent eating sampling and spending money at a closeby sweets shop - The Sun Kuroudo. This probably need a whole new post by itself... we'll see how it goes :P

Did you see the snowman at the door?

Side note: The race that stops the nation...

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