Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉, Jōzankei Onsen) is located inside Shikotsu-Toya National Park between the high cliffs of the Toyohira River. The town is only one hour outside central Sapporo, making it a popular side trip from the city. As a result, Jozankei is rather developed compared to smaller onsen towns in Hokkaido.
The onsen waters of Jozankei were discovered in 1866 and the town now has dozens of ryokan, restaurants and shops catering to hot spring tourists. Several ryokan offer day visitors entrance to their baths for a fee of 500 to 2000 yen. Furthermore, free foot baths can be found around town.
Besides being an onsen destination, Jozankei is a popular fall colors destination when the trees along the valley and in the side valleys turn to brilliant yellows and reds. The best time to see the leaves is usually around mid October.
Iwato Kannondo is a unique temple in central Jozankei, as most of the temple is located in a cave. Built for road workers, who were killed during the construction of a tunnel, the temple's cave is 120 meters long with 33 statues of Kannon, a Buddhist deity of compassion, placed at intervals along the way.
From Sapporo Station Bus Terminal, take the Jotetsu Bus number 7 or 8 for Jozankei Onsen. Buses depart approximately hourly, take 75 minutes and cost 790 yen one way.
Alternatively, you can catch Jotetsu Bus number 12 from Makomanai Station, the terminal station of Sapporo's Namboku Subway Line. From Makomanai Station, the one way trip to Jozankei Onsen takes 50 minutes and costs 620 yen. There are buses every 30 to 60 minutes.