Alongside a ravine, "Sapporo's back parlor" attracts many. Kappa, the water sprite, is a symbol of Jozankei.
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.
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." There is also a Kappa Pool, which becomes very lively during the Kappa Festival that takes place in early August.
There are plenty of facilities for visitors nearby, such as the nature walkway alongside the ravine and the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort. Jozankei is also a hub for tourists going over the Nakayama Pass to Lake Toya, and the town is lively throughout the year.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 30 min from Haneda to New Chitose Airport. 35 min from the airport to Sapporo Station by JR Chitose Line (rapid train). 1h 20 min from Sapporo Station to Jozankei by JR Bus. or 1h 40 min from New Chitose Airport to Jozankei by Bus.
[Rail] 17h from Tokyo to Sapporo by sleeping car.
From Osaka :
[Air] 2h 10 min from Itami, or 1h 55 min from Kansai International Airport to Shin-Chitose Airport.