On Christmas Day, we decided to visit Takino Snow World from Sapporo for a day to play in the snow.
Takino Snow World is located at Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park, about 20km south of Sapporo Station (around 50 minutes by car, or 1 hour by public transport).
In winter from the end of December to the end of March, the park opens for the snow season with many different activities – snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, a 200m tube sledding slope, beginner skiing and snowboarding.
The English Brochure explains all the activities available and includes maps of the facilities available at the park.
I wanted to go to Takino Snow World ever since I saw it listed on some of the tourist information websites.
It’s a very cheap way (it’s free entry) to enjoy the snow without going to a ski resort, and is a great family activity for kids as well as adults.
The park seems massive, and although we were there for over half the day, we only saw a small portion of it.
They also have many events held during the season, check the website for the latest news.
Best of all, they have free entry during the winter season! It makes a great day trip from Sapporo if you want to play in the snow.
They also have free hire for snow play equipment, tube sleds, plastic toboggan sleds, snowshoes, binoculars and clothing for adults.
If you want to ski or snowboard, they have alpine or cross country ski hire, as well as ski wear hire (these are paid services, but very affordable).
Ashiribetsu waterfalls is a 26m waterfall which freezes from late December to become an icefall. According to the brochures, it’s around 1.1km from the Keiryu Guchi Parking area and you can access it by walking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
Before going, make sure you check the park’s open status on their website here. We didn’t do so and arrived to find that unfortunately nearly all of the activities were suspended for the day due to weather warnings!
If I had checked the open status, I would have gone on a different day when the activities were open. We didn’t get to go tube sledding or snowshoeing.
Many of the slopes don’t open early in the season too, if the snow depth is too shallow. You can get an update of what is open from the link above.
Still, we were able to look around, play in the snow, build a snowman, and even enjoy some toboggan sled riding alongside some kids on a mini slope (admittedly, a lot more fun than it initially looked).
It wasn’t that clear what is free to rent and what isn’t, so here are some more details that we found out once we got there. The rentals appeared to be mainly in the Country House building.
Free To Hire
These are available from the Country House building, but in a separate area to the rental shop.
- Adult snow wear (winter jacket & pants) – the smallest size seemed to be medium, but they fit over your existing clothes easily anyway. Would recommend these as they are waterproof and warm!
- Snow Shoes – we weren’t able to borrow any as the courses were all closed, but these are for walking in deep snow.
- Tube Sled – free to rent, but we weren’t able to use them as the slopes were closed.
Paid Hire / Lift Passes
These are available from the Country House building’s Rental Shop (hours from 9:00AM – 4:00PM):
- Snow boots (500yen/pair) – Both kids and adult sizes available. When we hired them, some of our pairs were just gumboots and your feet tend to get cold after a while, so wear extra socks!
- Kid’s Snow Clothing (Jacket and Pants set) – 90-160cm. 1540Yen
- Slope Skis/poles/boots – Both kids and adult sets available.
- Cross Country Skis/poles/boots – Both kids and adult sets available.
- This seemed really affordable at only 820 Yen for adults, I was disappointed that we missed out because the courses were closed, since I didn’t check the park status report beforehand!
- Kid’s Gloves/Hat/Googles set – No adult sizes. 920Yen
- Kid’s Helmet – No adult sizes. 1030Yen
- Lift Ticket
Not Available (Bring Your Own)
- Gloves (not available for hire, but you can buy them in the store near reception. They cost around 3000Yen)
We found that woolen gloves were suitable to play in the snow, despite not being the waterproof kind. It was too cold for the snow to melt anyway, so you could just brush it off without your gloves getting wet!
Snowshoeing Akagera Course Map
We caught the subway to Makomanai Station, then got on the bus number 106 from there. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the park.
To get to the bus, walk out of the Makomanai Station, then turn left to get to the bus stand number 2 at the South bus terminal area.
There are three stops in the park: Suzuran Koen Keiryu Guchi, Suzuran Koen Chuo Guchi, and Suzuran Koen Higashi Guchi. Don’t get off at the first stop unless you plan on doing cross country skiing only. It seemed a long walk to the tube sledding slopes from there.
We got off at Higashi Guchi stop which is a fair distance after the first signs saying welcome to the park. From here it was an easy walk to the Country House for information and rental/free hire ( about 100 meters).
Don’t Miss The Last Bus
If you’ve traveled to the park via public transport, be sure not to miss the last bus, which leaves before 4pm.
We were told not even Taxis were likely to pick you up if you missed the bus!