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  • Pond with a reflection of Todomatsu trees (Todo fir (Abies sachalinensis)) and the blue sky
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  • Floating islands drifting in a pond
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  • Kitakitsune (Ezo red fox (Vulpes vulpes schrencki))
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  • Himeshakunage (bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia))
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  • Boardwalk leading through the forest
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  • An Ezoraicho (hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia)) perching on an Ezo Yamazakura branch (sargent cherry (Prunus sergentii))
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  • Surface of a pond in the Ukishima Marsh
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  • Drone Footage1
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  • Drone Footage2
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Kamikawa-Ukishima Recreation Forest


Elevation Lowest : 760m / Average : 870m / Highest : 980m

Enjoy the tranquility of over 70 natural ponds scattered across a high moor
as they reflect the surrounding Akaezomatsu trees (Sakhalin spruce (Picea glehnii)), and wild flowers

Enjoy the tranquility of over 70 natural ponds scattered across a high moor
as they reflect the surrounding Akaezomatsu trees (Sakhalin spruce (Picea glehnii)), and wild flowers

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Autumn leaf viewing (Outside the forest) Waterfall viewing (Outside the forest) Birdwatching (Includes surrounding area) Sounkyo Cycling Course (Outside the forest) Bicycle rental (Outside the forest) Guided tours (Includes surrounding area) (Foreign language support not available) Hot Spring (Outside the forest) Botanical garden (Outside the forest) (Payment required for use of facilities) Kurodake Ski Area (no. of trails: 1) (Outside the forest)
Geographical/topographical features
Alpine moor on a lava plateau 870 m in elevation
Historical/cultural features
The moor formed approximately 2,000 to 2,500 years ago. Due to the moderate slope and high elevation, plants that withered in the autumn remained without decaying, and developed into a thick peat layer. This layer is believed to have dammed the river and formed ponds. In some ponds, there are "ukishima" (floating islands), which move when blown by the wind, and from which the name of this Recreation Forest is derived. It is a rare and precious place in which such floating islands can be seen.
Climate, flora and fauna
The climate is cool due to the high elevation. The moor provides a habitat for aquatic plants such as Ezo Hitsujigusa (pygmy waterlily (Nymphaea tetragona)), hygrophytes such as Mosengoke (roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)), and alpine plants such as Ezo Isotsutsuji (marsh tea (Ledum palustre ssp.diversipilosum)) and Chinguruma (Aleutian avens (Geum pentapetalum)). Meanwhile, the ponds are home to Ezo Sanshouo (Ezo salamander (Hynobius retardatus)) and are visited by a variety of wild birds.
The moor extends over an area of about 22 ha, with a circumference of about 3 km. It has over 70 ponds both big and small, dotted with floating islands. Much of the moor’s surroundings provide open views enabling easy observation of wild birds and other flora and fauna. Enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and distinctive scenery from the boardwalks leading through the ponds.
Latest Information
Regular events
Sounkyo Onsen Hyobaku (Ice Fall) Festival: January 25 to March 18 every year. Ice sculptures line the Ishikari River, and at night, illuminated ice sculptures create a fantastic spectacle.
Sounkyo Onsen Valley Fire Festival: July 28 to August 15 every year. Visitors can enjoy various events, including the traditional owl ritual of the Ainu people, drum performances and fire dances, as well as fireworks that echo throughout the valley. A fireworks display happens every night during the festival.
The Ainu people are an indigenous people with their own language and distinctive religion and culture living in the northern region of the Japanese Archipelago, particularly in Hokkaido.
Warnings (Flora and fauna)
Ezo Brown bears: Higuma (brown bears (Ursus arctos)) may be present during the period from May to November. When entering the forest, please carry a bear bell and stay in a group.
Warnings (Dangerous areas)
Some parts of the footpaths leading to the moor are muddy and rough, so please watch your step.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free of charge
Opening seasons and hours
Open from sunrise to sunset from June to October. The Recreation Forest is closed during the winter (November to the following May), when the town road becomes impassable.
Accommodation options
Japanese inns in Kamikawa Town (25 km / 40 minutes by car), hotels in Sounkyo Onsen (45 km / 70 minutes by car), Sounkyo National Campsite (July to September), and Sounkyo Auto-camping Site (mid-June to September)
Toilets (One toilet location) Footpath / walking trail / nature trail Parking lot Shop (Outside the forest) Restaurant (Outside the forest) Campsite and/or cabins (Outside the forest) Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) (Outside the forest) Botanic garden (Outside the forest) (Multilingual signs or pamphlets available (without advance request)) (Payment required for use of facilities) Resource center/Museum (Outside the forest) (Foreign language support not available) (Payment required in some cases) Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns) (Outside the forest)
Kamikoshi, Kamikawa Town, Kamikawa Country, Hokkaido
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • 25 km / 40 minutes by car from Kamikawa Station (no bus or other public transportation available)
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Asahikawa Station → Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Line [Sapporo-Asahikawa-Abashiri route] 49 km / 80 minutes)
By car
  • Asahikawa Station → Hokkaido Expressway, Asahikawa Takasu IC → Pippu JCT → Asahikawa-Monbetsu Expressway, Ukishima IC → Route 273 → town road → Kamikawa-Ukishima Recreation Forest (75 km / 80 minutes) (the town road is closed to traffic in the winter)
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Free parking for 30 vehicles

Nearby tourist facilities
  • Daisetsuzan Sounkyo Kurodake Ropeway: 70 minutes by car. Visitors can easily ascend from the hot springs resort of Sounkyo Onsen to the fifth station of Mt. Kurodake via the ropeway―and to the seventh station by chair lift―to enjoy the magnificent views and seasonal features of the mountain, such as alpine plants in the spring and summer, autumn leaves and winter skiing. Fortunate visitors will be treated to a view of a “sea of clouds” in the early morning. Have an extraordinary experience amid the clear air and superb mountain views.
  • Daisetsu Mori-no Garden: 55 minutes by car. This upland garden provides panoramic views of the Daisetsu Mountains. "Mori-no Hanazono" is a flower garden with 700 varieties of plants and flowers, while "Mori-no Geihinkan" welcomes guests with pathways winding through the natural beauty of the forest. Relax and enjoy nature while strolling through these two differently styled gardens.
  • Shibazakura Takinoue Park: 55 minutes by car. This park is known for its Shibazakura (moss phlox (Phlox subulata)), which blooms from early May to early June, covering the ground of the vast park with pink flowers. The moss phlox has expanded annually, and now covers 100,000 m2 of the park. During the blooming season, the sweet aroma of the flowers fills the town and takes travelers to another world.
Management office contact details
Kamikawa Chubu District Forest Office
Official Tourist Information
Kamikawa Town website [External link]
Website of the Sounkyo Tourism Association [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Sounkyo/Kamikawa-Ukishima Recreation Forests Management Committee
Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Group, Industry Economy Division, Kawakami Municipal Office

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