The Jozankei Onsen is a popular hot spring area in
Hokkaido. It is located near the Hoheikyo Dam, the
Jozankei Dam, and the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort.
Miizumi Jozan discovered the hot springs (onsen) in the
area and opened a healing spa by the upper part of the
Toyohira River. In order to develop the land, Miizumi
Jozan cut through the forest and brought the injured and
sick to his healing spa. His continued efforts inspired
people to join him in constructing bridges and roads to
the area, which is why the hot springs were named after
him. This location is only about an hour away from the
city of Sapporo, between Toyohira River’s cliffs which is
also a part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Now the area
offers its guests many ryokans, shops, restaurants, foot
baths, as well as, a variety of onsen businesses. The hot
springs also have sodium chloride which creates an
odorless, colorless transparent bath with a minor taste of
salt, usually a popular quality to look for in most hot
springs. These springs are said to flow with some
200,000 L of water on the hour, so go ahead and enjoy
this spring water with the sites of autumn foliage which
are also popular for visitors to view.
The Kappa, mythical Japanese water creature, is the symbol of Jozankei. A Kappa looks like a combination of a frog and a turtle with a plate on its head. There is a legend about a boy who was taken to the land of the Kappa and lived happily there for rest of his life. If you walk around the Jozankei Onsens you are bound to see various Kappa statues. One of the well-known kappa statues is the Gankake Teyu of the Kappa Family. It is an onsen for your hands. There is a story that if you were to pour spring water into the child kappa’s plate to offer respect to the Kappa’s King, then wash your hands with the water coming out of the mouth, chant “On kappa ya un ken so wa ka” and wish right after the spell, your wish will come true.