About Ashiribetsu Waterfall (ashiribetsu-no-taki [あしりべつの滝])
The Ashiribetsu Waterfall (ashiribetsu-no-taki [あしりべつの滝]; “New River Falls?”) was a pair of opposing waterfalls falling somewhat towards each other when we saw it during our July 2023 visit.
That said, the main drop is the one on the right side, and it’s where the Atsubetsu River is said to drop 30m easily making it the largest waterfall within the city limits of Sapporo.
I’d imagine that the waterfall on the opposite side of the cliff was where excess water on the Atsubetsu River flows, and thus the double waterfall phenomenon that we saw may only be a temporary occurrence.
Indeed, this is considered one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls as gazetted by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in 1990.
The name of the waterfall is said to be Ainu meaning “a new river”, and I’m not sure if they’re talking about the Atsubetsu River as a whole or the phenomenon where the second waterfall shows up.
Nevertheless, for such a large waterfall within the Takino Suzuran Hollside National Government Park in the suburbs of Hokkaido’s largest city, we were surprised by how quiet our visit was (though it was by no means empty).
To access this waterfall, we found the main car park for the Takino Suzuran Hillside Park though we had to fight GoogleMaps which kept ignoring it (see directions below).
By the way, this park is also accessible by public transportation (not surprising since it is so close to Sapporo City).
Anyways from the paid car park, we walked a mostly flat and paved 1.1km path (or 2.2km round-trip though my GPS said 1.2km each way and 2.4km round-trip) along the Atsubetsu River.
The path led us past vending machines, restrooms, quaint forest, picnic grounds, bridges, and spur trails to other waterfalls (e.g. Shiraho Falls, which we didn’t pursue).
After the second of a pair of bridges almost back-to-back, we noticed that there was a rather bare grassy cliff that may have seen a landslide or two.
At the end of the trail, there was yet another bridge spanning the river right in front of the Ashiribetsu Waterfall.
When we saw the waterfall in its two-waterfall state, we couldn’t get a clean look at both waterfalls at the same time due to foliage obstructions.
In any case, that bridge was the dead-end, and we pretty much went back the way we came for a nice family-friendly outing that took us around 80 minutes away from the car.
It turned out that the Takino Suzuran Hillside Park also has another waterfall called the Masumi Falls though its access was closed during our visit.
Maybe one of these days, we’ll be back when the closure is done, and we might finally see what that part of the park is all about…
The Ashiribetsu Waterfall resides in the Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park in Sapporo City on Hokkaido, Japan. It may be administered by the local officials of Sapporo City. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Takino Park website.
The Ashiribetsu Waterfall resides in the Takino Suzuran Hillside Park on the southern outskirts of Sapporo City.
Since we kind of went there on a rather long drive from Noboribetsu Onsen, I’ll just describe how we’d drive here from the Sapporo’s city center.
From the Sapporo City Center, we’d pretty much look for the Route 230 and follow it south until it junctions with the Route 453 about 5.5km.
Then, we’d drove south on the Route 453 for about 8.5km to its junction with the Route 341, where we’d then turn left onto it.
Finally, we’d drive a little over 4km until we reach the entrance for the Takino Suzuran Hillside Park on the right.
Once on that road, we then had to pay about 450 yen (as of July 2023) to get past the entrance kiosk, and then we parked in the lot to the right.
Note that there was a road that kept going straight ahead past this car park, which I’d imagine would eventually get close to the Masumi Falls, but there was road work going on and access was closed.
Another thing worth noting is that about 2.1km after getting onto the Route 241 from the Route 453, there was the Makomanai Takino Cemetery, which was definitely a worthwhile stop.
Overall, this drive took us about an hour (though we did do this in reverse).
For some geographical context, Sappro was about 45km (under an hour drive) northwest of Chitose, 111km (90 minutes drive) northeast of Noboribetsu Onsen, 138km (about 2 hours drive) southwest of Asahikawa, 90km (about 2 hours drive) northeast of Niseko, and 311km (over 4 hours drive) northeast of Hakodate.
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