Where is Biei, and what can you do there?
Biei is a small town located in Kamikawa Subprefecture, between Asahikawa and Furano, about a 30-40 minutes car or train ride from either city. The train ride costs 540 JPY or 265 Php from Asahikawa and 640 JPY or 320 Php from Furano. There is about one train per hour, until late.
During spring and summer, the town is well visited by tourists from all around the globe. However, Biei is also a must-see place during early to the late winter season, so this town must go on your travel bucket list.
Getting to Biei from Sapporo
The main route going to Biei is pretty simple.
1. Get on the JR Super Kamui train bound for Asahikawa, it’ll take you 6 stations before you hit Asahikawa, so listen carefully to all the announcements, or make a pin using your google maps.
2. From Asahikawa station transfer to the Furano line train (A28), it’ll take you 9 stations before you reach the town of Biei.
3. You can also drive going to Biei, but riding the train is really more efficient in Japan.
During the summer season, many tourists flock the town of Biei to see the Blue pond, or what they call Aoi-ike and the Shirogane Falls or the Waterfall of a White Mustache. Tourists would opt to do cycling (they can easily rent in any of the convenience store or at the train station) on their way to roam around Biei and some would go as far as Shirogane, but during the cold months of January to mid-April, they won’t allow cycling in the area, and Blue pond is closed for winter except for a period of light up.
Fret not though, there are buses to take you there, From Biei to Blue Pond, take the Dohoku bus going to Shirogane Hot Springs; Fare from Biei to Blue pond is 540JPY or 265 Php, and to Shirogane is 650 JPY or 320 PHP. We suggest that you go down, Shiragone first to see the sprawling waterfalls, and walk your way down to Blue Pond. If you’re a bit lazy to walk, you can definitely ride a bus, but please be mindful of the timing and schedule.
What to see in Biei and Shirogane
The Blue Pond
The Blue Pond photo was taken during late winter, early spring time.
Here’s what it looks like during summer.
The Blue Pond (青い池, Aoiike) outside the hot spring town of Shirogane Onsen was named after its deep blue color from natural minerals dissolved in the water. Blue pond is actually not promoted as a tourist spot until recent years. It serves as an erosion control system that was built to prevent damage to Biei, in case of an eruption by nearby Mount Tokachidake.
There’s not much to see in this area, but to see the actual pond- aside from what Mac used as their onset laptop wallpaper- is really something.
The pond is 500m from the parking lot, which means a walking time of 5 minutes. Prohibited areas are roped off to prevent entry. Please respect the place and do not attempt to enter such areas.
There is a big parking lot of around 100 spaces for cars and 10 spaces for large buses. When entering the parking lot, the spaces immediately to the left are for buses, so car drivers should continue on further into the lot to park your car. For a detailed map, please go here to check it out.
Shirahige Falls or the Waterfall of a White Mustache
Shirahige Falls (白ひげの滝) in Biei is a rare waterfall from the groundwater outflow in Japan. Flowing waterfalls looked like the white mustache, so it was named.
There are also Shirahige Falls near Shirogane Onsen (白金温泉) Resort, where tourists can look from Blue River Bridge (ブルーリッジリバー). Admission free.
Shirogane Onsen (白金温泉) is a popular hot-spring resort in Biei town located in the southern part of Asahikawa city. It is a base for sightseeing in the western part of the Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園), and there are trailheads of Tokachidake Mountain Range including Mt. Tokachidake, Mt. Oputashike, Mt. Bieidake and Mt. Furanodake, near the Shirogane Onsen, so a lot of climbers, as well as bathers, come, too.
As a primer for our Summer coverage, and now as winter is receding to the backstage, here’s a glimpse of what’s in store for you this coming Summer season in Biei and Furano.
Farm Tomita and the Lavender Fields
Hike in Daisetsuzan National Park
We cannot wait for the warmer days to witness this colorful beauty.