Asahikawa is flat, built on a grid, coldest city of Japan, and frankly rather boring. It can be easily misunderstood and it takes a special skill to uncover some of its beauty. Its breadth, open spaces, and generosity stole my heart. The mixture of Japanese culture, Ainu enigmatic spirituality, and visible influence of the west of this tucked away Hokkaido city make it the most intriguing place to discover. A sense of welcoming warmth in this cold city permeates everywhere I visited, the people, the nature, the wide streets, and square buildings.     

Daisetsuzan「大雪山」 and Asahidake「旭岳」

There is a very special place in Hokkaido – Daisetsuzan volcanic group and the mt. Asahidake. Ainu people call this place Kamuimintara—the playground of the gods (Kamui – 神威 as in Kamuimisaki ).  The presence of the spirits is palpable while hiking the slopes in a snowy storm.