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Sounkyo gorge in the east of the picturesque Daisetsuzan National Park is an area of striking natural beauty with sheer walls of rock, craggy outcrops and some breathtaking views over the rest of the park.

Cable car journey to the foot of Mt Kurodake, SounkyoSounkyo is also densely forested and weather depending, is wonderfully photogenic at any time of year be it in the snow, among the fresh green vibrancy of spring or the kaleidoscopic array of colors here in the autumn. The cable car and chair lift toward the summit of Kurodake, which looms over the gorge, offer the best views and give you an idea of the scale and vastness of this area of Japan. It is really only from this height that one begins to understand why this is known as the 'Roof of Hokkaido'.

Sounkyo also has a number of spectacular waterfalls which give rise to the tumbling rivers that run through the gorge and there are some beautiful and easy riverside walks to reach these falls.

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Suggested itinerary featuring Sounkyo

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Sounkyo, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Sounkyo

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    Places near Sounkyo

    Our expert guides to exploring Sounkyo

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Sounkyo, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Sounkyo at its best.

    • Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island
      Driving in Hokkaido

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is a volcanic, alpine-forested wilderness with bubbling hot springs and vivid-blue caldera lakes. Japan specialist Toby explains how you can make the most of your visit by self-driving across the island.

      9 min read

      Read this guide