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Asahikawa, Hokkaido's second-largest city, is the principal entrance to Taisetsu-san National Park. It is not terribly cosmopolitan; daytime life centers around a pedestrian shopping area and at night the entertainment district is raucously full of men from the farming hinterland. Travelers pass through its station, bus terminal, or airport on their way to more beautiful places, but a small
Ainu museum and a winter festival in February are worthwhile if your schedule dictates a one-night stay.
A good touring base for eastern Hokkaido, Abashiri is a small town in the shadow of Tento-san. On the town outskirts are shallow coastal lakes...