Obihiro Travel Guide: Things to Do, See and Eat traveling in Obihiro

Obihiro, nestled in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. This travel guide introduction aims to unveil the charm and highlights of Obihiro, guiding travelers through its scenic landscapes, culinary delights, and cultural experiences.

Geography and Climate

Obihiro is situated in the Tokachi region in the central part of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. The city is embraced by the Hidaka and Tokachi mountain ranges, offering a stunning backdrop of natural beauty. Its geographical position contributes to its cool, temperate climate. Winters are snowy and picturesque, ideal for snow sports and onsen experiences, while summers are mild, perfect for exploring the lush outdoors.

Cultural Highlights

  1. Historical Sites: Explore the Obihiro Shrine, a serene Shinto shrine steeped in history, and the Tokachi Museum, showcasing the region’s historical and cultural evolution.
  2. Local Festivals: Experience the Obihiro Ice Festival, a winter spectacle of ice sculptures, and the Tokachi Food Festival, celebrating local cuisine.
  3. Crafts and Workshops: Participate in traditional Ainu craft workshops, offering a deep dive into the indigenous culture of Hokkaido.

Culinary Journey

Obihiro’s cuisine is a highlight, known for its fresh, local ingredients.

  • Tokachi Beef: Savor the world-renowned Tokachi beef, known for its tenderness and flavor.
  • Dairy Products: Indulge in rich dairy products, including ice cream and cheese, sourced from local farms.
  • Buta-don: Don’t miss the famous buta-don, a grilled pork bowl, a must-try local delicacy.

Natural Wonders

  1. Shichiku Garden: A breathtaking flower garden featuring a myriad of colorful blooms.
  2. Tokachi River: Enjoy serene walks or cycling along the Tokachi River, a lifeline of the region.
  3. Hot Springs: Relax in the numerous hot springs, with their therapeutic properties and stunning views.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Winter Sports: Skiing and snowboarding in the nearby mountains.
  • Summer Activities: Hiking, golfing, and cycling in the pristine natural settings.

From luxury hotels to traditional ryokans, Obihiro offers a range of accommodations to suit all preferences. Many feature onsens, providing a quintessential Japanese experience.

Obihiro is accessible by air, rail, and road. The Obihiro Airport has regular flights from major cities. The city’s public transportation, including buses and taxis, makes navigating easy.

Obihiro is a gem in Hokkaido, offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and culinary delights. It’s a destination that promises a memorable journey for every traveler, from the serene to the adventurous. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active holiday, Obihiro welcomes you with open arms.

Obihiro City Guide: A Brief History Of Obihiro, Japan For Visitors

The history of Obihiro, Japan, is a tapestry woven with the threads of ancient traditions, cultural evolutions, and modern developments. This detailed historical overview aims to provide visitors with a deep understanding of how Obihiro evolved into the charming city it is today.

Prehistoric and Ancient Times

  • Ainu Heritage: Long before modern settlement, the region around Obihiro was inhabited by the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. The Ainu culture, rich in folklore, art, and a deep respect for nature, left an indelible mark on the area.
  • Early Settlements: The area that is now Obihiro was historically a part of vast, untouched wilderness, frequented by the Ainu for hunting and gathering.

Edo Period (1603-1868)

  • Limited Contact: During the Edo period, under the Tokugawa shogunate, Hokkaido remained relatively isolated from the rest of Japan. The region was considered remote, and interactions with the indigenous Ainu continued to be limited.

Meiji Era (1868-1912)

  • Modernization and Development: The Meiji Restoration marked a significant turn in Japan’s history, leading to rapid modernization. Hokkaido’s development became a priority for the new government.
  • Settlement Policies: The government encouraged the migration of people from the main islands of Japan to Hokkaido to cultivate and develop the land. This led to the establishment of Obihiro in 1883.
  • Agricultural Hub: Due to its fertile land, Obihiro quickly grew as an agricultural hub, particularly for wheat and other grains.

20th Century

  • Railway Expansion: In 1902, the introduction of the railway connected Obihiro with the rest of Hokkaido, spurring growth and development.
  • War and Post-war Era: Like many parts of Japan, Obihiro faced challenges during World War II. However, the post-war era saw a resurgence in development, particularly in agriculture and infrastructure.
  • Economic Shifts: The late 20th century saw diversification in Obihiro’s economy, with a focus on dairy farming, livestock, and commercial ventures.

21st Century and Present Day

  • Modern Obihiro: Today, Obihiro is known not just for its agricultural significance but also as a cultural and tourist destination.
  • Preservation of Heritage: Efforts have been made to preserve and celebrate the Ainu heritage and the history of early settlers.
  • Tourism Development: The city has developed its tourism sector, promoting its rich history, natural beauty, and culinary delights.

Cultural and Historical Sites for Visitors

  • Tokachi Museum: Offers insights into the regional history, from Ainu culture to modern developments.
  • Obihiro Shrine: A historical shrine that reflects the city’s Shinto heritage.
  • Historical Village of Hokkaido: Though located in Sapporo, it provides a broader understanding of Hokkaido’s historical development, including that of Obihiro.

Conclusion

The history of Obihiro is a compelling story of transformation, from a sparsely inhabited land to a modern city with deep cultural roots. For visitors, understanding this history enhances the experience of exploring Obihiro, providing a context to its scenic landscapes, rich cultural tapestry, and vibrant community life. This historical journey underscores Obihiro’s unique identity within Hokkaido and Japan.

Obihiro Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Japan

Obihiro Travel Guide
Photo by yuqing0232_cn on Pixabay // CC0

Introduction

While this agricultural city in Hokkaido appears too plain for some to visit, its low-key nature will appeal to others.

With regionally important museums, a cool winter festival, and a distinct style of horse racing that is unique to this part of the world, Obihiro is definitely worth a look.

Come check out our Obihiro travel guide for off-the-beaten path globetrotters as we cover the best things to do in Obihiro, Japan.

Top Attractions

Begin your time in this underrated city in Hokkaido by spending an hour or two at the Obihiro Centennial City Museum. Here, you’ll learn about the human and natural history of Tokachi Prefecture via a variety of exhibits.

Highlights include pottery excavated from local archaeological sites, its pottery sculpting classes, as well as its performing arts stage, where local artists perform traditional music and theatre productions.

When making plans, be sure to visit during the work week, as this institution is closed on Saturdays and Sundays for some strange reason.

Next, lovers of the visual arts will want to carve time out of their schedule to tour the Obihiro Museum of Art. Located adjacent to the main city park in Obihiro, its design makes this building a work of art by itself, setting the tone for your visit there.

While this institution has some works of art from the West, the primary focus of this museum is to showcase the best works from artists in Eastern Hokkaido. You’ll see traditional forms and modern works within, making it a relaxing way to feel the cultural pulse of this corner of Japan.

Travelling as a family? Be sure to check out its kid-friendly programs, as they will keep them engaged as you head off to check out the highlights of this hidden gem.

In some circles, Obihiro is best known for being a centre of horse racing. The source of this fame stems from the unique races that are run at Banei Tokachi Horse Race Track. Horse racing fans from all over Japan flock here to take in races that are run by massive draft horses.

In these contests, these beautiful creatures drag a one-ton iron sled as they race each other, adding an element of difficulty to what is already an exciting sport. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have to climb over obstacles, making it a must-see sport while you are on a visit to Obihiro.

If you are visiting Japan during winter, Hokkaido is the place to be, as its northern location, mountains, and massive amounts of snow give visitors the best overall experience of this season. If you plan on visiting the island during the first weekend in February, make plans to attend the Obihiro Ice Festival.

To be clear, this is nothing like the big event in Sapporo – this is a lower-key event, with an emphasis on smaller ice sculptures. While this may not appeal to those seeking big attractions, the smaller crowds at this event make it a great place to hang out if you are looking for an event that is under the radar.

Other Attractions

Those who love greenery and the outdoors will want to include the Manabe Garden in their travel plans on a visit to Obihiro. Home to a number of features that are the best or first in Japan, it is a unique and beautiful botanical garden that will interest those into botany.

Given its location in Hokkaido, the presence of a conifer garden shouldn’t be too surprising, but it was the first of its kind in Japan and it is a masterpiece you shouldn’t miss. In addition to Japanese-style gardens, there are a number of western style gardens as well.

During your visit, be sure to keep your eyes open for some really old trees, as some of them exceed 1,000 years old.

A while back, railways in Japan once ran a line to Obihiro. Unfortunately, it didn’t get enough volume to justify keeping it open, leaving Kofuku Station without anyone to arrive or depart from it. However, its name saved it from the wrecking ball, as it translates it to ‘happiness’ in English.

This made it a popular destination among the locals, who have bought tickets over the years, affixing the white and pink boarding passes to the walls. Even if you aren’t into this, its rail cars and other displays will hold your interest during your visit here.

Grab a meal during your visit to Obihiro by walking through an alley known locally as Kita no Yatai. While Japanese specialities can be easily found here, you’ll also find Japanized versions of many western dishes as well.

If you need a breather during your travels in the Obihiro, take a seat on a bench in Midorigaoka Park. If you are looking for a place to exercise, this spot works as well – just be sure to take a break to check out the famous Hokkaido squirrels.

Top 33 Things To Do in Obihiro, Japan For Visitors

Obihiro, located in the heart of Hokkaido, Japan, offers a multitude of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests. Here are the top 33 things to do in Obihiro for visitors, each described in detail to help you make the most of your trip.

1. Visit Obihiro Shrine

  • Experience Spiritual Serenity: Obihiro Shrine, steeped in Shinto traditions, offers a peaceful retreat. The shrine’s architecture and serene surroundings provide a glimpse into Japan’s spiritual heritage.

2. Explore Tokachi Museum

  • Discover Local History: The museum showcases the history and culture of the Tokachi region, including exhibits on the Ainu people, local flora and fauna, and the development of agriculture in the area.

3. Enjoy Tokachi Beef

  • Culinary Delight: Known for its marbling and flavor, Tokachi beef is a must-try. Visit local restaurants to experience this delicacy in various forms, from steaks to sukiyaki.

4. Relax in Tokachigawa Onsen

  • Healing Hot Springs: Unique for its moor hot springs, which are said to have healing properties, spending a day at Tokachigawa Onsen is both rejuvenating and relaxing.

5. Stroll Through Midorigaoka Park

  • Nature’s Beauty: This sprawling park is a perfect spot for a leisurely walk, picnic, or just to enjoy the beauty of nature, especially during cherry blossom season.

6. Experience the Obihiro Ice Festival

  • Winter Wonder: Held in February, this festival features stunning ice sculptures, snow activities, and local food stalls, offering a magical winter experience.

7. Visit Shichiku Garden

  • Floral Paradise: Home to a wide variety of flowers and plants, the garden is a riot of colors, especially in spring and summer.

8. Try Buta-don

  • Local Specialty: This dish, made with grilled pork over rice, is a local favorite. Numerous restaurants in Obihiro offer their unique take on this simple yet delicious meal.

9. Attend the Obihiro Horse Races

  • Thrilling Sport: The Obihiro Racecourse is known for Ban’ei horse racing, a unique form of racing involving draft horses pulling heavy sleds.

10. Explore Kofuku Station

  • Charming Spot: This disused train station, known as the “station of happiness,” has become a popular photo spot and symbol of good luck.

11. Shop at Kita no Yatai

  • Local Market Experience: This lively area is great for shopping and trying street food. It’s bustling with energy and local flavors.

12. Visit the Obihiro Zoo

  • Family Fun: The zoo is home to various species and is particularly famous for its conservation efforts for the Ezo brown bear.

13. Golfing in Tokachi

  • Golfer’s Delight: The region offers several high-quality golf courses, set against the backdrop of Hokkaido’s stunning natural beauty.

14. Cycling Along Tokachi River

  • Scenic Ride: Rent a bike and enjoy a leisurely ride along the Tokachi River, taking in the picturesque landscapes.

15. Skiing and Snowboarding

  • Winter Sports: Nearby mountains provide excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, catering to all skill levels.

16. Attend the Tokachi Food Festival

  • Gastronomic Adventure: This festival is a celebration of local cuisine, where you can sample a wide range of regional dishes and ingredients.

17. Visit the Tokachi Hills

  • Scenic Beauty: Offering beautiful gardens and agricultural experiences, it’s a great place to learn about local farming and enjoy scenic views.

18. Explore the Manabe Garden

  • Horticultural Delight: This garden is known for its beautiful landscapes, combining Japanese and Western gardening styles.

19. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

  • Aerial Views: Experience Obihiro from the sky with a hot air balloon ride, offering breathtaking views of the region.

20. Enjoy Dairy Products

  • Taste of Hokkaido: The region’s rich dairy products, like ice cream and cheese, are renowned. Visit local farms and shops to sample these fresh delights.

21. Visit the Tokachi Ecology Park

  • Nature’s Classroom: This park is a great place to learn about the local ecosystem and see various plant and animal species.

22. Try Local Sweets

  • Sweet Treats: Obihiro is known for its confectioneries. Don’t miss trying the local sweets, especially the famous mochi and pastries.

23. Experience Traditional Ainu Crafts

  • Cultural Insight: Participate in workshops to learn about Ainu crafts and culture, offering a hands-on experience of this indigenous heritage.

24. Visit Rokka-no-Mori

  • Artistic Nature: This unique attraction combines art and nature, featuring sculptures and installations amidst natural beauty.

25. Go to Memuro Park

  • Local Getaway: A great spot for families and nature enthusiasts, the park offers walking trails, flower fields, and recreational facilities.

26. Enjoy the Nightlife at Nishi 2-jo Avenue

  • Vibrant Evenings: This avenue is lined with bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, perfect for experiencing Obihiro’s nightlife.

27. Visit the Obihiro Centennial City Museum

  • Learn Local History: The museum provides insights into the city’s development over the past century, with interesting exhibits and artifacts.

28. Participate in Snowshoeing

  • Winter Adventure: Join a snowshoeing tour to explore the winter landscapes of Obihiro and the surrounding areas.

29. Try Local Craft Beer

  • Brewery Experience: Hokkaido is known for its craft beer. Visit local breweries to taste unique beers made with local ingredients.

30. Hike in the Hidaka Mountains

  • Outdoor Exploration: The nearby Hidaka Mountains offer excellent hiking opportunities, with trails for all levels of hikers.

31. Visit the Satsunai River

  • Peaceful Retreat: The river is ideal for fishing, picnicking, or simply enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

32. Explore Taushubetsu Bridge

  • Historic Site: This decommissioned railway bridge offers a glimpse into the past and is especially picturesque in winter.

33. Attend a Local Cooking Class

  • Culinary Skills: Learn to cook local dishes with a hands-on cooking class, a great way to bring a piece of Obihiro back home.

These activities offer a comprehensive experience of Obihiro, blending cultural explorations, natural wonders, and culinary delights. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Obihiro has something for every traveler.

What To Eat and Drink in Obihiro, Hokkaido

Obihiro, located in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido, Japan, is a haven for food enthusiasts. The region’s rich agricultural heritage, combined with its unique culinary traditions, offers a diverse array of local specialties. Here’s an extensive guide on what to eat and drink when visiting Obihiro.

1. Buta-don (Pork Bowl)

  • Iconic Dish: Buta-don, a simple yet delicious dish of grilled pork served over a bowl of rice, is Obihiro’s signature dish. The pork is typically marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and grilled to perfection, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

2. Tokachi Beef

  • Premium Quality: Renowned for its marbling and taste, Tokachi beef is a must-try for meat lovers. It can be enjoyed in various forms, such as steaks, yakiniku (grilled meat), and sukiyaki.

3. Dairy Products

  • Rich and Creamy: Hokkaido is famous for its dairy products, and Obihiro is no exception. Creamy ice creams, cheeses, and fresh milk are widely available and are known for their superior quality.

4. Fresh Seafood

  • Ocean’s Bounty: Despite being inland, Obihiro has access to fresh seafood from the nearby coasts. Enjoy delicacies like salmon, scallops, and sea urchin, which are often incorporated into sushi and sashimi platters.

5. Soba Noodles

  • Local Flavour: Soba (buckwheat noodles) made with locally grown buckwheat is popular. These noodles can be enjoyed cold with a dipping sauce or in a hot, comforting broth.

6. Sweet Corn

  • Seasonal Treat: Hokkaido’s sweet corn is known for its exceptional sweetness. It can be enjoyed grilled, boiled, or as a component in various dishes.

7. Baked Goods

  • Confectionery Delights: The region’s dairy products contribute to creating delectable pastries and baked goods. Look out for local bakeries offering unique bread, cakes, and pastries.

8. Potato Dishes

  • Versatile Root: Potatoes are another staple crop in Hokkaido. Sample dishes like potato croquettes, potato salads, and even potato-based desserts.

9. Local Beer

  • Craft Brews: Hokkaido’s burgeoning craft beer scene means there are plenty of local brews to try. These often incorporate local ingredients, providing a unique taste experience.

10. Whiskey and Spirits

11. Ramen

  • Hokkaido’s Specialty: While not unique to Obihiro, Hokkaido’s ramen, particularly the miso-based variety, is famous throughout Japan. Rich and flavorful, it’s a must-try.

12. Genghis Khan (Jingisukan)

  • Savory BBQ: This grilled mutton dish, named after the Mongolian ruler, is a popular Hokkaido cuisine. It’s typically cooked on a dome-shaped skillet and served with vegetables.

13. Curry Soup

  • Local Innovation: A unique twist on traditional Japanese curry, curry soup is a flavorful and hearty dish, perfect for Obihiro’s cooler climate.

14. Asparagus Dishes

  • Seasonal Delicacy: Fresh green asparagus from Hokkaido is a treat in spring. It’s often grilled, made into soups, or served as a side dish.

15. Patisseries and Sweets

  • Sweet Tooth’s Paradise: The influence of French and Western confectionery techniques combined with Hokkaido’s dairy products results in exquisite pastries, cakes, and sweets.

16. Fruit Juices and Smoothies

  • Natural Goodness: Hokkaido’s wide variety of fruits, such as melons and berries, make for delicious, fresh juices and smoothies.

17. Tea and Coffee

  • Brewed Perfection: Local cafes often serve high-quality Japanese tea and coffee, reflecting the growing coffee culture in Japan.

18. Shochu and Sake

  • Traditional Spirits: These traditional Japanese alcoholic beverages are available in various forms, from smooth and refined to rich and robust, offering something for every palate.

19. Local Wine

  • Vineyard Visits: Hokkaido’s cool climate is conducive to wine production. Try local wines that are gaining recognition for their quality.

20. Soup Curry

  • A Hokkaido Twist: A lighter version of traditional Japanese curry, soup curry, is infused with spices and filled with vegetables and meat, showcasing Hokkaido’s produce.

The culinary landscape of Obihiro is a fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine and the rich agricultural produce of Hokkaido. From hearty bowls of buta-don to delicate pastries and robust local brews, the food and drink in Obihiro provide a delicious window into the culture and traditions of this unique region. Each dish and beverage tells a story of the land, climate, and the people of Obihiro, making the dining experience here as enriching as it is enjoyable.

Top Restaurants In Obihiro, Hokkaido

Obihiro, in Hokkaido, Japan, is renowned for its culinary scene, offering a delightful mix of local specialties and international cuisines. Here’s a detailed guide to some of the top restaurants in Obihiro, each known for its unique offerings and exceptional dining experiences.

1. Indian Restaurant Tandoor

  • Cuisine: Authentic Indian
  • Specialties: Offers a wide range of Indian dishes, including tandoori chicken, naan bread, and various curries. Vegetarian options are available.
  • Ambiance: Cozy and decorated with traditional Indian motifs, providing an authentic dining experience.
  • Location: Conveniently located in the city center.

2. Butadon no Tonta

  • Cuisine: Japanese (Specializing in Buta-don)
  • Specialties: Famous for its buta-don, a bowl of rice topped with succulent grilled pork. The pork is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then grilled to perfection.
  • Ambiance: Casual and busy, often with a line of locals and tourists alike waiting to savor their famous dish.
  • Location: A short walk from Obihiro Station.

3. Rokkatei

  • Cuisine: Japanese/Western Fusion, Confectionery
  • Specialties: Known for its sweets and pastries, including the famous Marusei butter sandwich. Also serves light meals and tea.
  • Ambiance: Elegant and serene, perfect for a relaxed afternoon tea.
  • Location: Multiple locations throughout Obihiro.

4. Heiwaen

  • Cuisine: Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ)
  • Specialties: Offers a variety of high-quality meats for grilling, including locally sourced beef and pork. A great place to enjoy Hokkaido’s renowned beef.
  • Ambiance: Modern and comfortable, with individual grills at each table.
  • Location: Easily accessible in the city center.

5. Akanoren Ramen

  • Cuisine: Japanese (Ramen)
  • Specialties: Famous for its rich and flavorful miso ramen, made with a unique blend of spices and local ingredients.
  • Ambiance: Small and unpretentious, offering a quintessential Japanese ramen shop experience.
  • Location: In the heart of Obihiro, a short distance from major attractions.

6. Genghis Khan Shirakaba

  • Cuisine: Japanese (Specializing in Jingisukan)
  • Specialties: Specializes in Genghis Khan (Jingisukan), a grilled mutton dish served with vegetables. The mutton is fresh and the sauce is a perfect complement.
  • Ambiance: Rustic and lively, providing an authentic Hokkaido dining experience.
  • Location: Centrally located, easy to find.

7. Masuya

  • Cuisine: Japanese (Sushi and Seafood)
  • Specialties: Offers a wide range of sushi and sashimi, featuring fresh seafood from Hokkaido’s coasts. Their seasonal specials are a must-try.
  • Ambiance: Traditional Japanese sushi restaurant setting, with counter seating available.
  • Location: Close to Obihiro Station.

8. Goemon

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Specialties: Serves Italian classics with a Japanese twist. Known for its pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas.
  • Ambiance: Cozy and inviting, with a warm, European feel.
  • Location: Situated in a convenient location for tourists.

9. Moritaya

  • Cuisine: Japanese (Specializing in Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu)
  • Specialties: Known for its sukiyaki and shabu shabu, using high-quality meats and fresh local vegetables.
  • Ambiance: Traditional Japanese dining with a focus on a refined experience.
  • Location: Nestled in a quieter part of the city, providing a peaceful dining atmosphere.

10. Kita no Ice Cream Yasan

  • Cuisine: Dessert (Ice Cream)
  • Specialties: Famous for its wide variety of ice cream flavors made from Hokkaido’s renowned dairy products. Unique flavors include lavender and melon.
  • Ambiance: Casual and family-friendly.
  • Location: Located near popular tourist spots, perfect for a sweet treat while exploring the city.

Conclusion

These top restaurants in Obihiro offer a taste of not just local Hokkaido cuisine but also international flavors, each providing a unique dining experience. From traditional Japanese dishes like buta-don and ramen to global cuisines such as Indian and Italian, Obihiro’s culinary landscape is diverse and rich. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a luxurious dining experience, Obihiro has something to satisfy every palate.

Tours For Visitors To Obihiro, Hokkaido

Obihiro, in Hokkaido, Japan, offers an array of tours that allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights. Here’s an extensive guide to some of the best tours available for visitors to Obihiro.

1. Obihiro City Sightseeing Tour

  • Overview: A comprehensive tour of Obihiro’s main attractions, including the Obihiro Shrine, Tokachi Museum, and various parks.
  • Highlights: Visit historical sites, enjoy scenic walks, and learn about the city’s culture and history.
  • Duration: Typically half-day to full-day tours.
  • Ideal for: First-time visitors wanting an overview of the city.

2. Tokachi Gourmet Food Tour

  • Overview: This tour focuses on the culinary delights of the Tokachi region, famous for its agricultural produce.
  • Highlights: Sample local specialties like buta-don, Tokachi beef, and fresh dairy products. Visit local farms and markets.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day options.
  • Ideal for: Food enthusiasts looking to explore local flavors.

3. Obihiro Hot Spring Experience

  • Overview: A relaxing tour to some of the best hot springs (onsen) in and around Obihiro.
  • Highlights: Visit Tokachigawa Onsen and other popular hot springs, enjoy therapeutic baths and serene nature.
  • Duration: Half-day or full-day, with some tours offering overnight stays.
  • Ideal for: Those seeking relaxation and wellness experiences.

4. Tokachi River Cycling Tour

  • Overview: A guided cycling tour along the beautiful Tokachi River.
  • Highlights: Enjoy picturesque landscapes, stop at local attractions, and possibly spot wildlife.
  • Duration: 2-4 hours, depending on the route.
  • Ideal for: Active travelers and nature lovers.

5. Obihiro Horse Racing and Farm Tour

  • Overview: A unique tour combining a visit to the Obihiro Racecourse and local horse farms.
  • Highlights: Experience the excitement of Ban’ei horse racing and learn about horse breeding and training in Hokkaido.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day.
  • Ideal for: Animal lovers and those interested in equestrian sports.

6. Shichiku Garden and Flower Tour

  • Overview: A tour focused on the beautiful gardens and flower fields around Obihiro.
  • Highlights: Visit Shichiku Garden and other floral attractions, perfect for photography and nature walks.
  • Duration: Half-day tour.
  • Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts and photographers.

7. Obihiro Nightlife and Dining Tour

  • Overview: Explore the vibrant nightlife and dining scene of Obihiro.
  • Highlights: Visit popular bars, izakayas, and restaurants, try local drinks and snacks.
  • Duration: Evening tour, typically 2-4 hours.
  • Ideal for: Those looking to experience the local food and nightlife.

8. Winter Sports Adventure Tour

  • Overview: During winter, enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities in the surrounding mountains.
  • Highlights: Access to ski resorts, snowshoeing experiences, and possibly ice fishing.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day, with options for longer stays.
  • Ideal for: Winter sports enthusiasts.

9. Obihiro Art and Culture Tour

  • Overview: A tour focusing on the art and cultural aspects of Obihiro.
  • Highlights: Visit local art galleries, artisan workshops, and cultural sites, including Ainu craft experiences.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day.
  • Ideal for: Art and culture buffs.

10. Obihiro Agricultural Tour

  • Overview: Dive into the agricultural heart of the Tokachi region.
  • Highlights: Visit local farms, learn about dairy and crop production, and participate in farm activities.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day.
  • Ideal for: Those interested in farming and sustainable practices.

The tours available in Obihiro cater to a wide range of interests, from food and nature to culture and sports. Each tour provides a unique way to experience the charm and beauty of Obihiro and the surrounding Tokachi region, making your visit both memorable and enriching. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Obihiro’s tours offer something special for every traveler.

Obihiro Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Obihiro, a city in Hokkaido, Japan, offers a range of accommodation options catering to different preferences and budgets. From luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels, here’s a detailed guide to help you choose the perfect place to stay in Obihiro.

Luxury Hotels

  1. Tokachi Gardens Hotel
    • Features: Upscale rooms, on-site dining options, spa services, and a fitness center.
    • Unique Selling Point: Offers a serene garden view and elegant decor.
    • Location: Conveniently located near Obihiro Station.
  2. Dormy Inn Obihiro
    • Features: Modern rooms with high-end amenities, a public bath, sauna, and complimentary breakfast.
    • Unique Selling Point: Known for its natural hot spring baths.
    • Location: Centrally located, ideal for exploring the city.

Mid-Range Hotels

  1. Hotel Nikko Northland Obihiro
    • Features: Comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a business center.
    • Unique Selling Point: Balances comfort with affordability; good for business and leisure travelers.
    • Location: Close to Obihiro Station, providing easy access to public transport.
  2. Hotel AreaOne Obihiro
    • Features: Cozy rooms, free Wi-Fi, and an on-site restaurant.
    • Unique Selling Point: Offers a comfortable stay at a reasonable price.
    • Location: Near major attractions and shopping areas.

Budget Hotels and Hostels

  1. Obihiro Yachiyo Youth Hostel
    • Features: Basic dormitory-style rooms, communal areas, and kitchen facilities.
    • Unique Selling Point: A budget-friendly option with a friendly, communal atmosphere.
    • Location: A bit removed from the city center, offering a quiet environment.
  2. Business Hotel Plum Field
    • Features: Simple, clean rooms with essential amenities, and breakfast included.
    • Unique Selling Point: Ideal for business travelers or those looking for an economical stay.
    • Location: Conveniently located near business districts and public transport.

Guesthouses and B&Bs

  1. Guest House Asahikawa
    • Features: Homey atmosphere, private and shared rooms, communal lounge, and kitchen.
    • Unique Selling Point: Offers a more personalized and local experience.
    • Location: Nestled in a residential area, providing a quiet retreat.
  2. Fukui Hotel
    • Features: Traditional Japanese-style rooms, onsen facilities, and local cuisine.
    • Unique Selling Point: Experience traditional Japanese hospitality and hot spring baths.
    • Location: Located in a scenic area, perfect for those seeking a peaceful environment.

Ryokans (Traditional Japanese Inns)

  1. Ryokan Nuppun Oyado Kiyomizu
    • Features: Traditional tatami rooms, onsen, and kaiseki (multi-course) meals.
    • Unique Selling Point: Offers an authentic Japanese cultural experience.
    • Location: Situated in a picturesque area, ideal for experiencing Japan’s natural beauty.
  2. Kangetsuen Ryokan
    • Features: Elegant rooms with views, hot spring baths, and exquisite local cuisine.
    • Unique Selling Point: Provides luxurious traditional accommodations and gourmet dining.
    • Location: Located near the Tokachi River, offering tranquil surroundings.

Specialized Accommodations

  1. Farm Stays
    • Features: Stay on a working farm, participate in farm activities, and enjoy homemade meals.
    • Unique Selling Point: Experience rural life in Hokkaido and connect with local farmers.
    • Location: Scattered around the outskirts of Obihiro.
  2. Eco-Lodges
    • Features: Environmentally friendly accommodations, often with sustainable practices.
    • Unique Selling Point: Ideal for eco-conscious travelers.
    • Location: Typically located in more secluded, natural settings.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the luxury of a high-end hotel, the charm of a traditional ryokan, the homeliness of a guesthouse, or the affordability of a hostel, Obihiro offers a wide range of accommodations to suit your needs. Each option provides a different way to experience the city, from its bustling center to its serene outskirts, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay in Obihiro.

Obihiro 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary

Planning a 3 to 4-day trip to Obihiro in Hokkaido, Japan, provides ample opportunity to explore the city’s natural beauty, culinary delights, and cultural sites. Here’s a detailed itinerary to help you make the most of your visit to Obihiro.

Day 1: Explore Central Obihiro

  • Morning:
    • Arrive at Obihiro Station.
    • Have breakfast at a local café, trying some Hokkaido dairy products.
    • Visit the Obihiro Shrine to experience a serene start to your trip.
  • Afternoon:
    • Lunch at Butadon no Tonta for a taste of Obihiro’s famous buta-don.
    • Stroll through Midorigaoka Park, enjoying its lush greenery.
    • Explore the Tokachi Museum to learn about the region’s history and culture.
  • Evening:
    • Dinner at an izakaya in Kita no Yatai, sampling various local dishes.
    • Explore Nishi 2-jo Avenue for a taste of Obihiro’s nightlife.

Day 2: Nature and Hot Springs

  • Morning:
    • Early breakfast at the hotel.
    • Head to Shichiku Garden to see the beautiful flower arrangements.
  • Afternoon:
    • Lunch at a local restaurant serving fresh Hokkaido ingredients.
    • Visit Tokachigawa Onsen for a relaxing hot spring experience.
    • Enjoy therapeutic baths and serene nature.
  • Evening:
    • Dinner at the onsen resort, trying local specialties.
    • Spend the night at the onsen resort for a full relaxation experience.

Day 3: Adventure and Local Cuisine

  • Morning:
    • Breakfast at the onsen resort.
    • Participate in a guided cycling tour along the Tokachi River, enjoying the picturesque landscapes.
  • Afternoon:
    • Lunch at a riverside restaurant.
    • Visit the Obihiro Racecourse to experience Ban’ei horse racing (depending on the racing schedule).
  • Evening:
    • Dinner at an upscale restaurant like Tokachi Gardens Hotel, indulging in Tokachi beef.
    • Enjoy a leisurely evening walk around the city, exploring local shops and cafes.

Day 4: Cultural Immersion and Departure

  • Morning:
    • Breakfast in a local bakery, trying some Hokkaido pastries.
    • Visit local art galleries or participate in a traditional Ainu craft workshop.
  • Afternoon:
    • Lunch at a sushi restaurant like Masuya, enjoying fresh Hokkaido seafood.
    • If time allows, visit a local coffee shop for a taste of Hokkaido-grown beans.
    • Head to Obihiro Station for your departure.

Optional Activities (If Time Permits)

  • Winter Sports: If visiting in winter, allocate a day for skiing or snowboarding in the nearby mountains.
  • Agricultural Tour: Visit a local farm to learn about Hokkaido’s agricultural practices and enjoy a farm-to-table meal.
  • Day Trip to Nearby Towns: Consider a day trip to nearby towns like Otofuke or Shintoku for additional hot springs, nature walks, and culinary experiences.

Travel Tips

  • Transportation: Rent a car for easier access to some of the more remote locations, or use the efficient local public transportation.
  • Weather: Dress appropriately for the season. Winters are cold and snowy, while summers are mild.
  • Local Customs: Respect local customs and etiquette, especially in onsens and religious sites.

This itinerary offers a blend of Obihiro’s natural beauty, cultural experiences, and culinary delights, ensuring a well-rounded and memorable visit to this charming city in Hokkaido.

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Obihiro?

After exploring Obihiro in Hokkaido, Japan, there are numerous other fascinating destinations you can visit, each offering its unique attractions and experiences. Whether you’re interested in more urban exploration, natural beauty, cultural immersion, or culinary adventures, here are several destinations you might consider for your next journey.

1. Sapporo

  • Highlights: As Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo is famous for its annual Snow Festival, Odori Park, the historic Clock Tower, and the Sapporo Beer Museum.
  • Activities: Enjoy urban exploration, shopping, dining, and vibrant nightlife.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 2.5 hours by train.

2. Furano and Biei

  • Highlights: Known for their stunning lavender fields and picturesque rural landscapes. The Blue Pond in Biei is especially famous.
  • Activities: Flower viewing, cycling, and enjoying the quaint, pastoral charm of the countryside.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 2 hours by car.

3. Asahikawa

  • Highlights: Home to the Asahiyama Zoo, one of Japan’s most popular zoos, and the Asahikawa Ramen Village.
  • Activities: Zoo visit, ramen tasting, and exploring local crafts and furniture.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 2.5 hours by train.

4. Kushiro

  • Highlights: Famous for the Kushiro Marshlands, Japan’s largest wetland and a haven for rare wildlife including the Japanese crane.
  • Activities: Wildlife watching, exploring the Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf, and enjoying local seafood.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 2 hours by train.

5. Hakodate

  • Highlights: Known for its spectacular night views from Mount Hakodate, the historical Goryokaku fort, and its unique blend of Japanese and Western architecture.
  • Activities: Cable car ride to Mount Hakodate, visiting historical sites, and exploring the morning market.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 4 hours by train.

6. Shiretoko Peninsula

  • Highlights: A UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its untouched natural beauty and wildlife.
  • Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, and taking boat tours to see waterfalls and possibly bears.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 4-5 hours by car.

7. Lake Toya and Noboribetsu

  • Highlights: Lake Toya offers stunning natural beauty and is near Noboribetsu, famous for its hot springs and the otherworldly Jigokudani (Hell Valley).
  • Activities: Onsen experiences, hiking, and enjoying the scenic beauty of caldera lakes and volcanic landscapes.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 3 hours by car.

8. Niseko

  • Highlights: Renowned for its world-class ski resorts and beautiful alpine scenery.
  • Activities: Skiing, snowboarding in winter, and outdoor activities like rafting and hiking in the summer.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 3.5 hours by car.

9. Otaru

  • Highlights: A charming port city known for its beautifully preserved canal area, glasswork shops, and fresh seafood.
  • Activities: Strolling along the Otaru Canal, visiting glass studios, and enjoying sushi along the waterfront.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 3.5 hours by train.

10. Rishiri and Rebun Islands

  • Highlights: These remote islands in the Sea of Japan are known for their wildflowers, hiking trails, and stunning coastal landscapes.
  • Activities: Trekking, flower viewing, and enjoying the serene island atmosphere.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Requires a combination of train to Wakkanai and a ferry, taking about 6-7 hours in total.

11. Akan National Park

  • Highlights: Known for its beautiful crater lakes, such as Lake Mashu and Lake Akan, and the unique marimo algae balls.
  • Activities: Hiking, hot spring baths, and exploring the Ainu culture in the area.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 3 hours by car.

12. Tomakomai

  • Highlights: A coastal city offering fresh seafood, golf courses, and proximity to Lake Utonai, a famous bird sanctuary.
  • Activities: Bird watching, enjoying seaside parks, and visiting local markets.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 2 hours by train.

13. Yoichi

  • Highlights: Home to the famous Nikka Whisky Distillery, Yoichi offers a deep dive into the world of Japanese whisky.
  • Activities: Distillery tours, whisky tasting, and exploring the charming small-town atmosphere.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 4 hours by train.

14. Abashiri

  • Highlights: Best known for the Abashiri Prison Museum and the Drift Ice in the Okhotsk Sea, visible during winter.
  • Activities: Visiting the museum, drift ice sightseeing cruises, and exploring the nearby Shiretoko Peninsula.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 3.5 hours by car.

15. Teshikaga (Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu)

  • Highlights: These lakes are part of the Akan National Park and are known for their stunningly clear waters and volcanic landscapes.
  • Activities: Canoeing, hiking, and visiting hot spring resorts.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Roughly 3 hours by car.

16. Wakkanai

  • Highlights: The northernmost city in Japan, known for its proximity to Rishiri and Rebun Islands and the Cape Soya.
  • Activities: Visiting the Cape Soya monument, enjoying fresh seafood, and taking ferry trips to the nearby islands.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 6 hours by train.

17. Tokachigawa

  • Highlights: Known for its unique moor hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties.
  • Activities: Enjoying onsen experiences and exploring the beautiful natural surroundings.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Less than an hour by car.

18. Daisetsuzan National Park

  • Highlights: Japan’s largest national park, offering some of the most pristine wilderness, hiking trails, and onsen resorts.
  • Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, and visiting hot springs.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 2 hours by car.

19. Hidaka Mountains

  • Highlights: A stunning mountain range known for its outdoor activities and natural beauty.
  • Activities: Hiking, horseback riding, and fishing in the pristine rivers.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 2 hours by car.

20. Muroran

  • Highlights: A port city known for its industrial heritage and scenic views, like Cape Chikyu.
  • Activities: Exploring industrial facilities, enjoying coastal drives, and sampling local cuisine.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 2.5 hours by train.

21. Jozankei Onsen

  • Highlights: A famous hot spring town located in the mountains near Sapporo.
  • Activities: Enjoy various onsen facilities, nature walks, and local Hokkaido cuisine.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 3 hours by car.

22. Iwamizawa

  • Highlights: Known for its beautiful parks and gardens, including the Hokkaido Greenland amusement park.
  • Activities: Amusement park visits, garden strolls, and experiencing local festivals.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 2.5 hours by train.

23. Chitose and Lake Shikotsu

  • Highlights: Proximity to New Chitose Airport, the beautiful caldera lake – Lake Shikotsu, and various onsen resorts.
  • Activities: Lakeside activities, onsen visits, and exploring the Chitose Salmon Aquarium.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 2.5 hours by car.

24. Esashi

  • Highlights: A historic town known for its well-preserved district with buildings from the Edo period.
  • Activities: Historical exploration, visiting the Esashi Oiwake Hall (folk music hall), and enjoying seafood.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 5 hours by car.

25. Matsumae

  • Highlights: Famous for Matsumae Castle, the only traditional style castle in Hokkaido, and its cherry blossom spots.
  • Activities: Castle visit, cherry blossom viewing, and exploring historical museums.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 6 hours by car.

26. Monbetsu

  • Highlights: Known for its drift ice sightseeing in winter and the Okhotsk Tokkari Center, a seal rehabilitation center.
  • Activities: Drift ice cruises, seal watching, and visiting the Monbetsu Drift Ice Science Center.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 4 hours by car.

27. Kamiyubetsu

  • Highlights: Famous for the Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park, with millions of tulips blooming in spring.
  • Activities: Tulip viewing, park visits, and enjoying the scenic rural landscapes.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 4 hours by car.

28. Kitami

  • Highlights: Known for its yakiniku (grilled meat) culture and the Onneyu Hot Spring.
  • Activities: Enjoying local yakiniku, visiting hot springs, and exploring the Kitami Mint Memorial Museum.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Around 3 hours by car.

29. Kushiro Shitsugen National Park

  • Highlights: Japan’s largest marshland, offering unique landscapes and wildlife viewing, including the Japanese crane.
  • Activities: Canoeing, walking on nature trails, and bird watching.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: About 2 hours by train.

30. Mombetsu

  • Highlights: A coastal town famous for its icebreaker ship tours to view drift ice in the Sea of Okhotsk.
  • Activities: Drift ice tours, visiting the Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum, and enjoying fresh seafood.
  • Travel Time from Obihiro: Approximately 4 hours by car.

Travel Tips

  • Planning: Consider the time of year and your interests (nature, food, culture) when choosing your next destination.
  • Transportation: Japan’s efficient public transportation system, including trains and buses, makes it relatively easy to travel between these destinations.
  • Accommodations: Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or local festivals.

Each of these destinations offers a unique glimpse into the diverse beauty and culture of Hokkaido and Japan, making them excellent choices for extending your travel adventures after visiting Obihiro.

Obihiro Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

As your journey through Obihiro, Hokkaido comes to a close, it’s worth reflecting on the unique experiences this charming city offers. Nestled in the heart of Japan’s northernmost island, Obihiro presents a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary excellence that provides a distinct and memorable travel experience.

The Essence of Obihiro

  • Natural Splendor: Obihiro is surrounded by the enchanting beauty of Hokkaido’s landscapes. The serene Tokachi Plains, the picturesque Shichiku Garden, and the tranquil Tokachi River exemplify the region’s natural allure.
  • Culinary Delights: The city is a haven for food enthusiasts. From the iconic buta-don (pork bowl) to the exquisite Tokachi beef, the region’s agricultural bounty is showcased in its cuisine. The local dairy products and fresh produce further enhance the culinary landscape.
  • Cultural Richness: The city’s history, intertwined with the Ainu culture and the development of post-Meiji Restoration Japan, is evident in its museums, architecture, and cultural events.

Memorable Experiences

  • Hot Spring Relaxation: The unique moor hot springs, like those in Tokachigawa, offer a rejuvenating experience, distinct from other onsen experiences across Japan.
  • Festivals and Events: Seasonal events, such as the Obihiro Ice Festival and local food festivals, provide a glimpse into the vibrant community life and traditions.
  • Outdoor Adventures: The region caters to outdoor enthusiasts with activities ranging from serene walks along the Tokachi River to adrenaline-pumping winter sports in the nearby mountains.

Travel Tips

  • Best Time to Visit: While each season offers its unique charm, the summer months are ideal for outdoor activities and gardens, whereas winter is perfect for experiencing snowscapes and onsen.
  • Getting Around: Public transportation in Obihiro is efficient, but renting a car can offer more flexibility, especially for exploring the outskirts.
  • Local Etiquette: Respect local customs, particularly when visiting religious sites or using public baths. It’s also customary to remove shoes when entering certain indoor areas.

Accommodation

  • From luxurious hotels with onsen facilities to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels, there’s an accommodation to suit every preference and budget.

Sustainability

  • As a visitor, consider engaging in sustainable tourism practices. Respect natural sites, support local businesses, and be mindful of your environmental impact.

Final Reflections

Obihiro is more than just a destination; it’s an experience that offers a blend of tranquility, culinary discovery, and a deep connection with nature and culture. It’s a city where the pace of life is slower, allowing you to savor each moment, whether it’s in the quiet of a garden, the warmth of a hot spring, or the joy of a delicious meal. The hospitality of its people and the serene landscape make Obihiro a special place, leaving visitors with cherished memories and a desire to return.

As you depart from Obihiro, you carry with you not just souvenirs, but stories, flavors, and moments that are uniquely Hokkaido. Obihiro is a reminder of the diverse beauty of Japan, offering a blend of modernity and tradition, nature and comfort, excitement and peace. It’s a city that truly encapsulates the essence of travel – the joy of exploring new places, understanding different cultures, and discovering yourself along the way.

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