Betsukai (also called Bekkai to locals) is two times larger than Tokyo’s 23 wards. Some 15,000 people and 120,000 cows (!) living this grand-scale town.
Highlights Old Okuyuki Relay Station, Betsukai Historical Museum, Bekkai Korakuen
Tourist Information Betsukai Tourist Information Center (別海観光案内所): Betsukai Purato bus terminal (see below) / 67-1 Asahi-cho / 9am-5pm / betsukai-kanko.jp
01 HISTORIC BUILDING
Old Okuyuki Relay Station
旧奥行駅逓所 / Kyu Okuyuki Ekiteisho / Okuyuki / 10am-4.30pm May-Oct / Closed 1st & 3rd Mon / FREE
Halfway between Betsukai and Attoko (in Western Nemuro), this wooden ekiteisho was built in 1910 as a relay station of the region with a ryokan, a post office and horses. It has eight guest rooms and historical artefacts. The ekiteisho is 150m south of Okuyuki (奥行) stop on the bus route between (Nemuro) Attoko and Nakashibetsu.
02 HISTORIC BUILDING
Old Okuyukiusu Station
旧奥行臼駅 / Okuyuki / 24hrs / FREE
About 200m south of Okiyuki Relay Station, you will find the nostalgic Old Okuyukiusu Station on the disused JR and municipal railways.
Near the old train station, there is also an old rolling stock of the municipal railway (別海村営軌道: Betsukai Son’ei Kido).
Old Shibetsu Line Footpath
This rail trail passes through forest and glassy meadow runs on the disused Shibetsu Line, connects Betsukai and the Old Okuyukiusu Station (12km). From Okuyukiusu, Akesato Path (明郷パス) leads south to Akesato-Ito Farm (9km) in Nemuro.
04 LOCAL HISTORY
Betsukai Historical Museum
別海町郷土資料館 · 加賀家文書館 / 30 Miyamai-cho / 9am-5pm / Closed 2nd & 4th Mon, 1st & 3rd & 5th Sat, holiday, 26 Dec-6 Jan / ¥300
This museum is split across two adjacent houses: the Historical Museum has historic artefacts and stuffed animals; the Kaga Family Archives set up display the documents of the Notsuke Peninsula written from the late Edo to Meiji periods.
On a pleasant hill about 2.5km southwest of the town center, Korakuen is worth to stay and soak for relax. Japanese-style rooms have good views across the town.
The communal onsen (day bathing 11.30am-10pm / ¥500) is cozy and 100% moor water contains organic matter of vegetable origin. On-site restaurant (11.30am-1.30pm & 5pm-7.30pm / Closed Mon) serving a la carte dishes.
It is a 10-minute walk uphill from the Kyogijo-mae stop (競技場前) on the bus route between Nakashibetsu and Attoko Station (All airport shuttle buses and a few local buses don’t stop here: See also Getting There).
Hokuto Kotsu and Nemuro Kotsu operates the night bus Aurora-go (オーロラ号) daily between Sapporo Odori Bus Center and Betsukai Purato (別海ぷらと: 7.5hrs) bus terminal.
Nemuro Kotsu operates both airport and local buses between Nakashibetsu and JR Attoko Station (2-5 daily / 70min) or Nemuro Station via Betsukai Purato. Note: All airport buses and the first and the last local buses (on weekdays) don’t stop at the Kyogijo-mae (競技場前) near Bekkai Korakuen.
Betsukai Municipal Bus Odaito Line (別海町地域生活バス尾岱沼線) operates buses from Betsukai Purato to Odaito’s Higashi Kominkan (東公民館) public hall (2-3 daily except Sun / 1hr), about 450m northwest of the fishing port (look for the sign). The morning bus from Betsukai is timed to meet the night bus from Sapporo.