Ebetsu (江別) is the largest satellite city of Sapporo and a little-known to tourists, however here is Japan’s top red brick producing area founded in 1891. Three consecutive districts make up the city: the academic town Oasa (大麻), the 19th-century farmer soldiers village Nopporo (野幌) and the old town Ebetsu Station Area (江別駅前).
01 OASA: SCENIC CAMPUS
Rakuno Gakuen University
酪農学園大学 / Bunkyodai Midori-machi / www.rakuno.ac.jp
Japan’s ‘widest’ private university in Western Ebetsu, Rakuno Gakuen was established in 1933 as a Danish-style dairy farming school. The picturesque campus is open to the public, you can walk around the white beech avenue (白樺並木) and the 1945 red brick dorm Seino-ryo (精農寮).
02 OASA: ICE CREAM
サンタクリーム / 1-25 Bunkyodai Higashi-machi / 11am-7pm / Closed Tue / santaxream.com
The lovely cafe Santa Xcream (on the 2nd floor) serves surprisingly 35cm-tall Kinento parfait (記念塔パフェ), tasteful pudding a la mode and Italian using local ingredients. Note: it is closed on Tuesday.
03 NOPPORO: RED BRICK BUILDING
エブリ / 3-3 Higashi-Nopporo-cho / 10am-10pm / Closed New Year’s holiday / www.ebri-nopporo.com
Housed in an old red brick factory built in 1942, EBRI is a shopping complex with a tourist information desk (www.ebetsu-kanko.jp). There are made-in-Ebetsu food, souvenirs and ceramics. It is a 10-minute walk northeast of JR Nopporo Station south gate along the railway track.
04 NOPPORO: RED BRICK BUILDING
Ebetsu Glass Crafts Hall
江別市ガラス工芸館 / 53 Nopporo-Yoyogi-cho / 10am-5pm Sat & Sun & holiday May-Oct / FREE
Built in 1945 by the local red brick factory’s president and among the most photogenic Ebetsu renga building, this old residence turned into a glass gallery and studio runs by Kakizaki Hitoshi. It is open to all on Saturday, Sunday and holiday except in winter.
05 NOPPORO: LOCAL HISTORY
Ebetsu Ceramic Art Center
江別市セラミックアートセンター / 114-5 Nishi-Nopporo / 9.30am-5.30pm / Closed Mon / ¥300 / www.city.ebetsu.hokkaido.jp/site/ceramic
This art center has display on the history of renga (red brick) and yakimono (ceramics) in Ebetsu. It also showcases the work of Showa-era ceramist Komori Shinobu who lived this city in his later years. On-site shop sells local ceramic works. Take the JR Bus 29 from Nopporo Station south gate (13min / hourly).
06 EBETSU: LOCAL HISTORY
Ebetsu City Museum
江別市郷土資料館 / 1-38 Midori-machi-nishi / 9.30am-5pm / Closed Mon / ¥200
Ebetsu City Museum has a good collection of interesting artifacts from 8500 years ago, look for the documents of wooden fighter for WWII manufactured in Ebetsu. It is a 15-minute walk from JR Ebetsu Station.
07 EBETSU: SHOPPING
蔦屋書店 / Makiba-cho / 8am-11pm / ebetsu-t.com
This modern red brick complex stocks a wide selection of books on lifestyle, art, food, travel and novel in the stylish halls. There are also cafes, take-away shops and restaurants. The i-Gate Ikeuchi Exit (www.igate-ikeuchi.com) rents out cross-bikes (¥700 for 2hrs / ¥3500 for 1-day). Book ahead online. It is a 20-minute walk west of JR Ebetsu Station along the Shiki-no-michi walkway (old railway track).
08 EBETSU: HISTORIC BUILDING
Old Machimura Farm
江別市旧町村農場 / 1-25 Izumino / 10am-5pm 29 Apr-23 Nov / FREE / old-machimura.jimdofree.com
Built in 1929 as an American-style dairy farm, the old Machimura farm is a fine collection of cattle barn, residence and processing house. You can purchase original ice cream and milk at the reception.
Suggested Itinerary (Nopporo & Oasa)
Nopporo Station South Gate
↓ 8min walk
↓ 8min walk
Nopporo Station South Gate
↓ JR Bus 29 to the Ceramic Art Center-mae (セラミックアートセンター前: 13min)
05 Ebetsu Ceramic Art Center
↓ JR Bus 29 to Oasa Station south gate (大麻駅南口: 23min) + 7min walk on Route 12
02 Santa Xcream
↓ 7min walk on Route 12
Suggested Itinerary (Ebetsu)
↓ Chuo Bus 5 or 55 to Dai-san Chugakko (第3中学校: 7 stops / ¥200) + 3min walk
08 Old Machimura Farm
↓ 5min walk
07 Tsutaya Books
↓ 10min walk
06 Ebetsu City Museum
↓ 13min walk
Getting There & Around
BUS: Most buses for Oasa, Nopporo and Ebetsu depart from Shin-Sapporo Station bus terminal. JR Bus 29 runs to Nopporo Sports Park via Oasa and Nopporo stations.
Yutetsu Bus (www.yutetsu.co.jp) operates local buses from Shin-Sapporo Station stop 12 to Oasa, Nopporo and Ebetsu stations continue to Nanporo Higashimachi (南幌東町), Kuriyama Station (栗山駅前) or Shin-Yubari Station (新夕張駅前: in Yubari) on the JR Sekisho Line.