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).
Location 15km northeast of Sapporo
Highlights Red Brick Buildings, Ceramic Art Center
Tourist Information Ebetsu Tourism Association (江別観光協会): EBRI (see below), 3-3 Higashi-Nopporo-cho / 10am-10pm / www.ebetsu-kanko.jp
Bike Rentals i-Gate Ikeuchi Exit (www.igate-ikeuchi.com): Tsutaya Books (see below)
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.
Nopporo and Oasa
DURATION 3 HOURS | TIMING YEAR-ROUND
START: 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
FINISH: Oasa Station
Old and New Ebetsu
DURATION 3 HOURS | TIMING LATE APR – MID NOV
START: Ebetsu Station
↓ 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
FINISH: Ebetsu Station
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.