About 25km east of Obihiro, Ikeda is best known for its winemaking and a handy stopping-off point between Tokachi and Okhotsk regions. All trains on the JR Nemuro Line stop here.
Ikeda Wine Castle
ワイン城 / 83 Kiyomi / 9am-5pm / FREE / www.tokachi-wine.com
Dating back to 1974 as Japan’s first winery, the town-managed Wine Castle (Wain-jo) is located diagonally behind JR Ikeda Station, on the pleasant hilltop overlooking the town. It has a wine cellar, maturing room, restaurant, shop and looftop observatory. Of course you can taste wine of the day. Plum brandy (梅酒: ume-shu) is also popular souvenir with foreigners. Free guided tours start at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm.
Getting There & Around
The limited express trains Ozora run to Ikeda (池田) on the JR Nemuro Line from Sapporo (2hrs 45min), Obihiro (17min) and Kushiro (1hr 15min). There are local trains to Obihiro (30min) and Kushiro (1.5hrs) from Ikeda. The Wine Castle is about a 10-minute walk east of JR Ikeda Station.