Sorachi’s capital and transport hub founded in 1878, Iwamizawa is a good base of visit the old coal mine towns of the region. About 20km south of Iwamizawa, the lively agricultural town Kuriyama (meaning ‘chestnut mountain’) is famous for its sake brewing.
BOOK YOUR STAY ONLINE
Sleeping in Iwamizawa
You will find several hotels around JR Iwamizawa Station. About 45 minutes by Chuo Bus 13 via Iwamizawa Park from the bus terminal, the Canadian-style log hotel Maple Lodge has relaxed onsen.
PLAN YOUR OWN TOUR
Iwamizawa & Kuriyama at a Glance
LINK THIS TOUR: Train Trip Sapporo to Asahikawa
START: Iwamizawa Station (Around 10.30am)
FINISH: Kuriyama Station (Around 3pm)
DURATION: 4.5 hours
BEST TIME: June and July for the best chance of rose viewing / Year-round for see a greenhouse and a brewery
If you start a day trip from Sapporo, take the JR local train (9:37 / 42min / ¥970) or the limited express train (10:00 / 25min / ¥1600) to Iwamizawa. The modern red brick train terminal was completed in 2009 after burned down the old train station.
On the 1st floor, Iwamizawa Tourism Association (岩見沢市観光協会 / iwamizawa-kankou.jp) offers bike rentals (9am-5pm Apr-early Nov / from ¥500 per day) and free wi-fi.
NEXT ›› From Iwamizawa bus terminal next to the train station, take the Chuo Bus 13 (10:35) for Moyo Koryu Center (毛陽交流センター) and get off at Iwamizawa Koen (10:51 / ¥210). If you need more time to explore the park and climb up to Miharashidai viewpoint, catch bus 13 from Iwamizawa departing at 8:35.
いわみざわ公園 / 794 Shibun-cho, Iwamizawa-shi / 9am-5pm mid Apr-early Nov / FREE / Wi-Fi / www.iwamizawa-park.com
Rose fans should visit this park, with more than 8000 lovely blooms set in the 4-hectare bara-en (バラ園) from late June to mid October. There is also a greenhouse Shikisai-kan (四季彩館: 9am-5pm; ¥100) that is open throughout year.
From the rose garden, you can climb up to the hilltop Miharashidai (見晴台: 137m) observation deck overlooking the Ishikari Plain.
NEXT ›› Head back by bus from Iwamizawa Koen (11:57) to Iwamizawa terminal (12:13). From Iwamizawa Station, take a Tomakomai-bound local train (12:45) on the JR Muroran Line to Kuriyama (13:08). From where, across the footbridge and a 10-minute walk to Kobayashi Sake Brewery.
FINISH: SAKE BREWERY
Kobayashi Sake Brewery
小林酒造 / Kobayashi Shuzo / 3-109 Nishiki, Kuriyama-cho / 10am-5pm, to 4pm Nov-Mar / Closed 31 Dec-3 Jan / FREE / www.kitanonishiki.com
Hokkaido’s oldest sake brewery established in 1878, this cultural place has 18 stone and red brick kura (蔵: warehouses).
The Kita-no-nishiki Memorial Museum (北の錦記念館) exhibits items of artistic drinking vessel in the 1944 old office building. All sake brands are using Hokkaido rice.
The 1897 Kobayashi-ke Residence (小林家: 10am-5pm, to 4pm Nov-Mar / Closed Wed) is now a pleasant cafe. Guided tours (¥1000 incl tea and sweets / Call ahead Tel 0123-76-7228) show you inside the old living rooms.
This brewery has a high-quality soba restaurant of Kinsui-an (錦水庵: 11am-3pm / Closed Tue) opposite the museum.
CONTINUE ›› If you go back to Sapporo, catch the highway bus (15:00 or 16:20 / 75min / ¥1150) from Kuriyama Station. From the Honmon-ji-mae (本門寺前) bus stop in front of the brewery, there are two local buses (15:07 and 15:52) for Shin-Sapporo Station via Ebetsu and Nopporo stations (Oasa Station as well). If you have a JR pass, there is a local train (15:29) for Tomakomai.