Hokkaido’s widest city of Kitami (北見) makes a convenient stopover point between Tokachi and Abashiri, and is also jumping off point to the beautiful lakes of Chimikeppu, Saroma and Akan. The city has a few interesting sights and a large number of yakiniku restaurants.
The city center is easily walkable in a matter of hours from JR Kitami Station. Otherwise, taxi tours around the city are also good.
Kitami Mint Memorial Museum
10min walk from Kitami Station
Kitami has been a peppermint producing area for centuries, which supplied 70 percent of the world in the 1930s. An old mint factory office building, built in 1934, now houses a collection of peppermint, processed goods, old machines and photos. Adjoining the museum, the Mint Distillery (Hakka Joryu-kan) demonstrates the distillation of peppermint.
Pierson Memorial House
15min walk from Kitami Station
Designed by William Merrell Vories in 1914, American missioners Pierson and his wife lived in this Swiss-style lovely wooden house on a hill for 15 years. Their historic photos, letters and books are on display.
Okhotsk Beer Factory
14min by sightseeing bus from Abashiri Station
Run by Japan’s first licensed craft brewery, this restaurant offers five beers (using local barely) on tap, ranging from pilsner to stout. A 90-minute nomi-hodai (all-you-can-drink) plan is available. There are lots of food and snacks, using local meats, fishes and vegetables. Shio-yakisoba (salt-fried noodles with local onions and scallops) is naturally popular.
Kitami has a number of business hotel near the train station. The reason to stay in the city itself is if you are going to yakiniku restaurants or izakaya at night. Most hotels are less crowded than Abashiri throughout the year.
Dormy Inn Kitami ♨︎
5min walk from Kitami Station
The Dormy Inn offers businesslike modern rooms and an onsen. Rate includes free dinner on weekday. Breakfast is extra ¥1500.
Comfort Hotel Kitami
7min walk from Kitami Station
This chain business hotel has simple rooms, an easy walk southwest of JR Kitami Station on Route 39. Rate includes free breakfast.
Limited express trains make the trip to Kitami from Sapporo (4.5hr), Asahikawa (3hr) and Abashiri (50min).
If you save money or use the Seishun 18 or the ordinary ticket, there is a tokubetsu-kaisoku (特別快速きたみ: rapid train) from Asahikawa (3hr 20min).
Buses depart from Kitami bus terminal (北見バスターミナル) beside JR Kitami Station.
Many intercity buses are operated by Kitami Bus (北見バス).
Hokkaido Bus also operates several intercity buses (including night services) to/from Sapporo.
Abashiri Bus operates Chitose Okhotsk Express (千歳オホーツクエクスプレス) between New Chitose Airport and Kitami (5-6hr).
● From Asahikawa: 3.5hr; via Sounkyo.
● From Sapporo: 4.5hr.
● From Kushiro: 3hr; via Akan-ko.
Memanbetsu Airport (女満別空港) is located in Ozora Town, about 30km northeast of Kitami. Airport shuttle buses, timed to meet all flights, run to Kitami (42min).
All local buses are operated by Kitami Bus (北見バス). From Kitami bus terminal, buses run to the following destinations:
● Onneyu Onsen: 1hr 20min; via Rubeshibe.
● Rikubetsu: 1hr 33min; via Oketo.
● Tokoro: 70min; via Nikoro-cho.
● Tsubetsu: 3hr; via Bihoro (美幌) or Kaisei (開成).
Rental bicycles are available from the Kitami Cycle Station (北見サイクルステーション) on the ground floor of the shopping complex Parabo in front of JR Kitami Station.
Kitami Tourist Association
Across from Kitami bus terminal beside the Toyoko Inn, this tourist information center has English brochures, maps, accommodation and yakiniku restaurants information.
北見 | 기타미
Address：1 Odori-nishi, Kitami-shi, Hokkaido
Distance：184km from Asahikawa