Hokkaido’s widest city (1427-sq-km) of Kitami (北見) makes a convenient stopover point for the beautiful lakes of Chimikeppu-ko, Saroma-ko and Akan-ko. 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.
Highlights Kitami Mint Memorial Museum
Tourist Information Kitami Tourist Association (北見市観光案内所): el 0157-32-9900 / 1st floor of Odori building, 2-2-1 Odori-nishi / 9am-5pm / Closed 30 Dec–3 Jan / kitamikanko.jp
01 LOCAL HISTORY
Kitami Mint Memorial Museum
北見ハッカ記念館 / 1-7-28 Minami-Nakamachi / 9am-5pm May-Oct, 9.30am-4.30pm Nov-Apr / Closed Mon / FREE / www.kitamihakka.jp
Kitami has been a peppermint producing area for centuries, which supplied 70 percent of the world in the 1930s. An old mint factory office now houses a collection of peppermint, processed goods, old machines and photos.
The Mint Distillery (薄荷蒸留館) demonstrates the distillation of peppermint. It is a 10-minute walk south of JR Kitami Station.
02 HISTORIC BUILDING
Pierson Memorial House
ピアソン記念館 / Pierson Kinenkan / 7-4-28 Saiwai-cho / 9.30am-4.30pm / Closed Mon & 30 Dec-6 Jan / FREE / www.npo-pierson.org
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. It is about 1km northwest of JR Kitami Station.
03 HERB GARDEN & HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Nikoro Mint Park
仁頃はっか公園 / Nikoro Hakka Koen / 301 Nikoro-cho / 10am-4pm May-Jun & Sep-Oct, 9.30am-4.30pm Jul & Aug / FREE
About 15km north of the city center, this park tells the heyday of peppermint producing with a relocated marchant mansion (built in 1937), and ezo-misohagi (lythraceae mint) garden that blooms from late July to late August. On-site information center sells local peppermint products.
To get there from Kitami, take the bus for Tokoro to Nikoro Hakka-koen (仁頃はっか公園: 4 daily / 28min).
CENTRAL KITAMI MAP
GETTING THERE & AROUND
TRAIN: Limited express trains make the trip to Kitami from Sapporo (2 daily / 4.5hrs), Asahikawa (4 daily / 3hrs) and Abashiri (4 daily / 50min) on the JR Sekihoku Line. If you save money or use the Seishun 18, there is a tokubetsu-kaisoku (特別快速: rapid train) from Asahikawa (3hrs 20min).
BUS: Buses depart from Kitami bus terminal (tickets 6.40am-6pm) beside JR Kitami Station. All local buses and some intercity buses are operated by Kitami Bus (www.h-kitamibus.co.jp).
Sapporo (10 daily incl a night bus / 4.5hrs)