Japan’s second smallest city by population (8000), however Mikasa holds some of the first-in-Hokkaido: a fledged underground coal mine (1879), railway line (1882), telephone service (1883), water supplies (1888) and a roadside station (1993). The area is known for both its fossil-rich mountains and the birth place of Hokkai Bon-uta (folk song for coal miners).
Mikasa | 三笠
- Mikasa Shimin Kaikan Bus Stop
- 03 Crawford Park (Old Mikasa Station)
- 02 Mikasa City Museum
- Ikushunbetsu-cho Bus Stop
- 04 Mikasa Modern Art Museum
- 05 Mikasa Railway Museum
- 06 Old Horonai Coal Mine Natural Park
- 01 Old Monbetsu Coal Mine
- 08 Michi-no-eki Mikasa
- 07 Sennin-zuka Historical Park
- 07 Yamasaki Winery
- 08 Taiko-no-yu
01 COAL MINE HERITAGE
Old Ponbetsu Coal Mine
旧奔別炭鉱 ● 260 Ponbetsu-cho ● Not open to the public
Old Ponbetsu Coal Mine sits 51m-tall and 735m-depth mining pithead (built in 1960) with a 100m-long coal hopper. This coal mine was closed in 1971 and not open to the public today. You can see it from outside the premises.
02 LOCAL HISTORY
Mikasa City Museum
三笠市立博物館 ● 1-212-1 Ikushunbetsu-cho ● 9am-5pm ● Closed Mon, holiday Dec–Mar ● ¥450 ● www.city.mikasa.hokkaido.jp/museum/
This museum has a wide range of ammonite collection, history of coal mines and Sorachi shujikan (prison). From the museum, a 40-minute return footpath (Closed in winter) runs on the former forest railway track, with old coal mines and geological sites.
03 OLD TRAIN STATION
クロフォード公園 ● 971-1 Hon-cho ● 24hrs
This park is the site of old Mikasa railway station (旧三笠駅) scrapped in 1987, with several vintage trains. In old days, the rail tracks head east to Ikushunbetsu and head south to Horonai. You have about a 15-minute to explore in the park.
04 LOCAL ART
Mikasa Modern Art Museum
ミカサ · モダンアートミュージアム ● 3-3-58 Horonai-cho ● 1–5pm weekday, from 9am Sat & Sun 16 Apr–15 Oct ● Closed Mon ● Free
In an old Horonai junior high school (旧幌内中学校 ● built in 1983), former classrooms and a gymnasium are now houses works by local artists. It is about 800m west of Mikasa Railway Museum on a hill overlooking the old mining town. It is a short walk from Horonai 3 (幌内3丁目) bus stop.
05 RAILWAY HISTORY
Mikasa Railway Museum
三笠鉄道村 ● Mikasa Tetsudo-mura ● 2-287 Horonai-cho ● 9am–5pm 16 Apr–15 Oct ● Closed Mon ● Free (Memorial Museum ¥530) ● www.s-304.com
Located in old Horonai Station (幌内駅 ● 1882–1987), this open-air railway museum has about 30 historic carriages including coaches, diesel cars and freight trains. In addition to a 600m-return steam locomotive train runs every 30 minutes on weekend.
The little red brick memorial museum (¥530) exhibits on Hokkaido’s railway history, geolamas and model trains. It is about 3km southeast of the city center.
On weekend (Sat, Sun, holiday and event day), this museum operates a shokudo in an old dining car that serves ramen.
06 COAL MINE HERITAGE
Old Horonai Coal Mine Natural Park
幌内炭鉱景観自然公園 ● Horonai-Honsawa-cho ● 24hrs
This isolated natural park is the historic heritage site of Horonai Coal Mine (幌内炭鉱), Hokkaido’s first fledged coal mine (1879–1988). You will find 20 remnants such as a preparation plant, thickener, transformer substation and tunnels, deep in the valley. Watch out for brown bears.
三笠フットパス ● 9.4km ● 2.5 hours ● www.sorachi.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/ts/tss/soracchi/file/mikasa_foot.pdf
From the Mikasa Shimin Kaikan bus stop, a 9.4km-long hillside footpath follows the prisoner’s cemetery of Sennin-zuka Historical Park (千人塚史跡公園), lovely vineyards and farms. Tappu-yama (達布山 ● 144m) is the highest point on this route overlooking the Ishikari Plain.
08 ROADSIDE STATION & ONSEN
道の駅三笠 ● 1056-1 Okayama ● 8.30am–6pm, to 5pm Oct–Mar ● Closed Mon ● Wi-Fi
Finally you will reach Hokkaido’s first michi-no-eki (roadside station) on Route 12 around 5pm or late. This place has a tourist information office, farmer’s market and ramen shop (11am–11pm).
Behind the michi-no-eki, the modern onsen complex Taiko-no-yu (太古の湯 ● 10am–11pm ● ¥780) is an ideal place to go to recover.
TIME TO EXPLORE One-day
BEST TIME May to October. ● The following schedule is available on Saturday, Sunday and Holiday throughout the year. Mikasa Municipal Bus schedule is different on weekdays.
9:10 Sapporo Station
⬇︎ Local train for Iwamizawa ● ¥970
9:51 Iwamizawa Station
⬇︎ 2 min walk
10:00 Iwamizawa Terminal
⬇︎ Chuo Bus 22 for Ikushunbetsu-cho (幾春別町) ● 58min ● ¥570
⬇︎ 5 min walk
11:05 ★ Old Ponbetsu Coal Mine
⬇︎ 10 min walk
11:20 ★ Mikasa City Museum
⬇︎ 5 min walk
Ikushunbetsu bus station has a take-away ice cream shop. There is also a convenience store (Sellers) opposite the bus station.
⬇︎ Chuo Bus 22 for Iwamizawa Terminal (岩見沢ターミナル) ● ¥360
13:29 Mikasa Shimin Kaikan (三笠市民会館)
⬇︎ 10 min walk
13:40 ★ Crawford Park (Old Mikasa Station)
⬇︎ 1 min walk
13:53 Crawford Koen (クロフォード公園)
⬇︎ Mikasa Municipal Bus (三笠市営バス) for Horonai 1 (幌内1丁目) ● 8min ● ¥200
14:01 Tetsudo Kinenkan (鉄道記念館)
⬇︎ 1 min walk
14:02 ★ Mikasa Railway Museum
On-site shokudo is open on weekend.
➡︎ Mikasa Modern Art Museum is about 700m west of the Railway Museum. The nearest bus stop is Horonai 3 (幌内3丁目).
⬇︎ 7min walk
15:10 ★ Old Horonai Coal Mine Natural Park
⬇︎ 7min walk
16:06 Tetsudo Kinenkan
⬇︎ Mikasa Municipal Bus for Mikasa Shogakko (三笠小学校) ● 8min ● ¥200
16:16 | 16:29 Mikasa Shimin Kaikan
⬇︎ Chuo Bus 22 for Iwamizawa Terminal (岩見沢ターミナル) ● 12min
16:41 Aeon Mikasa-ten Minami-guchi (イオン三笠店南口)
⬇︎ 7min walk
16:50 ★ Michi-no-eki Mikasa
⬇︎ 1min walk
17:10 ♨︎ Taiko-no-yu
⬇︎ 2min walk to Route 12 (in front of the michi-no-eki car park)
18:21 Mineoka (峰岡)
⬇︎ Chuo Bus 22 for Iwamizawa Terminal (岩見沢ターミナル) ● 22min ● ¥310
18:45 Iwamizawa Terminal
➡︎ Iwamizawa Station 19:00 ··· Limited express train Lilac 40 ··· Sapporo Station 19:25
➡︎ Iwamizawa Station 18:55 ··· Limited express train Lilac 35 ··· Asahikawa Station 19:55
GETTING THERE & AROUND
From Iwamizawa bus terminal next to the train station, Chuo Bus 22 (hourly) runs to Ikushunbetsu-cho (幾春別町 ● 58min) via the Aeon Mikasa shopping mall south gate (イオン三笠店南口 ● 22min) and the Mikasa Shimin Kaikan (三笠市民会館 ● 36min).
Mikasa Municipal Bus (三笠市営バス): Connect the Mikasa Shimin Kaikan (三笠市民会館) and Horonai 1 (幌内1丁目) ● 10 daily ● 10min ● flat ¥200 ● www.city.mikasa.hokkaido.jp/hotnews/detail/00001690.html
Mikasa Tourism Association (三笠市観光協会): Inside the Michi-no-eki Mikasa on Route 12 ● 1056-1 Okayama ● 9am–5pm ● Closed Mon ● Wi-Fi ● www.city.mikasa.hokkaido.jp/sightseeing
LINK THIS TRAVEL
Iwamizawa Just 10km southwest of Mikasa. Sorachi region’s transport hub and all local buses for Mikasa leave from here.