Halfway between Sapporo and Hakodate, Oshamanbe (長万部) is a major rail junction on the JR Hakodate Line (Hakodate – Oshamanbe – Niseko – Otaru – Sapporo – Asahikawa) and JR Muroran Line (Oshamanbe – Noboribetsu – Iwamizawa).
For most travelers, Oshamanbe is a launch or arrive point for trains to or from Niseko direction. But the town is famous for both its kegani (crab) and kanimeshi (crab meat and rice). It also offers friendly shokudo and onsen to keep you amused between train connections.
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Sleeping in Oshamanbe
Oshamanbe Onsen has a cluster of ryokan. Note that some ryokan are irregularly closed or privately booked.
01 ONSEN EXPERIENCE
長万部温泉 / Onsen-cho
Oshamanbe’s small onsen town is behind the train station, walk north along the railway track and across the footbridge. It has a cluster of ryokan and open their baths for nonguests (around ¥500). Note that some ryokan are irregularly closed or privately booked. It is a good place to soak while waiting for a train.
Oshamanbe Onsen Hotel (長万部温泉ホテル: Tel 01377-2-2079 / Day bathing 6am-9pm / Closed 2nd & 4th Tue / ¥450 / onsenhotel.co.jp) is a typical ageing ryokan, but it has a traditional public bath open regularly. There is a coin laundry and rental towels.
02 LOCAL HISTORY
Oshamanbe Town Museum
長万部町民センター / Oshamanbe Chomin Center / 413-12 Oshamanbe / 10am-4pm / Closed Mon, day after the holiday, 30 Dec-5 Jan / FREE
The town’s free museum (chomin center) has exhibits on the railway signals, uniforms, station signboards, tickets and models. It also contains some old lifetools and Ainu artefacts.
The opposite side is the Peace Memorial Hall (平和祈念館: Heiwa Kinenkan) where displays the Hiroshima Panels and old buddha statues. There are a few sculptures carved by Hongo Shin on the front garden. It is a short walk from the onsen street.
All limited express trains from Sapporo (2hrs 20min) and Hakodate (1.5hrs) stop here. There are no regular limited express trains between Otaru and Oshamanbe on the JR Hakodate Line.
If you are traveling by local train on the JR Hakodate Line, require a change at Oshamanbe and you will spend at least some time.
For Oshamanbe, local trains run from Otaru (4 daily; 3.5hrs) via Kutchan (1.5hrs), Hakodate (5 daily; 3hrs), and Higashi-Muroran (5 daily; 1.5hrs) via Toya (45min).
JR Oshamanbe Station has a ticket window (7am-6.45pm) and coin lockers.