From the 1870s to the 1980s, Sorachi Region was one of Japan’s major coalfields with more than a hundred mining sites along the Yubari Mountains and supported Hokkaido’s rapid economic growth after the 1950s. Today several mining heritages are open to the public. Flower lovers should head to the high altitude wetland of Uryu-numa Shitsugen or the sunflower fields of Hokuryu in summer.
TO DO 01
Exploring the Mining History in Yubari
Once one of Japan’s most dynamic coal mining cities, Yubari holds the underground Coal Mine Museum and several historical remnants. Don’t miss the tasty melon.
TO DO 02
Visiting Kobayashi Sake Brewery in Kuriyama
Hokkaido’s oldest sake brewery established in 1878, this cultural place has 18 stone and red brick kura (warehouses). All sake brands are using local rice.
TO DO 03
Exploring the Historic Heart of Sorachi in Mikasa
Mikasa holds some of the first-in-Hokkaido and colliery-era heritages. Sorachi’s capital and transport hub en route to Mikasa, Iwamizawa is a good base of visit the old coal mine towns of the region.
TO DO 04
Admiring the Sculptures, Bird Migration & Yakitori in Bibai
Bibai was once Hokkaido’s second largest coal mining city sits halfway between Sapporo and Asahikawa. It is putting effort into the art, birdwatching on Miyajima-numa and tasty yakitori.
TO DO 05
Visiting the Colliery-era Heritages in Utashinai & Akabira
Japan’s smallest city by population, Utashinai grew into a 46,000-person with nine coal mines in the 1950s. Beyond the mountains, Akabira holds the original forms of old mining remnants.
TO DO 06
Seeing the Sunflower Fields in Hokuryu
Known as Japan’s largest sunflower fields (himawari-batake), this agricultural town on Route 275 is one of Sorachi’s most popular summer destinations.
TO DO 07
Striking a Wetland Trail Through Uryu-numa Shitsugen
Uryu-numa Shitsugen is referred to as the ‘heavenly paradise’ that makes up Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi-National Park. About 700 marshes are scattered with 200 kinds of wildflowers.
TO DO 08
Cycling Through the Rice Land Fukagawa
The northernmost city of the Ishikari Plain that has a nickname Rice Land, Fukagawa is a jumping-off point for Rumoi, Horokanai and Hokuryu. The city has a variety of orchards, cycle paths, trails and soba restaurants.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
TRAIN: The limited express trains Kamui and Lilac run between Sapporo and Asahikawa, stopping at Iwamizawa, Bibai, Sunagawa, Takikawa and Fukagawa.
There are also local trains between Sapporo and Asahikawa, and between Iwamizawa and Tomakomai via Kuriyama.
BUS: Chuo Bus operates many non-reserved highway buses (IC card is available) from Sapporo to the following destinations:
Hokuryu (for Rumoi via Takikawa and Uryu): 4 daily / 2hrs / ¥1880
Iwamizawa: Frequent / 1hr / ¥800
Kuriyama: 9 daily / 1hr / ¥1150
Takikawa: Frequent / 1.5hrs / ¥1360