Founded as Hokkaido’s first prison Kabato Shujikan (樺戸集治監) in 1881, this town was named after the first warden Tsukigata Kiyoshi (月形潔). Prisoners carved out the forest and roads of the region. The town is now offers melon and cut flowers. After a picnic, take a moment to relax at the cozy onsen
Tsukigata | 月形
01 LOCAL HISTORY
Tsukigata Kabato Museum
月形樺戸博物館 ● 1219 Tsukigata-cho ● 9.30am–5pm Apr-Nov ● Closed Dec–Mar ● ¥300
The old Kabato shujikan prison office near Tsukigata Station has been converted into a museum. It showcases with dioramas, photos, items for jailer and prisoner. It is closed from December to March. It is a just short walk from Tsukigata Yakuba (月形役場) bus stop.
02 PARK & CAMPING
皆楽公園 ● Tsukigata 81-10 ● Tel 0126-53-2577 ● Campsite May–Oct ● kairakukoen.com
An old oxbow lake of Ishikari-gawa is now a cheerful playground for locals. You can enjoy boating, park golf, camping (¥200 per person) and cycling (¥100 per 30min). On a clear day, pick up a take-away food from a convenience store (FamilyMart or Lawson) on the way for a picnic. There is also a simple restaurant and a take-away yakitori shop on the shore. Local shima-fukuro (Blakiston’s fish owls) may be seen in the park.
Tsukigata Onsen Yurikago
月形温泉ゆりかご ● 10am–9pm ● Closed 3rd Tue ● Day bathing ¥550 ● tsukigataonsen-hotel.com
Located on the north side of Kairaku Park, the public onsen Yurikago has basic indoor and open-air baths. It is a great for soaking in the camp. Most Tsukigata–Urausu municipal buses stop here.
04 MARSH & BIRDWATCHING
宮島沼 ● Omagari, Nishi-Bibai-cho, Bibai-shi ● 24hrs (Birdwatching timing: mid Apr– late Apr & late Sep–mid Oct) ● www.city.bibai.hokkaido.jp/miyajimanuma
About 3.5km east of Tsukigata across Ishikari-gawa, the 30-hectare circular marsh of Miyajima-numa (in Bibai) is Japan’s northernmost and largest nesting site for white-fronted geese. Approximately 50 thousand birds come here in mid to late April and late September to mid October, optimal birdwatching timing is dawn or dusk. The Waterbird and Wetland Center (9am–5pm ● Closed Mon ● Free) with displays and maps. From Tsukigata Station, take a Iwamizawa-bound Chuo Bus to Otomi (大富), and then a 15-minute walk to the marsh.
北村温泉 ● Kitamura-Akagawa, Iwamizawa-shi ● Day bathing 6am–11.30pm ● ¥600 ● www.kitamuraonsen.com
One of Sorachi’s best onsen about 9km north of Iwamizawa, this place boasts pleasant open-air and indoor baths with 100% fresh hot water. It has a restaurant (11am–9pm). Behind the onsen is a grassy plots for tents (free) facing a marsh.
TIME TO EXPLORE One-day
BEST TIME April to November.
11:00 Sapporo Station
▽ Local train for Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku ● ¥750
11:42 | 11:49 Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku Station
▽ Municipal bus Tobe-ru-go (とべーる号) for Tsukigata Station ● ¥400
12:14 Tsukigata Yakuba (月形役場)
▽ 1min walk
12:15 ☆ Tsukigata Kabato Museum
☞ Tsukigata Yakuba 13:05 ··· Municipal bus Kabato-ru-go (かばとーる号) ··· Urausu Station 13:34
▽ 15min walk
13:30 ☆ Kairaku Park
☞ Tsukigata Onsen Yrukago is located at the north side of the park.
▽ 12min walk
15:00 Tsukigata Station
▽ Chuo Bus for Iwamizawa Terminal (岩見沢) via Otomi ● ¥550
15:20 | 16:50 ♨︎ Kitamura Onsen
▽ Chuo Bus for Iwamizawa Terminal ● ¥440
17:11 Iwamizawa Terminal
▶︎ Iwamizawa Station 17:36 ··· Local train ··· Sapporo Station 18:20
▶︎ Iwamizawa Station 17:25 ··· Limited express train Kamui 31 ··· Asahikawa Station 18:25
Tobe-ru-go (とベーる号): The municipal bus runs on Route 275 between JR Ishikari-Tobetsu Station and Tsukigata Station via Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku Station. ● 9 daily ● 50min ● ¥400 ● www.town.tsukigata.hokkaido.jp/7002.htm
Chuo Bus 21: Eight buses run between Iwamizawa Terminal and Tsukigata Station (45min ● ¥780) via Kitamura Onsen and Otomi.
LINK THIS TRAVEL
Tobetsu & Northern Sapporo It is easy to combine this trip. You can stopover at Yurigahara Park or the Sweden Hills if you leave Sapporo early in the morning.
Urausu Head northeast on Route 275 from Tsukigata to stopover this agricultural town. Some seasonal picnic spots dotted around Tsurunuma Park.