The former one of Japan’s most dynamic coal mining cities of Yubari was once 117,000-strong, it is known as the ‘capital of coal’. But the city has lost 90% of its population in 50 years, you will find the mining remnants and declining towns along the valley. Today Yubari is nationally famous for its tasty melon.
Location 60km east of Sapporo
Highlights Yubari Coal Mine Museum
01 LOCAL HISTORY
Yubari Coal Mine Museum
夕張市石炭博物館 / Sekitan Hakubutsukan / 7 Takamatsu / 10am-5pm, to 4pm Oct & Nov / Closed Tue & early Nov-late Apr / ¥1080 (currently ¥700) / coal-yubari.jp
The Sekitan Hakubutsukan (coal mine museum) has not only exhibits on the history of the mines but also you can walk through the old mine tunnel (mogi kodo: currently closed) drilled in 1900. Don’t miss the outcrop coal discovered in 1888.
02 SCENIC GORGE
滝の上公園 / Takinoue
At the southwestern of the city on Route 274, this scenic gorge along the Yubari-gawa is called Ponsou Kamui Kotan (the place where Northern God lives) in Ainu. It is particularly beautiful in the seasons of cherry-blossoms (mid May) and leaves change color (October). There is a 1925 red brick hydroelectric power plant and a short circuit footpath across the river.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
BUS: Chuo Bus Kosoku Yubari-go (高速ゆうばり号) runs between Sapporo Station and the Racey Resort (3 daily /1hr 40min) via JR Kuriyama Station (35min).
Yutetsu Bus (www.yutetsu.co.jp) makes four kyuko (急行: express) runs from Shin-Sapporo Station stop 12 to the community center Resta (りすた: 100min) in Yubari via JR Yuni Station (由仁駅前) and Yutetsu Honsha Terminal (夕鉄本社ターミナル: 83min). There are also three local buses between Shin-Sapporo Station stop 12 and Shin-Yubari Station (2hrs 43min), via JR Kuriyama Station and Yutetsu Honsha Terminal.
TRAIN: From Sapporo, JR Pass holders can get on the limited express train to Shin-Yubari (新夕張: 1hr) on the JR Sekisho Line and transfer to the local bus to Yubari Coal Mine Museum (夕張市石炭博物館: 47min).