Beyond the mountains from Utashinai or runs along the Sorachi-gawa from Takikawa, Akabira (赤平市) holds the original forms of old mining remnants behind the train station.
Points of interests in Akabira
Akabira is about 15 minutes by train from Takikawa, on the rail route for Furano. The 6-storey JR Akabira Station (赤平駅) has a rooftop observation deck (May-Oct).
Old Sumitomo Akabira Coal Mine
(旧住友赤平炭鉱) The historic symbol of Akabira, this coal mine facility was constructed in 1968 and has a 43.8m-high pithead (tateko-yagura), bathhouse, office, cutting machines and elevators to the underground (depth 650m) used until its demise in 1995.
Today Akabira Coal Mine Guidance Facility (10am & 1.30pm Wed-Sun: Free) does guided tours (¥800) with a former miner. It is about 800m southeast of JR Akabira Station.
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(ズリ山階段) Just behind Akabira Station, the old Akama coal mine (closed in 1973) formed the 130m-high big artificial mountain Zuri-yama. From the old storage house, you can climb up the 777 stairs to the summit viewpoint look down upon the whole city.