About 20km northeast of Sapporo cross the Ishikari-gawa, the rural town Tobetsu (当別町) is a good place to cycling, camping and relax in the rustic onsen. Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden visited this town in 1990.
01 RESIDENTIAL AREA
スウェーデンヒルズ / swedishcenter.or.jp
Developed from 1979, this beautiful Swedish-style villa on the hills is one of Hokkaido’s most orderly settlements and there are about 350 wine-red houses.
The Swedish Center Foundation (スウェーデン交流センター: 10am-4.30pm, to 4pm Dec-Mar; Closed Tue) has handmade glasses and crafts.
Leksand Memorial Park (レクサンド記念公園: Closed in winter) in the west offering views over Sapporo and the Ishikari Bay.
To reach the village center from JR Ishikari-Futomi Station, take bus to the Hills Kanri Center (8min; ¥200).
02 FOREST & CAMPING
道民の森 / Domin-no-mori / Tel 0133-22-3911 / 9.30am-4.30pm May-Oct, to Sep Ichiban-gawa area / www.dominno-mori.org
Driving north from the town center along Tobetsu-gawa and the artificial lake Tobetsu-Fukuro-ko (当別ふくろう湖), there is a good network of Domin-no-mori (prefectural forest with campsites) in the mountains. All are pretty similar and tend to be crowded in summer.
The main site is Kamuishiri (神居尻地区) with a lot of space to set up camp and modern cottages. There is a hiking trail to the same name mountain (947m).
Ichiban-gawa (一番川地区) and Tsukigata (月形地区) areas offer quiet campsites in the trees, you can rent sleeping items.
At the west side of Kamuishiri, the water-based Aoyama Dam (青山ダム地区) has a scenic landscape.
Once a town-managed farm, the quiet Bokujo-minami (牧場南地区) has herb gardens in the trees.
This area is not easy to reach without your own wheels.
Getting There & Around
From Sapporo, take the train for Ishikari-Tobetsu or Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku on the JR Gakuen-toshi Line, stopping at Ishikari-Futomi.
Fureai Bus (ふれあいバス: one ride ¥200; 1-day pass ¥500) runs between JR Ishikari-Futomi Station and JR Ishikari-Tobetsu Station via Sweden Hills Kanri Center (ヒルズ管理センター).
Tobe-ru-go (とベーる号) bus runs between JR Ishikari-Tobetsu Station and Tsukigata Station via Hokkaido-iryo-daigaku Station.