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.


Points of interests in Tobetsu


Sweden Hills

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).


Domin-no-mori 

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.

  • FOREST & CAMPSITE (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

Kaitaku Fukuro-no-yu

Just a short walk from Kanazawa Kaikan (金沢会館) bus stop, the hidden onsen Fukuro-no-yu boasts black water and tastefully open-air baths with a waterfall garden. It is closed in winter.

  • ONSEN (開拓ふくろふ乃湯): 157-7 Kanazawa; Noon-9pm (from 11am Sat & Sun) late Apr-Nov; Closed Mon & 4th Tue; ¥600
  • fukurouonsen.iiyudana.net

Getting There & Away

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 and Kanazawa Kaikan.