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

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.

Sweden Hills

(スウェーデンヒルズ) 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).

More info swedishcenter.or.jp


(道民の森) 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.

More info www.dominno-mori.org

Kaitaku Fukuro-no-yu

(開拓ふくろふ乃湯) 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.

More info fukurouonsen.iiyudana.net