At the heart of the Nayoro Basin (名寄盆地), this agricultural city makes a good base for several excursions in the surrounding rural and mountains. In summer lovely sunflowers blooming in the serene fields. On the other hand, ice-bound winter brings powder snow and mysterious sun pillars. Nayoro is also a jumping-off point for Shumarinai-ko and Okoppe.
Nayoro Sunflower Fields
(なよろひまわり畑) From late July to mid August in summer, fields of himawari (sunflowers) bloom around the city. Chiebun’s MOA Nayoro Farm (free) is the prettiest of the city’s sunflower fields. Nayoro Sunpillar Park also has small fields.
Points of interests in Nayoro
Getting There & Around
JR Soya Line local and rapid trains run roughly hourly to Nayoro (tickets 7.40am-5.05pm) from Asahikawa (1.5hrs). There are a few local trains between Nayoro and Wakkanai (2-3 daily; 3.5-4hrs).
Four to five highway buses Kosoku Nayoro-go (高速なよろ号) daily run between Sapporo Station and Nayoro Station (3.5hrs).
Bicycle rentals are available (from ¥200 per day), at the Nayoro Tourist Information Center, in front of JR Nayoro Station from 9am to 5.30pm (May-Oct). Bring your ID.
Hokkaido Sunpillar Park
(北海道立サンピラーパーク) This well-equipped 67-hectare hillside park offers plenty of opportunities for curling (10am-10pm Nov-Mar), playing and camping, as well as being the location of the Nayoro City Astronomical Observatory Kita Subaru (名寄市立天文台北すばる: 1pm-9.30pm, to 8pm Nov-Mar; Closed Mon; Adult ¥410, child free) and sunflower fields.
The entrance gate is about 1km southeast of JR Nisshin Station. Buses to Piyashiri Ski Area from JR Nayoro Station stopping at the Sunpillar Koryukan-mae (サンピラー交流館前).
More info www.nayoro.co.jp/sunpillarpark
(名寄公園) If you just have a few hours, makes a beeline for this leafy park about a 10-minute walk south of JR Nayoro Station. It contains Nayoro Kitaguni Museum (名寄市北国博物館) and the Kimaroki (キマロキ) steam locomotive snow plow train (closed in winter).
More info www.city.nayoro.lg.jp/section/museum
Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Area
(なよろピヤシリスキー場) About 9km north of the city center, Piyashiri calls itself ‘Japan’s most light and dry snow ski area’. There are beginner and advanced runs. After a day of skiing, the Nayoro Onsen Sun Pillar (10am-10pm, from 5pm 3rd Mon) offers standard indoor baths.
There are five bus daily from JR Nayoro Station (30min). If you get on or off the local bus at the ski area, local bus fare is free.
More info www.nayoro.co.jp/piyashiri