Hokkaido’s widest city (1427-sq-km) of Kitami (北見) makes a convenient stopover point for the beautiful lakes of Chimikeppu-ko, Saroma-ko and Akan-ko. The city has a few interesting sights and a large number of yakiniku restaurants.

Points of interests in Kitami

Getting There & Around

Buses depart from Kitami bus terminal (tickets 6.40am-6pm) beside JR Kitami Station. All local buses and some intercity buses are operated by Kitami Bus (www.h-kitamibus.co.jp).

Limited express trains make the trip to Kitami from Sapporo (2 daily; 4.5hrs), Asahikawa (4 daily; 3hrs) and Abashiri (4 daily; 50min).

If you save money or use the Seishun 18, there is a tokubetsu-kaisoku (特別快速: rapid train) from Asahikawa (3hrs 20min).

The city center is easily walkable in a matter of hours from JR Kitami Station. Otherwise, taxi tours around the city are also good.

Kitami Mint Memorial Museum

(北見ハッカ記念館) Kitami has been a peppermint producing area for centuries, which supplied 70 percent of the world in the 1930s. An old mint factory office now houses a collection of peppermint, processed goods, old machines and photos.

The Mint Distillery (薄荷蒸留館) demonstrates the distillation of peppermint. It is a 10-minute walk south of JR Kitami Station.

More info www.kitamihakka.jp

Pierson Memorial House

(ピアソン記念館) Designed by William Merrell Vories in 1914, American missioners Pierson and his wife lived in this Swiss-style lovely wooden house on a hill for 15 years. Their historic photos, letters and books are on display. It is about 1km northwest of JR Kitami Station.

More info www.npo-pierson.org

Nikoro Mint Park

(仁頃はっか公園) About 15km north of the city center, this park tells the heyday of peppermint producing with a relocated marchant mansion (built in 1937), and ezo-misohagi (lythraceae mint) garden that blooms from late July to late August. On-site information center sells local peppermint products.

To get there from Kitami, take the bus for Tokoro to Nikoro Hakka-koen (4 daily; 28min).