Halfway between Kamikawa (north side of Daisetsuzan National Park) and Monbetsu along the clear stream of Shokotsu-gawa (渚滑川), the picturesque valley town of Takinoue (滝上町: meaning ‘above the waterfalls’ in Japanese) famed for its hillside shibazakura (芝桜: moss phlox) gardens. Early May to early June is the best time to visit the town.
Points of interests in Takinoue
Intercity and local buses depart from Takinoue (滝上) bus stop beside the old train station, with a stop at Asahi-machi (旭町) in the town center. There is no bus ticket office in town.
Intercity buses connects Takinoue with Sapporo Station (4 daily; 4hrs) and Asahikawa Station (4 daily; 2hrs 18min). Some buses stop at Kamikawa Station (70min) on the JR Sekihoku Line. Compulsory reservation.
From Monbetsu terminal, buses run to Takinoue (9 daily; 1hr 25min) via Asahi-machi. Don’t go to Takinoue Eigyosho terminus.
(フレグランスハウス) On the hilltop of Kaori-no-sato Herb Garden (香りの里ハーブガーデン), the lovely Fragrance House makes a good stop for lunch and tea, where dishes are seasoned with locally grown herbs. This house has a souvenir shop with a wide range of peppermint products.
(滝上公園) Dating back to 1957 as a single mandarin box filled with seedlings, this 10-hectare hillside park is covered in shibazakura (moss phlox) from early May to early June. Admission fee is ¥500 during the Moss Phlox Festival.
More info takinoue.net
(滝上渓谷) Also called Kinsenkyo (錦仙峡), a 2km-long hiking path winds through Takinoue Gorge following Shokotsu-gawa, a refreshingly clear stream with rugged rocks and waterfalls.
You can overlooking the gorge from the Niji-no-hashi (虹の橋: 2-storey ‘rainbow bridge’) where there was a railway bridge. In winter, the tourist association can arrange guides for snowshoe tours in the frozen gorge.
Takinoue Folk Museum
(滝上町郷土館) The town’s small museum displays donated items from the Meiji period, including stuffed local animals and an old steam locomotive.
Kitami-Takinoue Station Memorial Hall
(北見滝ノ上駅舎記念館) Housed in a wooden old train station on the JNR Shokotsu Line discontinued in 1985, this building features local railway history, tickets and station signboards. It is next to Takinoue bus stop.