Halfway between Sapporo and Hakodate, Oshamanbe (長万部) is a major rail junction on the JR Hakodate Line (Hakodate – Oshamanbe – Niseko – Otaru – Sapporo – Asahikawa) and JR Muroran Line (Oshamanbe – Noboribetsu – Iwamizawa).
For most travelers, Oshamanbe is a launch or arrive point for trains to or from Niseko direction. But the town is famous for both its kegani (crab) and kanimeshi (crab meat and rice). It also offers friendly shokudo and onsen to keep you amused between train connections.
A popular hangout place is the sandy beach overlooking the Uchiura Bay (内浦湾), an easy 300m walk straight down from the train station. We recommend pick up an ekiben (駅弁: railway boxed meals) from a local bento shop.
(長万部温泉) Oshamanbe’s small onsen town is behind the train station, walk north along the railway track and across the footbridge. It has a cluster of ryokan and open their baths for nonguests (around ¥500). Note that some ryokan are irregularly closed or privately booked. It is a good place to soak while waiting for a train.
Oshamanbe Onsen Hotel
(長万部温泉ホテル) This ‘hotel’ is a typical ageing ryokan, but it has a traditional public bath open regularly. There is a coin laundry and rental towels. More info onsenhotel.co.jp
Oshamanbe Town Museum
(長万部町民センター ) The town’s free museum has exhibits on the railway signals, uniforms, station signboards, tickets and models. It also contains some old lifetools and Ainu artefacts.
The opposite side is the Peace Memorial Hall (平和祈念館: Heiwa Kinenkan) where displays the Hiroshima Panels and old buddha statues. There are a few sculptures carved by Hongo Shin on the front garden. It is a short walk from the onsen street.