The windy town of Tomamae (苫前町) is known for the worst bear attack in Japanese history. In 1915, seven setters were eaten by brown bear at the deep forest of Sankebetsu (三毛別). But today higuma (brown bear) is a symbol of the town, bear enthusiasts come here and taking pictures of the unique bear statues.
Points of interests in Tomamae
Local buses run almost hourly between Rumoi-ekimae and Haboro or Toyotomi, stopping at the main attractions on Route 232. There are also intercity buses from Sapporo for Tomamae-Uemachi (苫前上町) via Uehira (上平).
From Uehira, local bus runs to Kotanbetsu (古丹別).
(とままえだベアー) Located in front of the town hall along Route 232 near the Tomamae Yakuba (苫前役場) bus stop, this standing statue of higuma (brown bear) is the town’s iconic landmark.
Tomamae Town Museum
(苫前町郷土資料館) Worth a look is the little town museum in an old town hall. It has a presented the local history, with a full-size model of the bear attack scene (wow!), stuffed higuma (brown bears) and old household implements collected from the area.
You can watch the 50-minute video Kuma-arashi (羆嵐: bear storm) in the old mayor’s office (ask for staff).
It is about 400m east of the Tomamae Yakuba bus stop.
Michi-no-eki Fuwatto Tomamae
(道の駅風Wとままえ) This attractive roadside station, overlooking the ocean and two islands, has an onsen (10.30am-10pm, from 11pm in winter; ¥500) and a free ashi-yu (foot bath: open in summer).
The restaurant Fu-mu (風夢: 11.30am-3pm & 5-9pm) serves tasty kaisen-don (seafood bowls) and ama-ebi-don (甘えび丼: raw shrimps on rice bowl).
It is a 4-minute walk from Tomamae-Uemachi (苫前上町) bus stop (intercity buses also stop here).
Yuhigaoka White Beach
(夕陽ヶ丘ホワイトビーチ) About 700m north from the michi-no-eki, Yuhigaoka’s ocean beach contains white sand obtained from China. There are two shokudo and paid showers. It is walkable from the campsites. The closest bus stop is Sakaehama (栄浜), local buses stop here.