Located in the northeast of Tokachi Region, the tranquil forested town Rikubetsu (陸別町) is a hub for buses between Obihiro and Kitami. Thanks to its good place to sleep and eat. Rikubetsu is also known as Eastern Hokkaido’s coldest town.
Points of interests in Rikubetsu
Tokachi Bus 17 runs to Rikubetsu from Obihiro Station bus terminal stop 7 (7-9 daily; 2hrs 50min) via JR Ikeda Station (1hr 50min). Kitami Bus connects Rikubetsu with Kitami Station (6-7 daily; 1.5hrs).
Michi-no-eki Aurora Town 93 Rikubetsu
(道の駅オーロラタウン93りくべつ) This tourist complex at the michi-no-eki (roadside station) has a bus terminal, hotel, souvenir shop and the setter Seki Kansai’s small memorial museum (関寛斎資料館: 9.30am-4.30pm; Closed Tue; ¥200).
On the 2nd floor of the Michi-no-eki Aurora Town 93 Rikubetsu, the cozy hotel Aurora House (オーロラハウス) is a good resting point if you are traveling by bus between Tokachi and Okhotsk regions. Heating fee is extra ¥500 from November to April.
(ふるさと銀河線りくべつ鉄道) The Aurora Town 93 was also used as a train station until 2006. Today the Rikubetsu Railway maintained several diesel cars on the station premises today. You can enjoy the 500m return ride on the train (¥300) on 2nd and 4th Saturday (10am-4pm late Apr-Oct).
More info rikubetsu-railway.jimdofree.com
(秦食堂) Right opposite the post office near Rikubetsu bus terminal, this friendly shokudo serves up handmade soba noodles made from 100% Hokkaido buckwheat flour.
The speciality here is kashiwa soba (かしわそば) topped with chicken, as well as charcoal-grilled buta-don (pork bowl). There is no English menu.
(しばれフェスティバル) Rikubetsu is one of Hokkaido’s coldest towns in winter (lowest averages -20C), Shibare (‘it is cold!’ in Hokkaido dialect) Festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday in February.
If you want to challenge the Ningen Taikan Test (人間耐寒テスト: outdoor cold-resistant experience for one night: ¥6000 per person), check out the website (in Japanese).
There are live shows and fireworks. Frequent free shuttle buses run from Rikubetsu bus terminal.
More info shibare.com