Ebetsu (江別) is the largest satellite city of Sapporo and a little-known to tourists, however here is Japan’s top red brick producing area founded in 1891. Three consecutive districts make up the city: the academic town Oasa (大麻), the 19th-century farmer soldiers village Nopporo (野幌) and the old town Ebetsu Station Area (江別駅前).
Ebetsu at a Glance
START: Ebetsu Station (Around 10am)
FINISH: Oasa Station (Around 5pm)
DURATION: 7 hours
BEST TIME: All year round except Monday and Tuesday
If you start a day trip from Sapporo, take the JR local train (9:45) for Ebetsu (10:09). Admire the red brick artificial waterfall of Fureai-no-taki (ふれあいの滝) in front of the train station.
NEXT ›› Walk 1km west from JR Ebetsu Station across Route 12.
Ebetsu City Museum
江別市郷土資料館 / 1-38 Midori-machi-nishi / 9.30am-5pm / Closed Mon / ¥200
Ebetsu City Museum has a good collection of interesting artifacts from 8500 years ago, look for the documents of wooden fighter for WWII manufactured in Ebetsu.
NEXT ›› Walk across the old racetrack site of Asukayama Park (飛鳥山公園) near the museum, then turn left and walk one block on Sanban-dori.
SHOPPING & COFFEE BREAK
蔦屋書店 / Makiba-cho / 8am-11pm / ebetsu-t.com
This modern red brick complex stocks a wide selection of books on lifestyle, art, food, travel and novel in the stylish halls. There are also cafes, take-away shops and restaurants. The i-Gate Ikeuchi Exit (www.igate-ikeuchi.com) rents out cross-bikes (¥700 for 2hrs; ¥3500 for 1-day). Book ahead online.
NEXT ›› Head 500m south on the Shiki-no-michi walkway (四季のみち: old railway track) and turn right in front of the hospital, then take the Chuo Bus (12:31) for Oasa Station (大麻駅前) from Wakakusa-cho (若草町) to Nopporo 7 (野幌7丁目 / 12:40). From where, cross the rail track near the Aeon shopping mall.
LOCAL PRODUCTS & LUNCH
エブリ / 3-3 Higashi-Nopporo-cho / 10am-10pm / Closed New Year’s holiday / www.ebri-nopporo.com
Housed in an old red brick factory completed in 1942, and after renovation as a shopping complex with a tourist information center (www.ebetsu-kanko.jp) in 2016. It has shops, bakeries and a cafe.
NEXT ›› Follow a 600m-long new walkway along the rail track to JR Nopporo Station. From where, take the JR Bus 29 (13:48 on weekday from the south gate) or JR Bus 92 (13:41 on Sat & Sun from the north gate) to the Ceramic Art Center-mae (13min).
DETOUR: RED BRICK BUILDING
Ebetsu Glass Crafts Hall
江別市ガラス工芸館 / 53 Nopporo-Yoyogi-cho / 10am-5pm Sat & Sun & holiday May-Oct / FREE
Built in 1945 by the local red brick factory’s president and among the most photogenic Ebetsu renga building, this old residence turned into a glass gallery and studio runs by Kakizaki Hitoshi. It is open to all on Saturday, Sunday and holiday except in winter.
LOCAL HISTORY & ART
Ebetsu Ceramic Art Center
江別市セラミックアートセンター / 114-5 Nishi-Nopporo / 9.30am-5.30pm / Closed Mon / ¥300 / www.city.ebetsu.hokkaido.jp/site/ceramic
This art center has display on the history of renga (red brick) and yakimono (ceramics) in Ebetsu. It also showcases the work of Showa-era ceramist Komori Shinobu who lived this city in his later years. On-site shop sells local ceramic works.
NEXT ›› From here, take the JR Bus 29 hourly JR Bus 29 (15:30) to Oasa Station south gate (15:53), then 500m walk south on Route 12.
DETOUR: SCENIC CAMPUS
Rakuno Gakuen University
On the JR Bus 29 from the Ceramic Art Center, you will see Japan’s widest private university of Rakuno Gakuen (established in 1933 as a dairy farming school) near Oasa Station south gate. The picturesque campus is open to the public. Locals enjoy walking around the white beech avenue (白樺並木) and the 1945 red brick dorm of Seino-ryo (精農寮).
サンタクリーム / 1-25 Bunkyodai Higashi-machi / 11am-7pm / Closed Tue / santaxream.com
The lovely cafe Santa Xcream (on the 2nd floor) serves surprisingly 35cm-tall Kinento parfait (記念塔パフェ), tasteful pudding a la mode and Italian using local ingredients. Note: it is closed on Tuesday.
NEXT ›› Head back to JR Oasa Station along Route 12.
You will finish this day trip around 5pm. If you go back to Sapporo from Oasa, take the JR local train (17:01).
LINK THIS TOUR
JR Hakodate Line: Sapporo to Asahikawa
Route 12: Sapporo to Asahikawa