Extending from the Tokachi Plain in the south to Daisetsuzan National Park to the north, Kamishihoro offers majestic farms, wonderful views of the mountains, excellent onsen, rural villages, historic railway heritages and a variety of outdoor activities.
DURATION: 2.5 hours +
BEST TIME: May to October.
BUSES: Tokachi Bus 51 runs from Obihiro Station stop 6 to Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski-jo-mae (4 daily / 1hr 45min / ¥1310) via Shihoro, Kamishihoro and Nukabira Gensenkyo bus station. Tokachi Bus 49, Takushoku Bus 61 and 62 runs to Kamishihoro (13 daily / 70min) via Shihoro (50min). The intercity bus North Liner Mikuni-go (ノースライナーみくに号: 1 daily) runs between Obihiro and Asahikawa via Sounkyo.
Kamishihoro ›› It is a good base for cycling in the nearby picturesque countryside and Naitai Kogen Farm, as well as organic cafes.
Nukabira Gensenkyo ›› This tranquil onsen village is a perfect base for explore around the serene artificial lake Nukabira-ko and old concrete arch bridges.
Mikuni Pass ›› Hokkaido’s highest pass makes a wonderful drive and rewards with spectacle views.
Tokachi Region’s capital and transport hub on the JR Nemuro Line, Obihiro boasts numerous reputable restaurants, sweet shops and onsen sento (public bathhouses). A well-laid-out city center was modeled on Washington DC, which makes an ideal for pleasant strolling.
Local buses (49, 51, 61 and 62) bound for Kamishihoro via Shihoro depart from Obihiro Station stop 6. Note that you can’t get off the intercity bus from Ofotuke to Nukabira Gensenkyo (only boarding is possible).
At the southern gateway of the town on Route 241, Michi-no-eki Pia 21 Shihoro housing a restaurant and a cafe, with steak, burgers and gyu-don (beef bowls) using local Shihoro wagyu beef and vegetables. If you take the local bus, Shihoro 22 (士幌22号) is the closest stop to the michi-no-eki. Intercity bus also pauses here (士幌).
Agricultural town Kamishihoro (上士幌) is beautifully sited on Northern Tokachi. This town also has a new michi-no-eki on the south side of the town center.
Kamishihoro Transportation Terminal (上士幌交通ターミナル: 6am-9pm / Wi-Fi) is the town’s main bus station and all buses stop here. Local buses stop at the Michi-no-eki Kamishihoro (道の駅かみしほろ).
Nukabira Gensenkyo is a tranquil onsen village on the southeastern side of Daisetsuzan National Park. It is a good base for hiking and cycling around the artificial lake Nukabira-ko. There are no bathhouses, but most accommodation are open for higaeri nyuyoku (day-use).
Nukabira Gensenkyo bus station (ぬかびら源泉郷営業所) is right opposite Higashi-Taisetsu Nature Center and has a ticket office. Both intercity and local bus 51 from Obihiro stop here.
Hidden away at the end of the road above the gorge, 1km off Route 273, Horoka Onsen Kanoya (in Northern Kamishihoro) is Tokachi’s most nostalgic and atmospheric onsen, with mixed indoor and open-air baths. Intercity bus stops at Horoka Onsen-iriguchi (幌加温泉入口) on Route 273.
Mikuni-toge (in Northern Kamishihoro) is Hokkaido’s highest pass (1139m) on the border of Tokachi and Kamikawa regions. The pass makes a pleasant drive and rewards with expansive views of beautiful mountains.
No stop for the intercity bus. Looking out across Matsumi-ohashi winding bridge from a bus window.
Set on the upper stream of Ishikari-gawa, Sounkyo Onsen is Northern Hokkaido’s largest hot springs resort and the main base of Kuro-dake. The village sits along the deep gorge with columnar joints.
Sounkyo (層雲峡) bus terminal has a ticket office. The intercity bus North Liner Mikuni-go between Obihiro and Asahikawa stops here. From here, you can change buses to Kamikawa Station on the JR Sekihoku Line, Kitami, or Kushiro via Akanko Onsen.