Southern Tokachi’s agricultural flatlands and views of the Hidaka Mountains feel the grandeur of Hokkaido. Route 236 from Obihiro running south towards the Pacific Ocean, passes through the rural villages and the foodie michi-no-eki (roadside stations). From the port town of Hiroo, the coastal road leads to Erimo-misaki. You can enjoy exhilarating drive and cycling on this great plain.
Tokachi Bus 60 runs on Route 236 between Obihiro Station stop 11 and Hiroo (10-14 daily / 2.5hrs / ¥1880).
Obihiro to Hiroo
DURATION: 2.5 hours +
BEST TIME: May to October
Kofuku ›› Entrust message of happiness at the old train station near Tokachi-Obihiro Airport.
Nakasatsunai ›› Tasting a variety of local specialities at the attractive michi-no-eki.
Churui ›› Relaxing at the scenic hilltop cafe and recharging in a modern onsen.
Tokachi Region’s capital and transport hub, 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. It is hot in summer and cold in winter.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From Obihiro Station stop 11, take the Tokachi Bus 60 bound for Hiroo.
9km / 10.5km
Kawanishi & Aikoku 川西 · 愛国
On the left bank of Satsunai-gawa, Kawanishi is another starting point for driving in Southern Tokachi and has an interchange (IC) on the Obihiro-Hiroo Expressway. Cross the river from Kawanishi, Aikoku (the country of love) is known for its a lovely old train station.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Tokachi Bus 60 pauses at both Kawanishi (near the agricultural museum) and Aikoku (near the old train station) stops.
On the both ways to Hiroo and Tokachi-Obihiro Airport, Kofuku (meaning happiness) is well-known for an old train station comprises a restored wooden waiting room with vintage trains in a rural village.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› The old train station is about 300m east of Kofuku stop on the Obihiro–Hiroo bus route. Tokachi Bus airport shuttle stops at the entrance of the old train station (only available to airport users).
This scenic rural village has Tokachi’s most popular michi-no-eki (roadside station) on Route 236 that has good eateries, historic agricultural buildings and bike rentals.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Tokachi Bus 60 stops at the Michi-no-eki Nakasatsunai (道の駅なかさつない).
At the southern part of Makubetsu, the main attraction in Churui is its michi-no-eki with a museum of Naumann’s elephant and a modern onsen. Enjoy fabulous views of the agricultural fields from the hilltop scenic cafe during the summer weekend.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Tokachi Bus 60 makes a 5-minute toilet break at Churui. The next stop is Naumann-zo Kinenkan-mae (ナウマン象記念館前) at the michi-no-eki.
DETOUR: 24km East of Taiki
Bansei Onsen 晩成温泉
Set on a coastal hill overlooking the ocean, Bansei Onsen is remote but attractive location on the greatly-curved Tokachi Coast. A free shuttle bus runs from the Michi-no-eki Cosmall Taiki (道の駅コスモール大樹), Tokachi Bus 60 stops here, on Thursday and Sunday at 10.05am.
At the southernmost town of Tokachi Region, Hiroo is the region’s only commercial port and far from a tourist hot spot. The main reason to stopover this town is a round trip to or from Hidaka Region via Erimo-misaki.
CONNECTIONS ›› From Hiroo bus terminal, JR Bus runs to Samani Station (1hr 50min) via Erimo-misaki (50min). Otherwise, you can take the highway bus Kosoku Hiroo Santa-go to Sapporo (1 daily / 4hrs 40min / Compulsory reservation).