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.
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.
Obihiro to Sounkyo Onsen
DURATION: 2.5 hours +
BEST TIME: May to October
PLAN YOUR OWN TOUR
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, 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 ›› Local buses (49, 51, 61 and 62) bound for Kamishihoro 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 (道の駅ピア21しほろ) housing a restaurant and a cafe, with steak, burgers and gyu-don (beef bowls) using local Shihoro wagyu beef and vegetables.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Intercity bus pauses at the Michi-no-eki Pia 21 Shihoro (士幌). If you take the local bus, Shihoro 22 (士幌22号) is the closest stop to the michi-no-eki.
Agricultural town Kamishihoro is beautifully sited on Northern Tokachi. This town also has a new michi-no-eki (道の駅かみしほろ) on the south side of the town center.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Kamishihoro Transportation Terminal (上士幌交通ターミナル: 6am-9pm / Wi-Fi) is the town’s main bus station. Both intercity and local buses stop here. Local buses (49, 51, 61 and 62) stop at the Michi-no-eki Kamishihoro (道の駅かみしほろ).
Nukabira Gensenkyo ぬかびら源泉郷
Nukabira 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).
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› 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.
Horoka Onsen 幌加温泉
Hidden away at the end of the road above the gorge, 1km off Route 273, Kanoya is Tokachi’s most nostalgic and atmospheric onsen, with mixed indoor and open-air baths. On tap are waters from four different springs. Women are allowed to take modesty towels or use a female-only small indoor bath.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Intercity bus stops at Horoka Onsen-iriguchi (幌加温泉入口) on Route 273. You can get on and off the intercity bus here.
Mikuni Pass 三国峠
At the gateway of Northern Tokachi, Mikuni-toge 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. There is also a seasonal cafe (8.30am-5.30pm late Apr-early Nov) that has a good selection of great coffee, ice cream and curry.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› No stop for the intercity bus. Looking out across Matsumi-ohashi winding bridge from a bus window.
Sounkyo Onsen 層雲峡温泉
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.
CONNECTIONS ›› The intercity bus from Obihiro continue to Asahikawa stops at Sounkyo. After a hike or soak at an onsen, you can take the bus here to Kamikawa Station on the JR Sekihoku Line continue to Asahikawa, Kitami, or Kushiro via Akanko Onsen. Sounkyo bus terminal has a ticket office.