Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Obihiro - A Sweets Tour, Local Cuisine, And Banei Tokachi Horse Races
Written by MATCHA-PR
Obihiro, located in Hokkaido's Tokachi Plain, is famous for its confectionery. Use a convenient one-day bus ticket to visit sweets stores, watch the unique local horse races, taste delicious local food and enjoy beautifying hot springs in Obihiro!
Obihiro - The Sweets Kingdom
Tokachi Plain is an area with rich soil and is famous for its production of potatoes, wheat, beans, and beets. The city of Obihiro, located in the heart of the plain, also serves as the main collection and distribution center for Tokachi farm products. The area is also known as a sweets kingdom because it produces high-quality wheat, milk, and sugar.
Tokachi can be reached from New Chitose Airport using the JR lines or the Tokachi Milk Liner bus, which takes about two and a half hours. It is a three and a half hour ride from Sapporo to Obihiro on the Potato Liner bus. From Tokachi Obihiro Airport, it is a forty-minute ride to Obihiro Station on the Tokachi Bus or the Takushoku Bus (Japanese).
9:00 -- Purchase the Obihiro 1 Day Sweets Bus Package
The Obihiro 1 Day Sweets Bus Package is a convenient ticket that allows users to save money when traveling to Obihiro. The ticket includes unlimited bus rides in Obihiro for a day, regardless of the season. The price is 1,350 yen for adults and 900 yen for children.
The ticket can be purchased at the Tokachi Bus office, which is located at the Obihiro Station Bus Terminal.
|Contents||1. Obihiro 1 Day Bus Ticket
2. Sweets Kingdom Tokachi! Sweets Tour Coupon
|How To Use The Ticket||1. The bus ticket is valid for one day.
2. The user receives 4 "Sweets Kingdom Tokachi! Sweets Tour Coupons" and only one coupon can be used at each store.
3. A complimentary ticket for Banei Tokachi Obihiro Horse Race Track is also included in this package.
4. The user should show the bus ticket to the driver before getting off the bus.
Information in English and Chinese (*1) about the sweets tour coupon is available at the Tokachi Tourist Information Center, which is located on the second floor of Obihiro Station. Their Facebook pages in Traditional Chinese and English also offer various information.
A comprehensive bus route map of Obihiro can be obtained at the Obihiro Station Bus Terminal. The bus routes can also be researched online using Mokuik (Japanese).
*1 Chinese-speaking staff are stationed at the center on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
10:00 -- Obihiro Shrine - Featured in "Silver Spoon"
Access: Take the bus from Obihiro Station and get off at Obihiro Jinja-mae or Nishi-Nijo Itchome/Higashi-Sanjo Rokuchome bus stops. From here, it's a seven-minute walk to the shrine.
Obihiro Shrine is one of the locations featured in the famous manga "Silver Spoon." This is the largest shrine in Obihiro, and since the developing of Hokkaido in the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912), it has been watching over the city.
There good luck bringing items that can be purchased only at this shrine: a horse-shaped ema (a plate bearing a prayer), an ema with an illustration of the Banei Tokachi horse races, and a Sake-mikuji, which is a salmon-shaped luck divining paper.
Another popular item is the Yuki no Yosei (Snow Fairy), which took two years to design. This luck divining paper is shaped after a bird called shimaenaga (long-tailed tit) and is entirely handmade. It is often sold out. The shimaenaga goshuin-cho is another adorable item, just as cute as the luck divining papers.
11:30 -- Famous Online! Obihiro Hageten
Access: Take the bus from Nishi-Nijo Itchome/Higashi-Sanjo Rokuchome bus stop and get off at Obihiro Station. It is a five-minute walk to Obihiro Hageten.
Pork became a household foodstuff, and the buta-don (pork and rice), a dish inspired by a barbecued unagi (eel), was invented. This dish is now famous as a local dish of Obihiro.
Obihiro Hageten, established in 1934, uses marbled Hokkaido pork, so even though the slices are thick, they have a very soft texture. The excessive fat is burned through grilling, and the pork topping goes very well with rice, thanks to the sauce, which is created based on a secret recipe. A tinge of black pepper makes it even more delicious.
Another popular menu is the kakiage, a shredded vegetable and seafood tempura dish. Regular kakiage is made with sakura (spotted) shrimp, but Obihiro Hageten makes it with various ingredients such as Japanese yam, scallop, crab, salmon and shimeji mushroom.
The tempura is large and thick, allowing the customers to taste the fruits of both the earth and the sea in one bite.
13:00 -- Tour the Sweets Kindom! Tasting Various Sweets
After a hearty lunch, let's try some of the sweets Obiiro is famous for. The Sweets Kingdom Tokachi! Sweets Tour Coupon allows the user to taste confectionery at four stores. One of our recommendations is the Tokachi Toteppo Factory.
Toteppo used to be the nickname of a railroad company transporting beet, which is used to make sugar.
The sweets tour coupon can be used to taste its popular menu called Hokkaido Fromage, which is a non-baked type of cheesecake. This pastry uses three types of Tokachi-made cheese. It will melt in your mouth and it is not heavy at all. This fragrant cake is a favorite among the fans of Toteppo.
14:00 -- Banei Tokachi Obihiro Horse Race Track - Watch Truly Unique Horse Races!
Access: Take the bus from Obihiro Station and get off at Obihiro Keibajo-mae bus stop.
Banei Keiba is a race where horses twice the size of thoroughbreds compete pulling steel sleds through a course which goes up and down.
Horses played a very important role in the development of Hokkaido and the farmers raised their horses to be stronger than others. The hard-working farmers started horse racing as a recreation, and this became the prototype of Banei Keiba. Although there were four cities in Hokkaido which hosted this type of racing, Obihiro is the only one left at the moment.
Use the complimentary ticket included in the sweets tour package and enjoy this horse race that is one of a kind.
The betting system is the same as for regular horse racing. There is even a beginner's corner in the building.
Beginners should try the "win" ticket, which wagers on the first place horse, or the "place" ticket, wagering on the horse that will finish within the top three. For details, please check the official site.
At the race course there is also a small zoo where the visitors can feed the retired horses, and a museum displaying materials about the importance of horses in Hokkaido. Students can even pray for their success in an entrance examination at the Tokachi Hikiuma Shrine.
Visitors can enjoy the Obihiro cuisine at the restaurant, or shopping for souvenirs at the kiosk.
17:30 -- Kita no Yatai - Enjoy the Festive Local Atmosphere
Access: Take the bus from Banei Tokachi to Obihiro Station. It is a five-minute walk to the street stands called Kita no Yatai.
Kita no Yatai, located near Obihiro Station, is a cluster of street stands, all serving dishes made with Tokachi products.
Kohitsuji, well known for its lamb dishes, is frequented especially by local residents. The owner takes special care in using the freshest meat, so there is no distinctive smell, which should change your image of lamb meat.
Tokachi lamb tataki is made from lean lamb meat. The lightly grilled, rare meat has a soft texture. It goes well with the yuzu (citron) pepper, which makes the meat much more sweeter.
Lamb kushiyaki (skewered lamb) uses fresh, fatty meat, and has a sweet aroma. Lamb nikujaga (meat and potatoes) with cheese is a dish that's sure to bring out a good appetite.
Don't forget to try Jussho Muhai, a Tokachi barley shochu. It has a refreshing taste, so even those trying shochu for the first time should enjoy it.
20:00 -- Premier Hotel-CABIN-Obihiro - Enjoy the Moor Onsen
Access: Five-minute walk from Obihiro Station.
Picture courtesy of Premier Hotel CABIN
After enjoying the festive atmosphere of Kita no Yatai, check in at Premier Hotel-CABIN-Obihiro, which is located near Obihiro Station, and try the to moor (plant-derived) hot springs, a unique type of hot springs that are abundant in the Tokachi area. There are many hotels in Obihiro that feature onsen.
The moor onsen is a trait of the Tokachi area. The brown color is a result of the water going through a layer of peat, a remnant of ancient plants. The water also contains organic substances. It is said to have a skin-moisturizing and smoothing effect, that is why they are called "bijin no yu" (hot spring of beauty).
Premier Hotel-CABIN-Obihiro offers a wide variety of rooms such as a Japanese-style room and rooms with three beds. The guests can enjoy onsen in the bathroom of the Japanese-style rooms. Breakfast is served at a restaurant with a great view of the Hidaka Mountains.
If you enjoyed the moor onsen, how about visiting Tokachigawa Onsen on the next day?
Enjoy Your Trip to Obihiro!
In Obihiro, visitors can taste confectionery and famous buta-don dishes, watch the exciting Banei Tokachi horse races, enjoy the lively atmosphere of the street stands, and bathe in the unique moor hot springs. Whichever the season, there is an event here waiting for you!
Written by Callie
Sponsored by Obihiro City