A Hokkaido Adventure: From Obihiro to Kushiro

Enjoy Hokkaido with this 3-day itinerary

By Serena Ogawa    - 5 min read

Hokkaido is a prefecture with plentiful nature—but many people stay confined to Sapporo or Hakodate and underestimate its other sights. Don’t overlook how easy it is to get between these fantastic destinations. Let us help you explore the area from Obihiro to Kushiro via public transportation and discover everything that you can experience!

Day One: Appreciating Obihiro's history and nature

1. Obihiro Airport

Begin your expedition into Hokkaido territory from Obihiro Airport. Located south of Obihiro Station, this airport is the perfect place to start your journey of Japan’s northernmost prefecture.

A 9-minute ride to Kofuku Station by Airport Shuttle Bus

Obihiro Airport
Obihiro Airport (Photo: 663highland / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

2. Kofuku Station

Visit the station of happiness! Kofuku Station—literally meaning happiness—was the site of an NHK TV travel documentary. Today, this closed railway station is a popular sightseeing place thanks to its charming and quaint appearance. Many visitors paste their business cards or messages on the walls in hopes of having their happiness granted.

A 21-minute bus ride to Nakasatsunai Bijutsumura.

Kofuku Station
Kofuku Station (Photo: Captain76 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

3. Nakasatsunai Art Village

Explore this vast oak forest where you can find art museums and restaurants scattered throughout. Discover layers of history laid out before you in this natural setting. The village is especially beautiful in autumn when the trees become a canvas of their own with crimsons and golds painting the landscape.

An 80-minute bus ride via the Hiroo and Shinmachi lines to Shimachi Nishi 1-chome.

Food tip: Grab a bowl of Obihiro-famous butadon for lunch! This local dish of rice with sweet-and-saucy grilled pork on top has some great Obihiro variants. Be sure to ask hotel staff for the best places or do a quick Google search for 豚丼 (ぶたどん).

4. Obihiro Racecourse

This one-of-a-kind racecourse is home to a different kind of race. Large draft horses, weighing 1 ton each, pull an iron sled that also weighs 1 ton along a straight track. The jockey sitting atop the sled guides the draft horse over obstacles and showcases the creature’s strength and determination to cheering crowds.

A 2-hour bus ride via the 1 Junkan Line and No. 51 bus to Shikaribetsu-ko.

5. Lake Shikaribetsu & Foot Spa

Lake Shikaribetsu is the highest altitude lake in Hokkaido and is well-loved for stargazing thanks to the clear and lightless night sky. Shikaribetsu is also the only natural lake in the Daisetsuzan National Park and boasts one of the clearest surfaces in Japanese lakes.

After walking around the lake, or perhaps canoeing, return to Obihiro for a stay at one of their hotels.

An hour-and-half journey to Ikeda Wine Castle via the JR Nemuro train line.

Lake Shikaribetsu
Lake Shikaribetsu (Photo: E-190 / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Day Two: Sights between Obihiro and Kushiro

6. Ikeda Wine Castle

This medieval-style facility is actually a research institute for viticulture. The Ikeda Wine Castle offers in-house tours of their basement aging room where vintage wines rest and improve their flavors. In the shopping area, you can purchase and taste many of the Tokachi wines and other Ikeda-area specialties. This is the perfect place to go for any wine connoisseur.

An hour and 30 minutes by Ozora 5 Limited Express to Kushiro Station; followed by a 2-hour ride to Akan-ko Bus Center.

Ikeda Wine Castle
Ikeda Wine Castle (Photo: Chatama / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

7. Lake Akan at Akan-Mashu National Park

Spend a day cruising the magnificent Lake Akan and see the fuzzy-looking marimo balls that grow to a huge diameter at the bottom of the lake. After spending a day enjoying the brisk, wild air of one of Hokkaido’s most beautiful national parks, stay at a local hotel to rest up!

Leave at 7:30 am the next morning from the Akan-ko Bus Center to Kushiro Station; the trip will take about 2 hours.

Marimo balls
Marimo balls (Photo: bryan... from Taipei, Taiwan / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Day Three: Leave Kushiro with a full belly and a fuller heart

8. Kattedon at Kushiro Washo Market

Once you arrive back at Kushiro, make a beeline for Kushiro Washo Market. Get ready to taste everything that the sea has to offer with a Kushiro kattedon! This local delicacy is more than a simple sashimi bowl; it’s the freshness that counts! Most toppings will run you only 200 to 500 yen though. Be careful as you select your seafood--if you get out of control, you might be paying more than 5,000 yen!

A 12-minute walk to MOO

Kattedon toppings
Kattedon toppings (Photo: Midori / CC BY 3.0)

9. Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO

Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf MOO is Kushiro’s most popular sightseeing and shopping spot. Built in 1989, this commercial complex houses fish markets, souvenir shops, restaurants, and other public facilities, like a post office. There is also an attached greenhouse called EGG where over 40 different kinds of evergreen broad-leaved trees and flowers flourish year-round.

A 50-minute ride via the Akan Bus.

10. Kushiro Airport

End your Hokkaido experience and sightseeing adventure at Kushiro Airport. With its single passenger terminal and three boarding gates, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get from point A to point B without any fuss.

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Serena Ogawa

Serena Ogawa @serena.ogawa

Travel Editor for Japan Travel by day, novel-writing cat lady by night.

Join the discussion

Elena Daurtseva 10 months ago
Very useful guide!
Novia Mardasari 10 months ago
That’s amazing trip!
Elizabeth S 10 months ago
Wow, doable without a car?

Kim 10 months ago
SO much beautiful nature here!