My first impression of Obihiro JR station was that it was a very artistic station. At its basement, there was a citizen gallery for the citizens of Obihiro, which was exhibiting stained glass art. There was also a hands-on workshop where groups of women gathered to work on some crafts. It was a delight to look at those handcrafted glass art.
The artistic vibe of the station is extended to its exterior, where sculptures and statues are littered all around its surroundings. There were bronze statues of a deer family and a beautiful modern installation of some towering hand sculptures.
You can find many shops inside the station. Some of them are: a 100-yen shop, a classy kimono shop and various souvenir shops. The 100-yen shop is definitely convenient in a train station. I bought an umbrella and some impressive gloves that can work on touch screens.
Definitely start your tour around Obihiro at the Tokachi Tourism Information & Products Center on the second level. There, you can find lots of brochures regarding activities and things to do in Obihiro. There is also a staff on duty at all times that will answer your pressing questions.
The bus terminal of Obihiro is located next to Obihiro station, which makes bus travel very convenient. However, in my opinion, traveling by car could be the best way to discover Obihiro. The reason for that is that Obihiro’s famed sweets shops and farm restaurants are not serviced by bus and the vast land space in Hokkaido means that getting a taxi out of nowhere is a challenge. If you're looking to rent a car, several car rental shops are available close to Obihiro station.
Obihiro, nicknamed the Kingdom of Sweets, is known for its amazing sweets, and there are plenty of sweets shops located just within walking distance of Obihiro station. Rokkatei and Ryugetsu, famous major Hokkaido confectioneries both have their main branches in Obihiro. My absolute recommendation would be the Taiyaki Kobo, freshly made from scratch. To get there, walk 10 minutes north-east of Obihiro station.
Also, just within a 2-minute walk from the station, is the restaurant Banchou. Banchou is a local favourite that serves Obihiro’s specialty food, the Buta-don. It is packed most times of the day, a clear indication of delicious food. A must-go if you are in Obihiro.
If you want to experience a true Japanese style of dining, visit Obihiro’s Yatai Village at Nishi 2-jo Minami 10-chome (西2条南10丁目), a comfortable 10 minutes walk from Obihiro station. These Yatai only seat a maximum of 5 people are typically serve beer and food that is great with beer e.g. Yakitori.
A style of horse-racing distinctive to Obihiro is Banei horse-riding. The races are held not too far away from the Obihiro station. More information can be obtained at the Tokachi Tourism Information & Products Center.
Obihiro train station is serviced by two main lines: Super Ozora that run from Sapporo to Kushiro and Super Tokachi, that run from Sapporo to Obihiro. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Obihiro from Sapporo on the Super Ozora.