Visit delicious gourmet spots and save money with useful apps! 1 night 2 days itinerary for the Obihiro and Tokachi regions of Hokkaido, Japan.

Obihiro is a picturesque city nestled in the eastern part of Hokkaido, renowned for its cold temperatures. When we visited this time, despite there being no snow and plenty of sun on most days, temperatures reached as low as -15℃ in the mornings! For those in search of a crisp and refreshing adventure, Obihiro is definitely the place for you.

The more you use it, the more special offers there are to enjoy! How to use the Horai App.

The scenery en route to Obihiro City

For our trip, we travelled from New Chitose Airport by “Tokachi Milky Liner” highway bus. Not only is the view from the window spectacular, but download the Horai app and you can reserve tickets in advance at special discounted prices. JCB card holders can also use this useful app for further discounts at restaurants and other facilities.

From Wednesday, February 1, 2023 to Friday, June 30, 2023, the Horai app can be used to purchase a special "Tokachi Obihiro Bus Travel Ticket", complete with many lucrative special offers. These offers can be activated by scanning the readers set out at participating facilities with the app, then presenting or paying with a JCB card.

After sightseeing, drinking, or eating dinner, you can collect "coupon stamps" on the Horai app from participating stores. Simply scan the stamps when paying with your JCB card and you’re good to go. You will also receive a discount or gift (varies depending on each store’s campaign – please check with the store staff in advance). If you collect three stamps, you can exchange them for an original hotel craft beer at Hotel Nupka. Just show your stamps to the staff and scan them with the reader to receive your delicious local beer. Let’s dive into the many other ways you can use the Horai app to get special offers in Japan!

Return tickets from Obihiro to Chitose cost 5,500 yen on Horai, which is lower than the regular price. After booking the ticket on the app, you will receive an e-mail, from which you should select the date and time of your bus ride. After selecting the boarding time, you will receive another confirmation e-mail, which you will need for boarding, so keep it saved in a safe place.

When you arrive at New Chitose Airport, head for the bus counter located at Exit 2. When you arrive at the counter, tell the staff your name and confirm your boarding details. Then, go to the bus stop 5 minutes before departure time. When the bus arrives, you will need to show your purchase completion e-mail to the staff. You will now be able to board the bus and enjoy the scenic journey! Remember to keep your receipt in a safe place just in case.

If you have not made a reservation in advance, you can check the timetable and available seats at the bus counter and purchase a ticket on the day of the bus ride. The journey to Obihiro takes approximately 2.5 hours. The bus seats are freestanding, with reclining functions and cozy leg rests for napping. There is also free WiFi and a USB adapter on every seat for charging mobile phones. During the 2.5 hour journey, you can sit back and relax, enjoy scrolling the internet, and watch the beautiful scenery whizz by outside.

This spectacular view includes none other than the Tokachi-dake – a beautiful mountain range that looks even more dynamic in winter, when it’s covered with snow. The winter view of rice fields dusted white with snow is also something special.

Check in at Hotel Nupka, a stylish facility in Obihiro City

After arriving at Obihiro bus stop, take the short 5-minute walk to Hotel Nupka to check in. This stunning hotel is designed in a minimalist style, with simple and clean features. There are reasonably priced dormitory rooms for men and women, but private rooms are also available, as well as a regular hotel room option. There is also an annex called ‘Hanare’, located a 3-minute walk from the main building.

The bar area, which becomes lively during the evenings

The bar offers a wide variety of craft beers

The founders of Hotel Nupka created the facility as a “place for local people to interact”. There is a café and lobby space that can be used any time, as well as bustling communal rooms. The interior of the hotel is modern and fresh, and there is a multipurpose lobby on the first floor of the Hanare annex that offers private work booths. This lobby is completely open to anybody who needs to use it during business hours. The rooms in the Hanare annex range from single and double rooms to rooms that can accommodate whole families. Sofa bed-type extra beds are also available. All rooms are chic and bright – the perfect place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

Rooms are equipped with all the basic amenities, including TVs, refrigerators, bathtubs, shampoo, and air purifiers. There is drinking water, hot water, microwaves, washers, and dryers outside the rooms. One interesting point about the TVs here is that can be connected to your own smartphone, so you can enjoy your own shows in comfort. In the lobby on the first floor, you can find information on sightseeing in Obihiro City, cycling routes, famous stores and specialties, etc. Of course, you can also ask the friendly staff for help.

Kita no Yatai: A northern foodie street of dreams

This famous part of Obihiro is lined with many small eateries, offering a variety of delicious gourmet bites. Since each stall only seats around 6-7 people, you can get a real sense of the local area and feel like part of the community. In the summer, you can enjoy eating and drinking outside too.

The first eatery we tried was ‘Kohitsuji’ – a popular spot famous for its "raw lamb." A tender piece of lamb is seared to perfection, leaving the inner meat rich and juicy. Combined with the homemade sour sauce, it was true perfection. Kohitsuji is also famous for its sumptuous raw horse meat. If you have the chance to visit the stall, be sure to try both! You won’t be disappointed.

Another recommendation from the owner is the potato fries. It may seem like a typical everyday food item, but trust us, these fries are special! The potatoes used in the recipe are grown on a famous local farm and are not available in supermarkets - instead they are used exclusively in local restaurants. Try the fries as they are at first and savor the rich, buttery smooth texture of the local potatoes. Then, add mustard or butter to your taste and enjoy these moreish delicacies. The potatoes are sweet and delicious as they are, so our team enjoyed them without any garnish. Kohitsuji chefs fry them to perfection - crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Delicious.

The Horai app came in useful here too – we received 500 yen off our food bill.

The next eatery we visited was ‘Enjin’. This joint is famous for its exciting menu of Yezo sika deer, brown bear, and wild boar. In Japan, game meat must be purchased from someone with a hunting license, making these cuts a real rarity in restaurants. The staff recommended a decadent dish made with venison and mountain wasabi, which paired perfectly with the earthy local wine.

Lastly, we dropped into a hot yakiniku spot called 'Tokachi Nikusakaba Sanzou'.

The eatery has a Japanese-style atmosphere and offers self-service alcoholic beverages. Popular menu items include beef and beef tongue. The beef tongue in particular is large and tender and fills the room with an absolutely tantalizing aroma when grilled. However, aside from the delicious meaty menu, it’s the “all-you-can-drink” option that attracts customers to this stall. Choose either whiskey or ‘lemon sour’ cocktail, and the waiter will bring you ice and soda so you can serve yourself. The drink bar is located right next to the table – perfect for drink lovers.

We also received one free item from the menu thanks to our Horai app coupon.

Find luck and happiness at Kofuku Station and feel the love at Aikoku Station!

Kofuku Station (which means “Happy Station” in Japanese) has been in operation since 1956, but gained nationwide fame in 1973 thanks to the NHK travel program "Shin Nihon Kikou". The show introduced both Kofuku Station and the nearby Aikoku Station (which means “Country of Love Station” in Japanese), and later the song "From the Aikoku to Kofuku" was released, making the two stations even more famous throughout Japan. Although these two stations are now closed to trains, they are still visited by thousands of tourists each year hoping for good luck in their love lives.

Large pink tickets are sold at Kofuku Station, on which tourists write their wishes relating to love and then stick to the wall with their own thumbtacks. The station is therefore covered in whimsical pink tickets, creating a sweet, romantic atmosphere. Simply looking at the station will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside – which is why it is also a popular wedding venue.

In addition to the large pink wish tickets, replicas of the original train tickets produced here are also available. You can choose the date you want stamped on your ticket, and the staff will make it for you, for the perfect Obihiro souvenir.

Hekiungura Sake Brewery

Kamikawa Taisetsu is a local sake brewery that produces a brand of sake called Hekiungura. The brewery was founded through a collaboration between Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and Kamikawa Taisetsu Sake Brewery Co. The university had originally conducted research on yeast and fermentation and product development as an important element of "food", so they put their research into good use, teaming up with Kamikawa Taisetsu to set up this unique brewery. There are brewery tours available for tourists interested in the sake-making process, although these are run in Japanese language only.

Hekiungura uses local rice, which you can observe being fermented and steamed if you visit in the mornings. In the afternoons, visitors can see the rice washing, steaming, and bottling process. There are of course many souvenirs available, making this the perfect place to buy gifts for sake lovers.

The sake produced by this brewery won the Fine Sake Award in 2022.

If you buy a furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth), the staff will wrap the bottles up for you.

Indulge in delicious soft serve ice cream at Cafe & Bar Shocora

This stylish cafe and bar near the station is the perfect place to enjoy music and a delicious cup of coffee after a long day of sightseeing in the snow. The cafe interior is simple and elegant, with big high ceilings and a laidback atmosphere.

Show your Horai app to receive a free mini soft serve ice cream to go with your drink. This is no ordinary soft serve ice cream – the store has its own local dairy farm, where it makes the smooth and creamy milk used in the recipe. The second floor of the cafe houses a cozy bar where you can enjoy a drink in the evening, making it a great spot for a break, whatever the time of day.


Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Obihiro is famous for being the only city in the world to host Ban-ei horse racing. Even as times have changed and cars, trains and machines have permeated people's lives, the people of Obihiro are still extremely proud of the city’s horse racing heritage. This one-of-a-kind bar operates from on top of a horse-drawn carriage, as a shoutout to the city’s equestrian roots. Although BASHA BAR does not operate during the winter due to the cold weather conditions, visitors during other seasons can book fun tours where they can enjoy drinks and local craft beer while circling the town. Enjoy the panoramic views of Obihiro city from the top of this ornate carriage, in a fun experience you will never forget.

Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Enjoy unique views of Obihiro from this special vantage point on top of a horse-drawn carriage.

Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Photo courtesy of good going tokachi

Reservations for BASHA BAR tours can be made at Hotel Nupka (located a 3-minute walk from the station). The tour route is a 2km course that circles around Obihiro for approximately 50 minutes. The departure and arrival points are located right next to Obihiro’s main sightseeing spots, convenient for sightseeing on-foot after the tour is finished.

So, what do you think? Obihiro may be a small town, but this northern jewel has plenty of interesting sights and experiences to enjoy! If you want to feel the cool breeze, avoid the crowds of the big city, eat delicious food and see beautiful mountain views, Obihiro / Tokachi is the place for you!

Contents Source

This information is sourced by Fun Japan Communications Co., Ltd.
There may be business closures, changes to hours of operation,
or temporary suspension of the service of alcoholic beverages, etc.,
implemented without prior notice.

For details, please check the official websites or inquire with the
establishments directly.