Founded in 1883 by settlers from Honshu, and designated as a city in 1933, Obihiro is architecturally undistinguished except for a few kitsch pachinko (pin ball) palaces. To the visitor it appears a city of car dealers and cake shops.
Arranged on a regular north-south grid, most of the city lies in the south western quadrant. Two main features lie diagonal to the grid: the railway line with the main JR station and Midorigaoka Park, a green hill where some of the cities main attractions (the museum, zoo etc.) are located.
Most Japanese visitors from the south come to Obihiro to visit the dairy farms of the Tokachi Plain (thus cake shops and cookies sold as souvenirs), however foreign visitors already familiar with cows and wheat fields may be more interested in the high volcanic peaks of Daisetsuzan with its extraordinary alpine flora, or the wildlife in Shiretoko Peninsula. For these major attractions Obihiro is a gateway, conveniently bypassing Sapporo and western Hokkaido.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Tokachi Obihiro Airport (とかち帯広空港), Naka 8-41, Nishi 9-sen, Izumi-cho (25 km south of Obihiro City.), ☏ . Has flights to and from Tokyo (Haneda), Kansai International Airport and Nagoya. The phone number for JAL, the primary carrier at this airport, is +81 155 64-5681.
- 2 JR Obihiro Station, ☏ . Obihiro is on the main JR Nemuro Line between Sapporo and Kushiro. There are trains to Sapporo (207 km, 2 hr 15 min), Asahikawa (183 km, 3 hr 30 min), Hakodate (461 km, 6 hr 30 min), and Kushiro (120 km, 1 hr 45 min).
Long distance buses are a good way to get to Obihiro. These buses all leave from in front of JR Obihiro Station.
- Chuo Bus Potato Liner (中央バス ポテトライナー), ☏ . 3h40m. From Sapporo at Sapporo Terminal or Oyachi (大谷地. +81 11 891-6388) subway station. ¥3,770.
- Obihiro Station Bus, ☏ .
The center of Obihiro, located between JR Obihiro Station and Fujimaru Department Store, is small and walkable, though most of the larger shopping areas are outside of this. The city as a whole is large and spread out, though easy to navigate. Similar to Sapporo, it is laid out on a grid, and intersections are signed in both Japanese and English (e.g., West 1 South 10). The north-south axis (which lies close to the city center) is called Ōdōri.
City buses exist, though services are less frequent than on the more densely populated island of Honshu.
A car is ideal, since the main attractions are outside the city. There are some rental car companies at the airport.
- Toyota (at Tokachi Obihiro Airport), ☏ .
- Nippon (at Tokachi Obihiro Airport), ☏ .
- Nissan (at Tokachi Obihiro Airport), ☏ .
- Mazda (at Tokachi Obihiro Airport), ☏ .
- Orix (at Tokachi Obihiro Airport), ☏ .
- 1 Obihiro Racecourse (帯広競馬場), Nishi 13, Minami 9, ☏ . Obihiro has a unique type of draught horse racing called Banei (ばんえい) . The horses drag steel 'sleighs', each weighing around 500 kilograms, along a 200-m sand track with two humps in the middle of the course. The sport originated in a test of strength for farm animals. Most of the horses are a crossbreed of French Percherons and Bretons and Belgian horses. The 'jockeys' lash the horses repeatedly with the reins - animal lovers be warned!
- 2 Midorigaoka Park (緑が丘公園), Midorigaoka2. Large park. With in the park, there are a variety of facilities zoo, and museums. Entrance free.
- 3 Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art (北海道立帯広美術館), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☏ , fax: .
- 4 Obihiro Centennial Memorial Hall (帯広百年記念館), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☏ . City historical and natural history museum.
- 5 Obihiro Zoo (おびひろ動物園), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☏ , fax: . Apr 28-Nov 4.
- Obihiro Wild Flower Garden (帯広市野草園), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☏ . May-Oct.
- 6 Obihiro Shimin Bunka Hall (帯広市民文化ホール), Nishi 5, Minami 11 (5 minutes on foot from JR Obihiro Station.), ☏ . This is a common venue for concerts and recitals.
Obihiro is located close to the Hidaka and Daisetsuzan mountains. There are an impressive range of facilities for outdoor activities: mountain trekking, horse riding, white-water rafting, kayaking, swimming, tennis, 'park golf' etc. during the summer, and skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing and skating etc. during the winter.
- Ice Festival (氷まつり, kōri matsuri). Late Jan. Festival with ice sculptures.
- Heigen Festival (平原まつり, heigen matsuri). Mid Aug. Bon Dance festival.
- Chrysanthemum Festival (菊まつり, kiku matsuri). Early Nov.
- 1 Fujimaru (藤丸), Nishi 2, Minami 8-1, ☏ . 10:00-19:00. Nine floor department store in the centre of the city. Food on the basement floor.
- Hokkaido Chizu (北海道地図), 5th floor Sompo Japan Building, Higashi 1, Minami 10-21, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00. This is the place to buy trekking maps of Hokkaido at scales of 1:25,000 and 1:50,000.
- 1 Sushi Masa (寿司正), Nishi 2, Minami 19, ☏ . Traditional sushi restaurant with a quiet atmosphere.
- 2 [dead link] Panchō (ぱんちょう), Nishi 1, Minami 11, ☏ . 11:00 - 19:00. The restraurant is Tokachi style Pork Bowl originated. Many guests, it may ofen matrix. ¥ 850 - 1250.
- Tatsumi-zushi (辰巳寿司), Nishi 1, Minami 7, ☏ . Quality sushi in an unpretentious restaurant.
- Umi-e (海へ), Alta 2F, Nishi 1, Minami 9-17-2. A seafood izakaya in the city centre. Large menu.
- 3 Matsuhisaen (松久園), Bisei 1-20, Memuro-cho (30 minutes by car from Obihiro.), ☏ . Historic trout farm, restaurant and garden.
- The Soup, Nishi 3, Minami 11-1, ☏ . Serves Hokkaido soup curry.
- 4 Michinro (美珍楼西家), Nishi 19, Minami 2-25-9, ☏ . This restaurant, whose Chinese name is Meizhenlou Xijia, serves straightforward Cantonese food. It has a large menu with reasonably-sized portions.
- [formerly dead link] L'Orange (オランジュ), Nishi 3, Minami 9-2, ☏ . A French restaurant.
- Chez Maeda (シェ・マエダ), Nishi 2, Minami 10-2, ☏ . A French restaurant.
- Le Bordeaux (ル・ボルドー), 17-9 Nishi 16, Minami 5, ☏ . 11:30-14:30, 17:30-21:30. A French restaurant.
- [dead link] Osteria Alpesca (オステリア アルペスカ), Nishi 1, Minami 12-2-7, ☏ . An Italian restaurant.
- 5 Pennylane (ペニーレーン), Nishi 21, Minami 5, ☏ . Serves mainly pasta and has good bread.
- Byplane (バイプレーン), Nishi 1, Minami 11 (In Fukui Hotel.), ☏ . Serves seafood, pasta, and vegetarian food — and also good cheese.
- 6 Rokkatei (六花亭), Nishi 2, Minami 9-6.. The main branch of a nationally famous confectionery company, that is also an important patron of the arts (see Nakasatsunai Bijutsumura above).
- 7 Ryugetsu (柳月), Ōdōri, Minami 8-15, ☏ , toll-free: 0120 669 669 (non-geographic number). Rivals to Rokkatei.
- 8 Uetliberg (ユトリベルグ), Nishi 17, Minami 4-15-7, ☏ , toll-free: 0120 01 3470 (non-geographic number). 09:30 to 19:30. Flying the Swiss flag, this cake shop specializes in purin, the Japanese custard pudding.
- Cranberry (クランベリ), Nishi 2, Minami 6, ☏ .
- Asahiya (あさひや), Nishi 19, Minami 4-24-3, ☏ .
- Akutsu (あくつ), Honmachi 3-9, Taisho,, ☏ .
- [formerly dead link] Tokachi Beer (十勝ビール), Nishi 1, Minami 9-6 (In the center of the city.), ☏ . Not to be confused with the Tokachi Brewery (below), this microbrewery and restaurant is notable for its pizzas and giant tropical plants.
- Rancho El Paso (エルパソ), Nishi 16-13-20, Minami 6 (Near Midorigaoka Park.), ☏ . Restaurant specializing in sausages, ham and bacon.
- The Galway, Nishi 2, Minami 10-20-5, ☏ . Irish pub with Guinness and Kilkenny.
- 1 Poroshiri Nature Park Campsites (ポロシリ自然公園), Dai 2 Kisen 2-7, Takuseicho (Near Tokachi Obihiro airport, south of Obihiro.), ☏ . Open Jun-Sep. Site with electric ¥3000, site without electric ¥1800, Open site ¥800.
- 2 [dead link] Toipirka Youth Hostel (トイピルカ北帯広YH), Higashi 52-8, Kita 4, Shimo-Shihoro, Otofuke, ☏ . Located outside the city, near Tokachigawa Onsen. YH members ¥3200, non-members ¥4200.
- [dead link] Hot Spring Hotel Boston, Nishi 1, Minami 3-15 (Near Ōdōri Bridge.), ☏ , fax: . Single ¥4500, twin ¥8400.
- Tokachi Gardens Hotel, Nishi 2, Minami 11-6, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥8400, double ¥14,700.
- Obihiro Washington Hotel (帯広ワシントンホテル), Nishi 1, Minami 12-8, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥7140, double ¥12,705.
- Hotel Paco Obihiro, Nishi 1, Minami 11, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥7000, double ¥9000.
- Obihiro Tokyu Inn (帯広東急イン), Nishi 1, Minami 11-2, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥6825, double ¥12,600.
- Fukui Hotel (ふく井ホテル), Nishi 1, Minami 11, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥5900, double ¥9500.
- Toyoko Inn (東横イン), Nishi 4, Minami 11-4, ☏ . Single ¥5800, double ¥7800.
- Hotel Route Inn (ホテルルートイン), Nishi 3, Minami 11-8, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥5400, double ¥9450.
- Obihiro Grand Hotel, Nishi 2, Minami 3-20, ☏ , fax: . Single ¥5250, twin ¥9450.
- Tokachi Tourist Information (Esta Shopping Mall, JR Obihiro Station.). Information mainly in Japanese, but they have a number of pamphlets and maps in English.
- 3 Obihiro City Library (帯広市図書館), Nishi 2, Minami 14-3-1 (Next to JR Obihiro Station.), ☏ . Obihiro's main library has English newspapers. Internet is available, too.
- International and Domestic Relations Department (帯広市 親善交流課), 3rd Floor, Obihiro City Hall, Nishi 5, Minami 7-1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Information in English for foreign residents.
- Tokachi International Relations Center (森の交流館・十勝), Nishi 20, Minami 6, ☏ . Library and resource center. Run by the International and Domestic Relations Department (listed above).
|Routes through Obihiro|
|Takikawa ← Furano ←||W E||→ Kushiro → Nemuro|
|Chitose ← Shimukappu ←||W E||→ Honbetsu|