Obihiro

Obihiro (帯広) is the capital - and only city - of Tokachi Subprefecture, a major agricultural area.

Reaching out: sculpture in front of Obihiro Station
Reaching out: sculpture in front of Obihiro Station

Contents

Population

In 2006, the population was 171,153 and the city occupied an area of 619 km². Based on these figures it is the sixth-largest city on Hokkaidō, however the city boundaries do not encompass all of the conurbation and a large swathe of countryside is included - going all the way southwest to Mount Pipairo (1,917 metres) on the central ridge of the Hidaka Mountains. If the adjacent urban areas of Otofuke, Memuro and Makubetsu were included, the population would be at least 200,000 to 220,000 and Obihiro would be the fourth-largest city in Hokkaidō.

Topography

The city as a whole is large and spread out, though (relatively) easy to navigate. It is laid out on a grid (similar to the one in Sapporo) and intersections are signed in both Japanese and English (e.g. West 1 South 10 etc.). The north-south axis (which lies close to the city centre) is called Ōdōri. Most of the city lies in the south western quadrant.

Obihiro intersection
Obihiro intersection

Two main features lie diagonal to the grid: the railway line with the main JR station and Midorigaoka Park, a (slightly elevated) green hill in a basically flat city where some of the main attractions (the museum, zoo etc.) are located. The commercial centre of Obihiro, which is located between the JR Obihiro Station and Fujimaru Department Store, is small and walkable, though most of the larger drive-in shopping areas are outside the centre.

Architecturally unremarkable except for a few grandiose kitsch pachinko (pin ball) palaces and bridal parlors, it appears at first sight a city of car dealers and cake shops, but with a feeling of prosperity not shared by some other smaller Hokkaido cities.

History

Obihiro was founded by settlers from Honshu in 1883. (See also the History of Tokachi). It was designated as a city in 1933. In 1957 the outlying villages of Kawanishi and Taishō were joined to Obihiro, extending the city out to the southwest as far as the main ridge of the Hidaka Mountain range.

Places of interest

Sign to Glücks Königreich
Sign to Glücks Königreich
Kawahara House
Kawahara House
Obihiro Shrine
Obihiro Shrine

Festivals

Outdoor activities and sports

Obihiro is located close to the Hidaka and Daisetsuzan mountains. There are a 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.

Classical frieze on the pediment of the White Palace (Gotham City) apartment block and pachinko parlor
Classical frieze on the pediment of the White Palace (Gotham City) apartment block and pachinko parlor

Cinemas, theatres, concert halls and galleries

Shops

Nude Lamp used clothing
Nude Lamp used clothing

Places to eat and drink

See Obihiro restaurants and other places to eat and drink

Hotels and other accommodation

See Obihiro hotels and other accommodation

Onsen (hot spring baths)

Tokachi is seismically active so there are many hot springs, occurring naturally and also man-made (bored). Almost all onsen (温泉) in Obihiro will have a mōru bath. This type, which apparently doesn't occur elsewhere in Japan, contains traces of organic material from peat bogs. (The word mōru is a loan word from the German (das Moor) for bog.) Onsen in Obihiro include:

Neighbourhood onsen

Hot spring baths are also available in many hotels.

Freestanding Corinthian columns in front of the neo-classical BellClassic bridal parlour
Freestanding Corinthian columns in front of the neo-classical BellClassic bridal parlour

Transport

Air

See Tokachi-Obihiro Airport

Rail

JR Obihiro Station ☎ 0155 23 8176. Obihiro is on the main JR Nemuro line from Sapporo to Kushiro. There are trains to Sapporo (207 km, 2:15 hours), Asahikawa (183 km, 3:30 hours), Hakodate (461 km, 6:30 hours), and Kushiro (120 km, 1:45 hours).

In addition to Obihiro itself, there are also JR Nemuro line stations at Nishi-Obihiro (西帯広) and Hakurindai (柏林台).

Bus

Long distance buses from Obihiro to Sapporo and other cities are operated by various bus companies (Chuo Bus ☎ 011 231 0600, Obihiro Station Bus ☎ 0155 23 3489, Chuo Bus Oyachi ☎ 011 891 6388). Buses leave from in front of the JR Obihiro Station.

Local buses are available though services are less frequent than on the more densely populated island of Honshu.

Car

A car is an ideal means of travel in a part of Japan where all the main attractions are outside the cities [26]. 'Rentacar' companies are represented at Tokachi Obihiro airport: Toyota ☎ 0155 64 5210, Nippon ☎ 0155 64 5065, Nissan ☎ 0155 64 5323, Mazda ☎ 0155 64 5600, Orix ☎ 0155 64 5543.

Information

Media

Internet access

Five of these are in branches of McDonalds (four of them inside large supermarkets and shopping centres):
  • Itō Yokadō (イトーヨーカドー) Nishi 10-1, Minami ☎ 0155 49 2351 [38]
  • Nagasakiya (長崎屋) Nishi 4, Minami 12-3, ☎ 0155 22 1271 [39]
  • Pōsful (ポスフール) Nishi 5, Minami 20-1, ☎ 0155 28 2051 [40]
  • Minamino Shopping Town (みなみ野ショッピングタウン) Higashi 1-1-5, Minami no Mori, ☎ 0155 49 3638 [41]
  • McDonald's (Hakurindai) (柏林台) Nishi 18, Minami 3-27-36, ☎ 0155 33 8933 [42]
In addition the lobby of the Obihiro Tokyu Inn (東急イン Nishi 1, Minami 11-2 ☎ 0155 27 0109) has a Yahoo BB mobile point [43].

Hospitals and clinics

See Obihiro hospitals and clinics

Local government and other organizations

City Hall Nishi 5, Minami 7-1, Obihiro-shi 080-8670 ☎ 0155 24 4111 Official website

Obihiro has three 'sister cities': Seward in Alaska (USA), Madison in Wisconsin (USA), and Chaoyang in Liaoning (People's Republic of China).

Civil Aviation College, Obihiro Campus (航空大学校, 帯広分校) Naka 8-29, Nishi 9, Izumimachi, tel 0155 64 5671 [45]. Pilot training school located next to Tokachi-Obihiro Airport.

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 5th Brigade (陸上自衛隊 Rikujō Jieitai)

JICA Obihiro International Centre Nishi 20-1-2 Minami 6, ☎ 0155 35 1210 [46]. Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (帯広畜産大学 Obihiro Chikusan Daigaku) Inada-cho, ☎ 0155 49 5216 English page

Sources

External links

Obihiro and the districts, towns and villages of Tokachi Subprefecture

Obihiro City  Ashoro District: Ashoro • Rikubetsu  Hiroo District: Hiroo • Taiki  Kamikawa District: Shimizu • Shintoku  Kasai District: Memuro • Nakasatsunai • Sarabetsu  Katō District: Kamishihoro • Otofuke • Shihoro • Shikaoi  Nakagawa District: Honbetsu • Ikeda • Makubetsu • Toyokoro  Tokachi District: Urahoro