The Tokachi area, with Obihiro as its major city, is a wide plain that stretches out along the foot of the Hidaka Mountains. It is known as one of the first areas where settlers from the Japanese mainland moved to after the Meiji Restoration, establishing the area as a major agricultural hub. Specifically, it has become noteworthy for its dairy farming, which is still quite rare to see in Japan on a large-scale. This makes the plainland a quintessential Hokkaido experience, as swaths of farmland seemingly continue on endlessly. In this article, we will introduce numerous unique accommodations for you to truly get acquainted with the spectacular nature this area has to offer. One example is Tokachigawa Onsen, which is a moor hot spring and therefore quite rare in Japan. Compared to a regular hot spring, moor hot spring water features natural moisturizing ingredients that result in silky smooth skin and make for a special spa experience. On the other hand, a stay at the MEMU EARTH HOTEL is another memorable experience only to be had here. The hotel was converted from an experimental cold climate residential facility, and still maintains close ties with the local community. A night at this unique spot will definitely make you ponder about how we co-exist with nature around us.
MEMU EARTH HOTEL
Memu literally means “where the spring wells up” in the Ainu language, and this former experimental residential facility features numerous notable works of architecture designed by famous Japanese architects such as Kuma Kengo and Ito Toyo. The concept of these residences was to maintain co-existence with Hokkaido’s unique climate, and they have been built to withstand the area’s harsh winters. In 2018, it was converted into a hotel, with one character being the former stables, which now feature prominently as guestrooms. Furthermore, research on building sustainable communities is also being conducted on-site at the so-called “laboratory”, drawing attention from all over the world. Overall, there probably is no better way to truly connect with Hokkaido’s nature and culture than at this one-of-a-kind hotel.
158-1 Memu, Taiki, Hiroo-gun, Hokkaido
CAFE/BEER | HOTEL NUPKA
Located just 3 minutes away from Obihiro Station and right in the middle of the city’s core of famous eateries and bars, HOTEL NUPKA aims to work as a bridge to connect travelers to locals. To that end, the enclosed CAFE&BAR NUPKA only serves dishes using local ingredients, also featuring a varied selection of craft beers from the region. They even created their own beer, the “Tabi no Hajimari no Biru”, which literally translates to the “Beer to start your journey”. Fittingly, you can begin enjoying the beer at the bar starting as early as 7 AM. In addition to tours of the area, the hotel also holds numerous events where local residents gather as well, promoting exchange between them and hotel guests. Featuring a modern ambiance, the accommodations themselves range from hostel-style dormitories to single rooms.
20-3 W2 S10, Obihiro, Hokkaido
Spa Resort in the Forest – HOKKAIDO HOTEL
This hotel is a 5-minute drive from JR Obihiro Station, this hotel features a courtyard surrounded by nature, where many wild birds and squirrels live. It styles itself as a city resort hotel with a “mall-type” hot spring that is unique to Tokachi. The hotel serves up delicious food made from locally sourced ingredients and features a moor hot spring – everything you need for a true “Tokachi” experience. In addition, the sauna facility has become popular throughout Japan in recent years. It is known for its “Wall-ly” sauna, which combines a wall made from Tokachi White Birches with a Finnish-style “Loyly”, the steam that evaporates after pouring water on hot rocks.
1 W7 S19, Obihiro, Hokkaido
Moving Inn Bansei Grand Suite
Many people choose to experience Hokkaido’s vast nature by setting out on the open road with an RV or camper van. Tokachi’s “Moving Inn” has taken this concept and added a luxurious spin, featuring numerous customized camper vans. One of their slightly less moveable offerings is the opulent Bansei Grand Suite, which features rustic log-house style and a sauna. In the winter, they also offer “Sauna Trailers”, allowing you to experience a Scandinavian sauna staple – jumping into a freezing cold lake after sweating it up in the trailer.
2-3 Bansei, Taiki, Hiroo-gun, Hokkaido
Kangetsuen at Tokachigawa Onsen
At Kangetsuen, you can experience the regionally famous moor hot spring, a type of botanical hot spring that contains plant-derived organic substances that naturally moisturize your skin, delivering an almost therapeutic bath. The guestrooms feature private hot springs typical for Japanese-style inns, as well as a full-service Finnish-style sauna.
2 S14, Tokachigawaonsen, Otofuke, Kato-gun, Hokkaido
Daiichi Hotel at Tokachigawa Onsen: Hosyu-tei & Toyo-tei
Hearing the gentle trickling of the Tokachi River while gazing out at the Hidaka Mountains in the background, the Daiichi Hotel boasts spectacular natural scenery. There are two facilities: the Hosyu-tei with luxurious rooms featuring a fireplace and other amenities, and the Toyo-tei, which has a kid’s room and offers more family-oriented services. While the outdoor hot spring takes advantage of the gorgeous natural environment, the hotel also features the therapeutic moor hot spring.
S12, Tokachigawaonsen, Otofuke, Kato-gun, Hokkaido
Snow Peak Tokachi Poroshiri Camping Ground
Owned and operated by Snow Peak, a Japanese outdoor brand popular around the world, this huge campground spans more than 35 kilometers and is located on the foothills of the Hidaka Mountains at Tokachiporoshiridake. Its amenities include a regular camping ground, a ground for RVs and camper vans (featuring electricity), and even a park golf field. In case you don’t have camping gear at hand, you can rent it on-site, choosing from a selection of Snow Peak’s products. In the winter, additional campsites open, though these do not have electricity. When exactly these additional facilities are opened depends on the snow conditions, so be sure to check beforehand.
Dai 2 Kisen-2-7 Takuseicho, Obihiro, Hokkaido