JR Obihiro Station is the main railway station and ground transport from Sapporo to the Tokachi Region and the city of Obihiro. The station itself is somewhat of an artistic station. In its basement, there is a citizen gallery displaying works from the citizens of Obihiro, which exhibits various displays such as stained glass art. There is also a hands-on workshop and community center where groups of locals often gather to work on crafts. The artistic vibe of the station is extended to its exterior, where sculptures and statues adorn the surroundings. There are bronze statues of a deer family and a beautiful modern installation of some towering hand sculptures.
There are also a great variety of shops inside the station. Some of these shops include a 100-yen shop, a classy kimono shop, and a multitude of souvenir shops from local crafts to foods. The 100-yen shop is definitely convenient in a train station for picking up an umbrella or some amenities. You can also choose to have lunch right inside the station. One great place to stop for the local specialty of butadon (pork and rice bowl) is the Butahage Obihiro Head Office of Butadon. This place is great for a train station lunch or dinner and offers several different sizes of the famous food. An alternative, just a 2-minute walk from the station, is the restaurant Banchou. Banchou is a local favorite that also serves Obihiro’s specialty food, butadon. The restaurant is pretty busy most times of the day, a clear indication of delicious food, and is a must-go if you are craving pork in Obihiro.
After shopping and eating, you will want to start your tour around Obihiro at the Tokachi Tourism Information & Products Center on the second level. Find brochures and ideas about destinations and activities in Obihiro and across the Tokachi Region. Staff members are on duty at all times and available to give advice and answer any pressing questions. You can also find information on the local style of horse-racing distinctive to Obihiro, Banei. The races are held near Obihiro station.
The bus terminal of Obihiro is located next to Obihiro station, which makes bus travel convenient for those without access to a rental car. We would recommend a rental car if possible though, as the bus routes are somewhat limited by location and time. If you have a car, you can also discover the famed sweets shops and farm restaurants in the area with ease. 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 are famous Hokkaido confectioneries, both of which have their main branches in Obihiro. My absolute recommendation would be the Taiyaki Kobo, which is freshly made from scratch. To get there, walk 10 minutes north-east of JR Obihiro Station.
If you want to experience a distinct Japanese style of dining, visit Obihiro’s Kita no Yatai, a comfortable 10 minute walk from Obihiro station. The Yatai area is a collection of small Izakaya restaurants that typically seat a maximum of 5 people and serve a variety of local foods and drinks.
Obihiro train station is serviced by two main lines: Super Ozora that runs from Sapporo to Kushiro and Super Tokachi, which runs from Sapporo to Obihiro. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Obihiro from Sapporo on the Super Ozora.