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Eastern Circuit

From Wikitravel
East Asia : Japan : Hokkaido : Eastern Circuit
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Twisted trees near Lake Mashuko, Akan National Park

The Eastern Circuit (道東 Dōtō) covers the eastern half of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.


The Eastern Circuit is composed of the following four subprefectures:


  • Abashiri - fishing town famous for drift ice and infamous for its prison
  • Bihoro - gateway to the Akan National Park
  • Kitami - the onion capital of Japan
  • Kushiro - the largest city in the Circuit with 200,000 people
  • Obihiro - the main city in the Tokachi Plain, a large agricultural area
  • Nemuro - at the easternmost tip of Hokkaido

Other destinations[edit]

  • Akan National Park - known for the crystalline mountain lakes of Akan, Kussharo and Mashu
  • Daisetsuzan National Park - Japan's largest national park named after its "Great Snowy Mountains"
  • Shiretoko National Park - the most inaccessible and least explored of Japan's national parks
  • Shari - gateway to Shiretoko National Park and home of onsen village Utoro


The most sparsely populated region in all Japan, this vast area is nearly 40,000 km² in size. While the easternmost part is largely flat, rural and filled with endless cow pastures, much of the circuit is ringed with mountains.

Get in[edit]

Kushiro and Memanbetsu (near Abashiri) have regional airports.

Get around[edit]

Here, if anywhere in Japan, a rental car will come in handy. Train coverage is severely lacking (many lines have been terminated due to a lack of customers) and buses are infrequent, inconvenient and expensive.



Eastern Hokkaido has beautiful coastline, wonderful outdoor hot springs, and remote hiking. Some combination of these should make for a satisfying visit.


Hokkaido on the whole is good for seafood — if you're on the coast — and dairy, and the east is no exception. In central Hokkaido, near Asahikawa and Furano, there are a plethora of melon stands, though by foreign standards, Japanese melons are exceedingly expensive.


Get out[edit]

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