Founded by settlers from Honshu in 1883, 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 are attracted to the dairy farms of the Tokachi Plain, 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.
Tokachi Obihiro Airport (とかち帯広空港), Naka 8-41, Nishi 9-sen, Izumi-cho (25 km south of Obihiro City.), ☎ +81 0155 64-4078, . 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 0155 64-5681.edit
JR Obihiro Station, ☎ +81 0155 23-8176. Obihiro is on the main JR Nemuro Line between Sapporo and 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).edit
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.
Obihiro Racecourse (帯広競馬場), Nishi 13, Minami 9, ☎ +81 0155 34-0825, . 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 metre 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!edit
Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art (北海道立帯広美術館), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☎ +81 0155 22-6963 (fax: +81 0155 22-4233), . edit
Obihiro Centennial Memorial Hall (帯広百年記念館), Midorigaoka-koen, Midorigaoka 2, ☎ +81 0155 24-6963, . City historical and natural history museum.edit
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.
Michinro (美珍楼西家), Nishi 19, Minami 2-25-9, ☎ +81 0155 33-0030. This restaurant, whose Chinese name is Meizhenlou Xijia, serves straightforward Cantonese food. It has a large menu with reasonably-sized portions.edit
L'Orange (オランジュ), Nishi 3, Minami 9-2, ☎ +81 0155 67-7878, . A French restaurant.edit
Chez Maeda (シェ・マエダ), Nishi 2, Minami 10-2, ☎ +81 0155 27-6206. A French restaurant.edit
Le Bordeaux (ル・ボルドー), . A French restaurant.edit
Osteria Alpesca (オステリアアルペスカ), Nishi 1, Minami 12-2-7, ☎ +81 0155 28-5663, . An Italian restaurant.edit
Pennylane (ペニーレーン), Nishi 21, Minami 5, ☎ +81 0155 36-2300, . Serves mainly pasta and has good bread.edit
Byplane (バイプレーン), Nishi 1, Minami 11 (In Fukui Hotel.), ☎ +81 0155 25-1717, . Serves seafood, pasta, and vegetarian food — and also good cheese.edit
Tokachi Beer (十勝ビール), Nishi 1, Minami 9-6 (In the center of the city.), ☎ +81 0155 26-4141, . Not to be confused with the Tokachi Brewery (below), this microbrewery and restaurant is notable for its pizzas and giant tropical plants.edit
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.), ☎ +81 0155 60-2000, . Open Jun-Sep.Site with electric ¥2500, site without electric ¥1500. edit
Toipirka Youth Hostel (トイピルカ北帯広YH), Higashi 52-8, Kita 4, Shimo-Shihoro, Otofuke, ☎ +81 0155 30-4165, . Located outside the city, near Tokachigawa Onsen.YH members ¥3200, non-members ¥4200. edit
Hot Spring Hotel Boston, Nishi 1, Minami 3-15 (Near Ōdōri Bridge.), ☎ +81 0155 23-7015 (fax: +81 0155 21-3555), . Single ¥4500, twin ¥8400. edit
Tokachi International Relations Center (森の交流館・十勝), Nishi 20, Minami 6, ☎ +81 0155 34-0122, . Library and resource center. Run by the International and Domestic Relations Department (listed above).edit
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