Bihoro Pass and Highway 243
Bihoro (美幌, ) is an insufferably obscure farming town in northern Hokkaido, Japan.
Bihoro is a 20-minute bus ride away from Memanbetsu Airport (¥340).
Bihoro is on the JR Sekihoku Line (石北本線) from Asahikawa to Abashiri.
The Okhotsk limited express runs to Bihoro from Sapporo in about 5 hours at a cost of ¥9430.
Bihoro is a major road junction and highways lead from here to Abashiri on the northern coast, to Teshikaga (Akan National Park) and to Asahikawa and Sounkyo Onsen (Daisetsuzan National Park). Buses run along most roads but only very intermittently.
- Bihoro Pass (美幌峠 Bihoro-tōge), (On Highway 243 between Bihoro and [[Teshikaga]].). This is Bihoro's sole claim to fame, affording views over Lake Kussharo in the nearby Akan National Park. The pass was also canonized in the eponymous enka (Japanese folk song), which now plays on repeat in the small service area near the pass.
- Bihoro Agricultural Museum (星美幌農業館 Bihoro-nōgyōkan), . 9AM-5PM daily. With exhibits like "Modern Agricultural Machines" and "Let's Play With BIBOT", this is best reserved for those really rainy days. ¥300.
- Tōge-no-Yu Bihoro (峠の湯びほろ), . The inevitable hot spring, but a fairly modern and pleasant operation — and yes, that does mean "Pass Hot Water Bihoro". Entry ¥500, entry and shuttle ¥900.
Bihoro's speciality is kumazasa-cha (熊笹茶), a type of herbal tea made from the kumazasa (lit. "bear grass") leaf that grows abundantly in this harsh climate. Steeply priced at ¥840 per bag, but worth a try.
- Gurutto Panorama Bihoro (ぐるっとパノラマ美幌峠). The fancy name of the highway service area at Bihoro Pass ... but in addition to the souvenir and fried-everything-on-a-stick vendors downstairs, there's a decent restaurant upstairs which serves kumazasa tea along with your meal.
- Minshuku Tarō-an (民宿太郎庵), (Right across the street from the JR station), ☎ +81 01527-3-4310. A tiny minshuku (capacity 7 people). Room with 2 meals ¥5000.
- Bihoro Youth Hostel (美幌ユースホステル), ☎ +81 01527-3-2560, . Inconveniently located even by Bihoro standards, over 2 kilometers on foot south from the train station. HI members ¥2940.
The small tourism office in the train station will be overjoyed at seeing an actual tourist. They can also book accommodation for you.
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