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  • Taushubetsu River Bridge
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  • Mikuni Pass with glowing autumn foliage
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  • Nukabira Gensenkyo Hot Spring
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  • Ojirowashi (white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla albicilla)) on an ice mushroom
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  • Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area
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  • National Nukabira Campground
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  • Kamishihoro Balloon Festival
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Nukabira Recreation Forest


Elevation Lowest : 525m / Average : 550―650m / Highest : 1,180m

Nukabira Gensenkyo, a hot spring resort for comfort and healing

Nukabira Gensenkyo, a hot spring resort for comfort and healing

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
Autumn leaf viewing (Includes surrounding area) Birdwatching (Includes surrounding area) : Higashiaisetu Nature Center (Payment required) Picnics (lawn area/park) (Includes surrounding area) Mountain climbing (Includes surrounding area) Paddling / fishing / boating (pond / lake / river) (Outside the forest) Bicycle rental (Outside the forest) Guided tours (Outside the forest) : Higashitaisetsu Nature Guide Center (Culture Hall) (Payment required) Hands-on woodworking experience (Outside the forest) : Higashiaisetu Nature Center (Payment required) Hot Spring (Outside the forest) 9 hot spring inns in Nukabira Gensenkyo Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area (no. of trails: 7) Nature trails (Multilingual signs or pamphlets available (without advance request)) Higashi Taisetsu Highland Railway / Forest Torokko Railway "Ecorail" (Outside the forest) Old National Railway Shihoro Line (Outside the forest)
Geographical/topographical features
The Nukabira Recreation Forest is located in a high mountain area with an elevation of about 550 m with Mt. Nipesotsu and other Daisetsu Mountains rising toward the north. It forms a part of the magnificent forests within Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest national park in Japan. The Recreation Forest receives a large number of visitors from all over Japan due to the variety of activities it offers, including fishing, trekking, skiing, a therapeutic walk in the forest and hot spring bathing for recuperation.
Historical/cultural features
The name "Nukabira" is derived from "noka-pira," which means a cliff with a sculpture in the language of the Ainu people. Mr. Takami Shima discovered a hot spring in the virgin forest in 1919, and it began to be developed as a therapeutic hot spring resort.
Concrete arch bridges from the disused old National Railway Shihoro Line are designated as Hokkaido Heritage structures and Registered Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan, and are one of Hokkaido’s most famous sightseeing spots.
Climate, flora and fauna
In winter, the temperature falls below -20°C, and the temperature varies by about 60°C throughout the year. In this severe natural environment, diverse wildlife live in this area, including animals such as Higuma (Ezo brown bears (Ursus arctos)), Ezoshika (Yezo shika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis), and Kitakitsune (Ezo red fox (Vulpes vulpes schrencki)), and birds such as Kumagera (black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)) and Shimafukuro (Blakiston's fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni blakistoni)).
One of the most distinctive and appealing features of Nukabira Gensenkyo is that almost all accommodations there declare that they use the natural-flowing hot spring water without filtering or circulation. The hot spring water is also famous for making the skin soft and beautiful, and there are also places where you can enjoy footbaths.
Higashitaisetsu Nature Center: The center introduces the mountains in the Higashi-Taisetsu area and the diverse ecosystems by using graphic panels and stuffed specimens. You can also see about 5,000 insect specimens collected from the Daisetsuzan National Park and from around the world. (Admission free)
Higashi-Taisetsu Mountains: They are all beautiful mountains which are relatively easy for beginner and intermediate-level trekkers to attack and are also attractive for experienced trekkers.
Taushubetsu River Bridge: It is one of the arch bridges of the old National Railway Shihoro Line, which is a modern industrial heritage that passes on the history of reclamation of the Higashi-Taisetsu area. Since it can only be seen during limited seasons, it is called a "phantom bridge." Many tourists visit from around Japan every year to catch a glimpse of the mystical bridge. The observation tour provided by a local NPO guide center is very popular.
Torokko wooden cart tour using the track of the disused old National Railway Shihoro Line: You can enjoy a relaxing tour on a wooden cart while forest bathing. At the Kamishihoro Town Railroad Museum, you can touch upon the long history of the Shihoro Line by seeing construction photos, railroad maps, and movies of the trains when they were in operation.
National Nukabira Campground: This serene forest campsite is surrounded by Shirakaba (Japanese white birch (Betula platyphylla var. japonica Hara)). The murmur of the nearby river and the chirping of birds helps travelers wind down and relax. The campsite has garbage collection so you don’t have to worry about taking your garbage home with you.
Lake Nukabira: You can enjoy fishing for Nijimasu (rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)) and Yamame (masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou masou)). Fishing for wakasagi (Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)) on the frozen lake is a winter tradition.
The Nukabira Gensenkyo Ski Area is located within walking distance of the hot spring resort. Its excellent powder snow―reputedly some of Japan's best―attracts many skiers and snowboarders. Rental skis and snowboards are available.
It is also fun to cycle amid the magnificent natural splendor and brisk breezes of Daisetsuzan National Park. Rental bicycles are available. (Rental fees: 500 yen/day for a non-electric hybrid bike, and 3,000 yen/day for an electric hybrid bike)
Hokkaido Nature Trail "Higasi-Taisetsu No Michi" along the disused railroad bed of the old National Railway Shihoro Line: The trail follows an 8 km course between the Railroad Museum and Metoseppu and takes approximately 150 minutes one way. The route is relatively flat and is also enjoyable for trekking beginners. The arched bridges can be viewed while taking a therapeutic walk in the forest and visitors can almost slip back in time to the days when the trains were running. (Visitors are recommended to carry bear bells, which are also sold at the Railroad Museum.)
Latest Information
Regular events
Nature classes at the Higashiaisetu Nature Center: Free nature observation sessions and lectures are provided every month.
Nature Center Festival (May and November): Fees are required if participating in workshops.
Mushi Mushi Week (Bug Week) (summer holiday period): A great opportunity for children and families to commune with nature through insects. The events offered throughout the week include a workshop to collect, observe and make a collection of insects (reservation and fee required), and an event to try light trapping of insects that are attracted to light sources during nighttime and to explore the Nature Center at night (reservation and fee not required).
Nukabira Lake Time Trial on Ice (late January)
Hokkaido Balloon Festival (early August)
Kamishihoro Winter Balloon Meeting (early February)
Warnings (Flora and fauna)
Ezo Brown bears: Higuma (brown bears (Ursus arctos)) may be present during the period from May to November. When entering the forest, please carry a bear bell and stay in a group. Check for local information on bear sightings and warnings and follow instructions.
Ticks: Please note that ticks are present in bamboo grass areas. Wearing long sleeves and long trousers is essential.
Warnings (Dangerous areas)
Lake Nukabira: It is dangerous to cross the frozen lake during the thaw in spring.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free of charge
Opening seasons and hours
Accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Staffed facilities such as administration buildings
Higashiaisetu Nature Center: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (8 a.m.–6 p.m. in July and August), closed on Wednesdays and the New Year's holiday period
Accommodation options
[Inside the forest] National Nukabira Campground (late June through late September)
[Outside the forest] 9 hot spring inns in Nukabira Gensenkyo located adjacent to the Recreation Forest
Toilets and drinking fountains (Includes surrounding area) Toilet (accessible) (Outside the forest) Walking trail / nature trail (Includes surrounding area) Hokkaido Nature Trail "Higasi-Taisetsu No Michi" Parking lot (Includes surrounding area) Taushubetsu Observation Platform (Outside the forest) Visitor center (staffed only) : Higashiaisetu Nature Center (Outside the forest) Vending machine (Includes surrounding area) Shop (Includes surrounding area) Restaurant (Includes surrounding area) Campsite (Includes surrounding area) : National Nukabira Campground (Payment required) Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) (Outside the forest) Higashiaisetu Nature Center (Payment required) (Outside the forest) Railroad Museum (Payment required) (Outside the forest) Cultural asset (nationally designated) (Outside the forest) : Concrete arch bridges Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns)
Nukabira Gensenkyo, Kamisihoro Town, Kato County, Hokkaido Prefecture
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Adjacent to the Nukabira Eigyosho bus stop (Tokachi Bus)
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Obihiro Station (Tokachi Bus: about 100 minutes) → get off at the Nukabira Eigyosho bus stop (*)
  • Tokachi-Obihiro Airport → (Connecting bus to Obihiro city: about 40 minutes) → Obihiro Station (*)
  • Sapporo Station → Ltd. Exp. Super Ozora or Ltd. Exp. Super Tokachi: about 150 minutes) → Obihiro Station (*)
  • Sapporo Station → ([Intercity Express Bus] Potato Liner(reservation required): about 210 minutes) → Obihiro Station (*)
  • New Chitose Airport Terminal → ([Intercity Express Bus] Tokachi Milk Liner(reservation required): about 150 minutes) → Obihiro Station (*)
  • * Obihiro Station (Tokachi Bus: about 100 minutes) → get off at the Nukabira Eigyosho bus stop (*)
By car
  • New Chitose Airport Terminal (Doto Expressway (Otofuke-Obihiro IC): about 120 minutes) → public road (60 minutes) → Nukabira Recreation Forest
  • Asahikawa Airport → (public road: about 165 minutes) → Nukabira Recreation Forest
  • Sapporo Station → (Hokkaido Expressway (Sapporo-Minami IC): about 150 minutes) → Doto Expressway (Otofuke-Obihiro IC) → (public road: about 60 minutes) → Nukabira Recreation Forest
  • Obihiro Station → (public road: about 70 minutes) → Nukabira Recreation Forest
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Free parking for approximately 100 vehicles

Nearby tourist facilities
  • Higashi Taisetsu arch bridges: About 10 minutes by car
  • Higashitaisetsu Nature Center: 3 minutes on foot
  • Naitai Highland Ranch: About 40 minutes by car. The Naitai Highland Ranch is a public cattle ranch that boasts the largest area of any cattle ranch in Japan. About 2,000 cows are pastured here in the summer. The observation platform, situated on a hill, affords a panoramic view of the Tokachi Plain and a first-hand appreciation for the vastness of Hokkaido. Hamburgers made from Kamishihoro Town's specialty, Tokachi Naitai Wagyu beef, and soft ice cream can be eaten at the restaurant. (Operating hours and season: 10am – 5pm from late April through late October)
  • Mikuni Pass: About 50 minutes by car. Mikuni Pass (1,139 m) is the highest elevation pass found anywhere on Hokkaido's national highways. Travelers can enjoy a panoramic view of an ocean of trees and the Higashi-Taisetsu Mountains. It is a popular scenic spot where the view changes with the seasons from fresh, green verdure, to brightly colored autumn leaves, and finally to a snowscape. The coffee shop at the top of the pass serves excellent hand-drip home-roasted coffee.
Management office contact details
Higashi Taisetsu Branch Office, Tokachi Seibu District Forest Office
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
Higashiaisetu Nature Center [External link]
Higashitaisetsu Nature Guide Center [External link]
Higashi Taisetsu Arch Bridge Association [External link]
Official Tourist Information
Kamshiroho Tourist Association [External link]
Tokachi Bus [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Nukabira Recreation Forest Management Committee
Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Group, Kamishihoro Municipal Office

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