Tourist Information for the Winter Months in Tsubetsu, Hokkaido
The tourism promotional video produced by the Tsubetsu's tourism board, "Welcome to Winter in Tsubetsu!"（いらっしゃい津別！冬（津別町観光ＰＲビデオ)), captures the beauty of the wild winter wonderland at its best.
Tsubetsu is adjacent to Akan Mashu National Park located in the east inland of Hokkaido prefecture.
Tsubetsu Outlook is a popular viewpoint overlooking Kussharo Lake during the summer months, but the road leading to the outlook is closed in winter.
However, there are some unique attractions in Tsubetsu during the winter.
Displayed in the video is a fantastic snow-covered world of minus 20 degree weather with frost-covered trees and wild animals - The harsh beauty of the Wild North.
How to Enjoy Tsubetsu's Magnificent Winter Wonderland
Tsubetsu is an hour drive from Memanbetsu Airport in Abashiri, and the city has no local train.
About 80% of its total municipal area is covered by forest, surrounding tourists with the vast landscape as soon as they arrive.
You may be wondering if there's anything to see there other than the silvery white plains during the bitter winter, but that same landscape is what makes the visit so worth your time!
The trees in the forest are covered with ice, and when the weather is nice they sparkle, creating a fantastic scene of glittering lights.
Popular winter activities in Tsubetsu include ice skating at the Tsubetsu Elementary School grounds or smelt fishing at Chimikeppu Lake.
You can see smelt fishing at 1:30 in the video.
Catching and cooking your very own smelt is a great way to enjoy the cold weather.
The subtitle that appears at 1:42 says how "The mountain has become an amusement park," and that's exactly what we see!
This amusement park offers a wide range of enjoyable experiences, such as eating fresh snow with condensed milk poured on it.
Dining in Tsubetsu
After spending some time in the magnificent snowscape, viewers are taken to Michi no Eki Aioi (Roadside Station Aioi) that sells healthy snacks using local vegetables. This can be seen at 2:02 in the video.
We recommend Kumayaki; it's a snack you can't find anywhere else.
Kumayaki is a type of Japanese confection with bear-shaped patties (Kuma means bear in Japanese) and a sweet red bean filling using local flour and locally grown adzuki beans.
There are four types of bear-shaped dorayaki (similar to Kumayaki) made of Hokkaido wheat and azuki beans, which are popular in Japan.
Local gourmet delicacies such as Tsubetsu Wagyu steak, a brand of beef from Tsubetsu, Hokkaido, which is said to be a rare Japanese wagyu beef, and extra-large kakiage soba noodles made with local vegetables are also worth trying.
And there is of course the renowned local dish of Hokkaido, Genghis Khan (a Japanese BBQ mutton dish), which is served at some restaurants in Tsubetsu.
Tourist Information for Tsubetsu
Lamp no Yado Mori Tsubetsu Hotel is a hotel that features an outdoor hot spring bath where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the snow.
In summer, tourists come from all over Japan to tour the spectacular sea of clouds from Tsubetsu Pass to Lake Kussharo.
"Non-no no Mori Nature Center" is a rare park in Japan that has been scientifically recognized as a "forest therapy base" for its healing properties.
The forest therapy guided tour or a walk on the hiking trail through the snow-covered forest will help you get reacquainted with nature.
Summary of Tsubetsu, Hokkaido
The natural beauty of Tsubetsu instills wanderlust in those who see it.
You get a sense that even in this harsh winter wonderland you can enjoy a fantastic experience in the great outdoors.
The harshness is exactly what makes it so beautiful.
Many festivals and events are lined up in Tsubetsu all throughout the year, such as the ceremony to open the Tsubetsu pass, the "Primrose Festival," "Tsubetsu Summer Festival," the "Tsubetsu Tanabata Festival" in July, the "Bon Dance Festival" in mid-August, and the "Tsubetsu Local Festival."
We recommended visiting Tsubetsu to see the events.
The detailed information of events and festivals is published on the city's official website.
The specialties of Tsubetsu include the traditional wooden crafts and Japanese black beef "Ryu-sui Gyu," which make great souvenirs.
I bet this video already has you packing your bags, doesn't it?
【Official Website】Tsubetsu Tourism Association