10 Things to Do in Nakatombetsu

10 Things to Do Nakatombetsu

Nakatombetsu (中頓別町) is a town in the Soya Subprefecture of Hokkaido, Japan. Originally, the area near the mouth of the Tombetsu River was called 'Tombetsu' after the name of the river. The name comes from the Ainu language "to-un-pet" (lake, river). It is said that this originates from the fact that the water of Lake Kutcharo flows into the river through the Kutcharo River, a tributary at the mouth of the river. The kanji used for the word naka (
) means inside or middle.

For those planning to visit this northern town to check what it has to offer, here are the 10 Things to Do in Nakatombetsu:

Nakatombetsu manhole cover

1. Take a picture of the unique manhole cover of Nakatombetsu. So far, I have seen 1 unique manhole cover. It is common and can be seen around Nakatombetsu town proper.

Site of Nakatonbetsu Station

2. Visit the Site of Nakatonbetsu Station. It’s now a bus terminal but the train station building is well preserved and has several memorabilia on display on the 2nd floor. Outside the station, you will see a Kiha 22 on display.

Nakatombetsu Shrine

3. Visit the Nakatombetsu Shrine. You can pay your respects and offer prayers here any time of the day. I'm not sure about getting a goshuin here as it looks like it was unmanned when I visited. 

Nakatombetsu Roadside Station / Roadside Rest Area "Pinneshiri”

4. Visit the Nakatombetsu Roadside Station / Roadside Rest Area "Pinneshiri” and buy products that are produced or made in the town. You can also get the roadside station stamp here for the Hokkaido Stamp rally booklet.

Pinneshiri Onsen Hotel Bougakuso

5. Take a dip at the onsen of Pinneshiri Onsen Hotel Bougakuso. They accept day trip bathers and the price is very affordable.

Kotobuki Ski Area

6. Enjoy skiing at Kotobuki Ski Area. There are courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers. The view from the top of the ski area is also very scenic. 

Kotobuki Park

7. Visit Kotobuki Park and see the preserved 9600 steam locomotive and F104 jet fighter on display. You can also play golf at the park golf course.

Pinneshiri Auto Camping Ground

8. Pitch a tent and camp overnight at the Pinneshiri Auto Camping Ground. It costs 300 yen per person. You can camp here if you want to start your hike to Mt. Pinneshiri early.

Mt. Pinneshiri

9. Hike Mt. Pinneshiri. It’s a 703m high mountain that can be hiked in just around 2 hours. On a clear day, it has a picturesque view of the Sea of Okhotsk, Sakhalin, Mt. Rishiri, and the Sea of Japan. You can also see the Miyoshi Shrine at the peak.

Nakatombetsu Limestone Nature Park

10. Visit and explore the Nakatombetsu Limestone Nature Park. It is one of the most beautiful caves in Hokkaido.

I hope my list of the 10 Things to Do in Nakatombetsu gave you an idea and inspiration to visit this scenic town in the future.



Read more:

Japan Diaries 4: Summary


  1. It's another informative article Neil. Thanks.

  2. Never heard of this town but I'd definitely consider going now that I know what to do here.

    1. That sounds great! I hope you enjoy exploring Nakatombetsu.


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