10 Things to Do in Utashinai City

10 Things to Do in Utashinai City

Utashinai (歌志内市) is a city in the Sorachi Subprefecture of Hokkaido, Japan. It is the smallest city in the country in terms of population. The city got its name when the railway was established in the region. It derived its name from the sound of the river coursing through the vicinity, referred to as "Otashinai".

For those planning to visit the town of Utashinai to check what it has to offer, here are the 10 Things to Do in Utashinai City:

Utashinai manhole covers
Utashinai manhole covers

1. Take a picture of the manhole covers of Utashinai. So far, I have seen 2 unique manhole covers. The first one is common around town. The colored manhole cover can be found along Route 691.

Utashinai Pokemon manhole cover

2. Check out the newly installed Utashinai Pokemon manhole cover at Utashinai Roadside Station. It features both Vulpix and its Alolan counterpart together with Joltik.

Former Sorachi Coal Mine Club (旧空知炭鉱倶楽部)

3. Visit the Former Sorachi Coal Mine Club (旧空知炭鉱倶楽部and learn about the heyday of Utashinai’s coal mining industry. However, you need to reserve in advance at the Folk Museum Yume Tsumugi (Phone: 0125-43-2131) at least one week before your desired date of visit.


4. Visit 
Myooji (明王寺) which is a splendid temple on top of a hill. Aside from admiring the beautiful temple buildings, you can also admire the panoramic view of the city from the temple grounds.

Utashinai Shrine

5. Visit the Utashinai Shrine (歌志内神社). You can pay your respects and offer prayers here any time of the day. However, the road going up to the shrine isn’t maintained well so you would have to have to go on foot. The entrance to the shrine is near the Utashinai Community Center.

Road Station Utashinai Tyrol (道の駅 うたしないチロルの湯)
Utashinai Roadside Station

6. Visit the Utashinai Roadside Station / Road Station Utashinai Tyrol (道の駅 うたしないチロルの湯) and buy locally-made products and souvenirs. Lastly, don’t forget the roadside station stamp if you’re collecting them.

7. Witness the Utashinai Namahage Festival held every 1st Sunday of February at the Utashinai City Community Center parking lot. A Namahage is a kind of demonlike ogre—who roam the region in winter looking for lazy or disobedient children. The spectacle of men dressed as namahage and parading around with large demon masks and full-body kimonos is a sight to behold particularly to disobedient children.

Tyrolean Hot Water 

8. Take a relaxing dip in the onsen of Tyrolean Hot Water (チロルの湯). You can stay overnight or avail of the day trip bath.

郷土館 ゆめつむぎ
Folk Museum Yume Tsumugi

9. Visit the Folk Museum Yume Tsumugi (郷土館 ゆめつむぎ) and learn about the history of the city.

Mt. Kamui / Kamuidake

10. Hike or drive up the peak of Mt. Kamui / Kamuidake (神威岳) early in the morning and witness the famed sea of clouds. If you miss the sea of clouds, you will still see a picturesque view of the vast lands below.

I hope my list of the 10 Things to Do in Utashinai City gave you an idea and inspiration to visit this city in central Hokkaido.


Read more:

Japan Diaries 4: Summary


  1. Thank you for another helpful list. I can't wait to read about Hakodate and Abashiri.

    1. Thank you! The articles are in the scheduled list already. =) However, it will take several more months before they published.


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