Noboribetsu, known as Hokkaido’s “onsen town”, is one of the most happening cities in Hokkaido, Japan. Beyond its soothing onsen retreats and natural wonders, this tranquil town in Japan boasts a unique blend of attractions that cater to every traveller’s taste. Get in touch with nature through calming hikes, or time travel back into the Edo period.

Where nature, culture, and adventure converge, these are the five best things to do in Noboribetsu. You can find a 2D1N Noboribetsu itinerary at the end of the article.

1. Noboribetsu Bear Park

“Sexy Pose” asking for more treats!

Where nature’s giants steal the show, Noboribetsu Bear Park is a wildlife haven that promises both heartwarming encounters and thrilling spectacles.

The main attraction is feeding the bears with snacks at just ¥300 per pack. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter one of their most popular bear, nicknamed “Sexy Pose”, which raises her hand to ask for more food.

At 11am and 3pm, the bears take center stage in the Bear Athletic Show, showcasing their agility and charm. Meanwhile, the Duck Race, a spirited competition that runs from 10am to 3:30 pm, adds an element of fun and excitement — yes, you can even place bets on the ducks!

As an added cultural gem, the Ainu village and Ainu museum await on the other end of the bear park, offering a deeper connection to Hokkaido’s indigenous heritage.

To reach Noboribetsu Bear Park, you can either pay an additional fee for the ropeway, or hike up for about ten minutes.

Noboribetsu Bear Park

Price: ¥2,800 per adult, ¥1,400 per child

Location: 224 Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan
Opening hours: 9am-5pm

2. Noboribetsu Rakunokan Dairy Farm

Al fresco dining area at Rakunokan Dairy Farm

Noboribetsu Rakunokan Dairy Farm is where all the magic happens. Whatever dairy desserts you see in the cafes and restaurants in Noboribetsu, is most likely exported from this very farm. 

This dairy haven boasts an impressive array of cheeses from as low as ¥900. Pair them with high-quality jamon ibérico, and finish your meal with their freshly-made pudding or cream puffs.

The best part? You have the choice to enjoy these dairy delights on-site in their charming al fresco dining area or take them back to your hotel for a midnight snack.

Noboribetsu Rakunokan Dairy Farm

Location: 73-3 Satsunaicho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0461, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-4pm

3. Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura

Step into the Edo period and unleash your hidden ninja!

In the heart of Noboribetsu, your ninja fantasies come to life at Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, an enchanting village that transports you straight to the Edo period, when ninjas and samurai reigned supreme.

As you wander through the cobbled streets, you’ll be mesmerised by the historic charm of merchant shops, authentic ninja houses, and majestic samurai residences. But the real fun begins when you decide to dress up. For ¥3,300 per person, you can transform into a maiko, samurai, or even a feudal lord, complete with the opportunity to capture these memorable moments with professional photos.

While there are plenty of picturesque corners for photo enthusiasts, the true highlights here are the captivating shows. Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura offers four distinct performances, ranging from side-splitting comedies to intense battles. Rest assured, these shows are anything but mediocre — they’re worth every yen spent.

With some strategic planning, you can explore the entire village and catch all four shows in just half a day.

Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura

Price: ¥3,300 per adult, ¥1,700 per child

Location: 53-1 Nakanoboribetsucho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0463, Japan
Opening hours: 9am-5pm

4. Jigokudani

The hell valley nearer to the main street

Translated as “Hell Valley” in English, Jigokudani lives up to its name with a landscape that seems plucked from another world.

This awe-inspiring destination derives its name from its otherworldly crater, adorned with sulfuric hot springs and volcanic steam plumes. Hiking paths offer a chance to explore the valley up close, with picturesque spots at every turn. Honestly, the closest crater to the mainland provides a sufficient view for many visitors. But for those with time and energy to spare, embarking on a 1-2 hour hike up the hill promises even more stunning perspectives.

If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, worry not. You can opt for a leisurely drive (there is also an alternate walking path) to the Oyunuma Natural Foot Bath, where you can immerse yourself in a relaxing public onsen experience. 

Jigokudani

Location: 無番地 Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan
Opening hours: 8am-6pm

5. Gokuraku Shopping Street

Chirashi-don from Onsen Ichiba

Noboribetsu isn’t all just natural and animals though. 

Amidst the natural wonders and wildlife encounters of Noboribetsu, there’s a bustling hub that adds a delightful twist to your visit — Gokuraku Shopping Street. 

As you stroll along this charming street, you’ll discover an array of shops that beckon with intriguing trinkets and enticing finds. However, after exploring a few shops, the shopping experience might start to feel repetitive, so be sure to keep an eye out for the cute demon statues to take photos with!

One hour is all the time you’ll need to explore the entire street. the most important thing is to fuel up here. For a delectable taste of Hokkaido’s culinary offerings, Onsen Ichiba beckons with affordable sashimi and grilled seafood. And for those with a sweet tooth, Sugi Bee is a must-visit, offering a wide selection of honey-based food products and desserts.

Noboribetsu itinerary

Day 1

  • Check into Noboribetsu Manseikaku or Noboribetsu Onsen Kyo Takinoya (one of the best hotels in Noboribetsu)
  • Afternoon tea at Noboribetsu Rakunokan Dairy Farm
  • Hike at Jigokudani
  • Dinner in hotel (most hotels in Hokkaido include dinner and breakfast)

Day 2

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura
  • Lunch at Gokuraku Shopping Street
  • Noboribetsu Bear Park

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