Upopoy (ウポポイ, "singing together" in Ainu language) is the foremost place in Japan to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. Located in Shiraoi City in Hokkaido, not far from Noboribetsu, the park consists of the National Ainu Museum and several other facilities to learn about and experience Ainu culture. It stands next to Lake Poroto.

The National Ainu Museum consists of a video theater and permanent exhibition explaining Ainu culture and traditional lifestyle. In addition, there are rotating special exhibitions. In the surrounding lakeside park there are also three buildings where dance and music performances are held and where visitors can partake in hands-on experiences related to Ainu cuisine, music and crafts. There are also several reconstructed Ainu houses that can be entered. Traditional ceremonies are performed there occasionally, and visitors can put on costumes.

Getting there and around

The museum is located in Shiraoi, a neighboring town of Noboribetsu. It is about 100 kilometers south of Sapporo on the main railway line that connects Sapporo with Hakodate. The museum is a 10-15 minute walk east from Shiraoi Station.

By train

The one way journey from Noboribetsu by local train takes about 25 minutes and costs 440 yen. There is a connection every 1-2 hours.

From Sapporo, most limited express in the direction of Muroran and Hakodate stop at Shiraoi. The one way journey from Sapporo takes just over an hour and costs about 3000 yen one way by limited express train or about two hours and 2100 yen if done by local trains.

By bus

Some highway buses between Sapporo (Sapporo Station) and Noboribetsu Onsen and between New Chitose Airport and Noboribetsu Onsen used to make a stop at Upopoy along their way; however most of them have been out of service since the coronavirus pandemic with the exception of a single daily bus between the airport, Upopoy and Noboribetsu Onsen (45 minutes, 850 yen one way between the airport and Upopoy).

Alternatively, local buses between Noboribetsu and Tomakomai stop at the Shiraoi Kotan-mae (白老コタン前) bus stop, a short walk from Upopoy, along their way. The one way trip from Noboribetsu Onsen takes 45 minutes and costs 720 yen. There are buses every 2-3 hours.

Hours and Fees




Hotels around Noboribetsu

Top rated in Noboribetsu
    • Kashoutei Hanaya
      Featuring natural hot-spring baths and fresh Japanese meals, Kashoutei Hanaya Ryokan offers spacious rooms overlooking the Oyunuma River. Relaxing massages and exciting horse-riding activities are on offer. Guests can choose a classically furnished Western room or a Japanese room with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon beds. Each room includes a satellite TV, an air humidifier/purifier and a private toilet. Bathing facilities are shared. Located in Hokkaido’s famous Noboribetsu hot springs area, the hotel is just a 5-minute walk from Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal. The ropeway (cable car) to Noboribetsu Bear Park is a 10-minute walk away, and Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura historical theme park is a 10-minute drive. The 24-hour reception provides luggage storage services, and free parking is offered.
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    • Ryotei Hanayura
      Situated in Noboribetsu and only 45 km from Lake Toya, Ryotei Hanayura features accommodation with mountain views, free WiFi and free private parking. This 4-star ryokan offers a lift and a housekeeping service. The ryokan has family rooms. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned units offering a desk, a coffee machine, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At the ryokan, all units are allergy-free. The ryokan offers a buffet or Asian breakfast. The ryokan is located in a geothermal area, with a number of hot springs nearby for guests to relax in. Higashi-muroran Station is 27 km from Ryotei Hanayura, while Muroran is 33 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 69 km from the accommodation.
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    • Takinoya Bekkan Tamanoyu
      Takinoya Bekkan Tamanoyu provides rooms with free WiFi in Noboribetsu, situated conveniently an 8-minute walk from Noboribetsu Jigokudani. The property is around 1.3 km from Noboribetsu Bear Park, 3.5 km from Noboribetsu Date Historic Village and 100 metres from Noboribetsu Onsen. The ryokan offers a hot spring bath and a 24-hour front desk. At the ryokan, each room includes a wardrobe. All rooms come with a shared bathroom with a hair dryer. At Takinoya Bekkan Tamanoyu, all rooms have air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. An Asian breakfast is served every morning at the property. Dinner features traditional Japanese kaiseki (multi-course) meal. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 55 km from the accommodation.
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    • Dai-ichi Takimotokan
      Boasting various hot spring baths, hot tubs and an indoor swimming pool, Daiichi Takimotokan is historic accommodation with Japanese-style guest rooms. Entertainment facilities like karaoke rooms and game centres are on site. Free WiFi is available at every guest room and the public area. With a relaxing ambiance, each room is fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon bedding. Guest rooms are located in 4 separate buildings on site based on room type. Facilities like flat-screen TV and fridge are provided. Guests can unwind in a yukata robe with a cup of tea and seating cushions. The Takimotokan features relaxation rooms next to the large spa and swimming pool area, and rejuvenating treatments are on offer at the on-site massage salon. Free luggage storage services are provided. The property is a 5-minute walk from Jigokudani hot springs, and a 12-minute drive from Lake Kuttara. There is a bus stop right in front of the property, which is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Noboribetsu Station. Guests can enjoy a lavish buffet or traditional Japanese multi-course meals for dinner, depending on the room. Some plans let the guests savour the delicious course meals in the privacy of the guest room.
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    • Oyado Kiyomizuya
      Just 1.5 km from Hokkaido’s Jigokudani hot springs area, Oyado Kiyomizuya offers Japanese-style rooms with a Japanese tea maker, private bathroom and futon beds. Massages and public hot-spring baths are featured. The traditionally decorated rooms at Oyado Kiyomizuya Ryokan have tatami (woven-straw) floors and a fridge. The en suite bathroom includes a bathtub and Western toilet. About a 15-minute walk from Noboribetsu Genshirin primeval forest, the hotel is 7 km from Bear Park. Lake Kuttara is also 7 km away. Free wired internet access is provided in the lobby. Breakfast and dinner are served in guests' rooms or private dining rooms, and must be booked with the room as a meal plan (meals and dishes cannot be ordered individually).
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    • Noboribetsu Grand Hotel
      Noboribetsu Grand Hotel offers accommodations with indoor/outdoor public hot-spring baths and free WiFi at the lobby. Guests can refresh in the sauna rooms and request relaxing massages for an extra cost. JR Noboribetsu Train Station is a 15-minute drive away. Noboribetsu Bus Station is a minute's walk away from the hotel. Guests can choose to stay in rooms with tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding or in rooms with carpeted floors and Western beds. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. The en suite bathroom features a bath tub and free toiletries. Japanese Yukata robes, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags are included as well. Guests can sing their favourite tunes at the karaoke rooms or purchase local gifts at the souvenir shop. A coin-launderette is on-site and a game room can be enjoyed as well. Free parking is available. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet consisting of healthy Japanese and Western dishes. Dishes prepared with fresh local seasonal ingredients, including tempura and seafood are served at the dinner buffet. There is a caf? and a bar on-site as well. Hotel Grand Noboribetsu is a 10-minute walk from Jigokudani Valley and Noboribetsu Bear Farm. Noboribetsu Date Historic Village is a 10-minute drive away. A shuttle from JR Sapporo Train Station can be arranged upon prior request, for an extra cost.
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    • Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO
      Located in Noboribetsu, 19 km from Higashi-muroran Station, Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO provides accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a terrace and a bar. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen, a concierge service and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 25 km from Muroran. All units are equipped with a fridge, microwave, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. At the hostel every room is equipped with a shared bathroom and bed linen. Buffet and continental breakfast options are available daily at Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO. The area is popular for skiing, and bike hire is available at the accommodation. Noboribetsu Jigokudani is 7.7 km from Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO, while Muroran Irie Stadium is 25 km away. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 67 km from the hostel.
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    • Hotel Mahoroba
      Situated in Noboribetsu, Hotel Mahoroba boasts an on-site public hot spring facility which features over 30 different baths and spas. Guests will find free private parking on site and free WiFi access in common areas. The hotel is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Noboribetsu Station. Some rooms at this hotel feature an open-air bath. Guest rooms are air-conditioned, and are equipped with a TV, an electric kettle, a green tea set and refrigerator. You will also find an air purifier/humidifier and yukata robes provided in the room. Rooms feature an en suite bathroom with a bathtub and shower. Free toiletries, slippers, hairdryers and toothbrush sets are provided. The hotel features a karaoke facility in the basement floor and a convenience store on the ground floor. Massage and relaxation services are available at an additional charge, while drink vending machines can be found on site. Restaurant Liberty offers a variety of Japanese, Western and Chinese dishes, while Green Terrace boasts fresh seasonal vegetables. Traditional Japanese kaiseki multi-course meals are also offered at this hotel. Noboribetsu Jigokudani is 700 metres from Hotel Mahoroba, while Noboribetsu Bear Park is 1.4 km away. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 54 km from the property.
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    • adex Inn
      Located in Hokkaido’s famous Noboribetsu hot spring areas, adex Inn is a 14-minute drive from JR Noboribetsu Station. Guests staying can soak in the hot spring bath. Noboribetsu Jigokudani (Hell Valley) is just a 2-minute walk from the hotel while the popular Noboribetsu Bear Park is a 15-minute drive away. Guests can also make a 10-minute drive to the Date Jidaimura Village and enjoy a step back in time. adex Inn offers 24-hour access to the public hot spring bath at the Daiichi Takimotokan located across the road. Guest rooms are simply furnished and come with a flat-screen TV, a fridge and a working desk. The private bathroom comes with free toiletries and a hairdryer.
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    • Noboribetsu Manseikaku
      Just a 15-minute walk from Hokkaido’s Jigokudani Valley, Noboribetsu Manseikaku features an indoor pool, hot-spring baths and Japanese and buffet restaurants. Rooms have a tea maker and private bathroom. Guests at Noboribetsu Manseikaku Hotel can experience a Japanese-style room with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon beds, or stay in a Western-style room. All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a fridge and bathtub. The hotel is a 1-minute walk from Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal, which is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Noboribetsu Train Station. Noboribetsu Kuma-Bokujo (Bear Park) and Noboribetsu Marine Park are both 7 km away. A 90-minute shuttle bus to Sapporo is offered by the property. Relaxation options include a sauna, hot tub and massage services.
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