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 performances of traditional dance and music 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 360 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 1840 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 make a stop at Upopoy along their way. The one way trip takes 40 minutes and costs 1680 yen from Sapporo, 45 minutes and 850 yen from New Chitose Airport and 30 minutes and 720 yen from Noboribetsu Onsen. There are only 1-2 buses per day from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, and around four buses per day from Noboribetsu Onsen.

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 one way. There are buses every 2-3 hours.

Hours and Fees




Hotels around Noboribetsu

Top rated in Noboribetsu
    • 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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    • 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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    • 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 bar, free private parking, a shared lounge and a terrace. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The accommodation offers a tour desk and luggage storage space for guests. All units are equipped with a microwave, fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. The units at the hostel come with a safety deposit box and a shared bathroom. The area is popular for skiing, and bike hire is available at Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO. Muroran is 25 km from the accommodation, while Noboribetsu Jigokudani is 7.7 km away. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 71 km from Noboribetsu Guest House AKA & AO.
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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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    • 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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