Yubari Overview

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The beautiful town of Yubari, nestled amongst picturesque mountains, has a checkered past that has given it a strength of character and real charm that can be felt in every nook and cranny of the town. The streets are full of old hand painted billboards which are a testament to the town’s past success, now they still stand, slightly decayed, yet resolute – a caricature of the town’s fighting spirit.

Yubari was once a prosperous mining town, rich in coal and ambition. It was doing incredibly well for itself and even came to be known as the coal center of Japan, though eventually the mining bubble burst and the town went bankrupt. The population plummeted leaving Yubari to resemble something out of a sci-fi zombie movie in parts. But this is all part of its charm, and Yubari is on its way up – finding some comfort from an unlikely source – the Yubari King – known as one of Japan’s most delicious melon varieties. Today, tourists come from far and wide to have a taste of the succulent melon of Yubari, and none leave disappointed. It has to be tasted to be believed.

Yubari is home to more than just melons, and no visit would be complete without checking out the Yubari shrine – a pleasant place to spend a nice afternoon walk amongst the quiet setting of the shrine, which is built clinging to the slopes of a mountain known to locals as ‘eel’s bed’. It is a great place for contemplation, and allowing oneself to let go of the rush of everyday life, and relax for a minute amongst the natural soundtrack of chirping birds and rustling leaves, set to a picture perfect backdrop.

As mentioned earlier, Yubari is filled with a seemingly endless array of billboards. All of which are hand painted testaments to a time now gone. Hollywood and Japanese classics are strewn across the town, providing a truly unique atmosphere, like stepping into a time capsule invoking an overwhelmingly warm feeling of movie nostalgia. Today, the film vibe continues with the town proudly hosting the annual Yubari Fantastic International Film Festival.

Yubari is the nature lovers haven, with many a natural flower field to be found almost everywhere you look. It is the perfect town to escape the noise of big city Japan and sit nestled away amongst the mountains and grand trees and enjoy some of the great hearty cuisines one of the quainter towns of central Hokkaido has to offer.

One of Yubari’s more interesting features for the adventurous among us is the abandoned train station called Minami Yubari, complete with a majestic looking derelict train, which stands with more of an air of dignity than dilapidation. It is a great place to spend the afternoon exploring a side of Yubari that has been forgotten by time.

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