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Twisted trees near Lake Mashuko, Akan National Park

The Eastern Circuit (道東 Dōtō) covers the eastern half of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.


Map of Eastern Circuit

The Eastern Circuit is composed of the following four subprefectures:

  • Okhotsk – it was renamed from Abashiri Subprefecture in 2010. Has a Japanese-only portal site for tourism.
  • Tokachi – the region is dominated by the Tokachi Plain, a major agricultural area
  • Kushiro – the region is dominated by the Kushiro Plain, a major agricultural area
  • Nemuro – the region is dominated by the Nemuro Plain, a major agricultural area

Cities and towns



  • 1 Kushiro (釧路市 Kushiro-shi) – the largest city in the Circuit with 200,000 people
  • 2 Abashiri (網走市 Abashiri-shi) – fishing town famous for drift ice and infamous for its prison
  • 3 Kitami (北見市 Kitami-shi) – the onion capital of Japan
  • 4 Monbetsu (紋別市 Monbetsu-shi)
  • 5 Nemuro (根室市 Nemuro-shi) – at the easternmost tip of Hokkaido
  • 6 Obihiro (帯広市 Obihiro-shi) – the main city in the Tokachi Plain, a large

agricultural area


  • 7 Bihoro (美幌町 Bihoro-chō) – gateway to the Akan National Park
  • 8 Shari (斜里町 Shari-chō) – gateway to Shiretoko National Park and home of onsen village Utoro

Other destinations


National Parks

  • 1 Akan National Park (阿寒摩周国立公園 Akan Mashu Kokuritsu Kōen) – known for the crystalline mountain lakes of Akan, Kussharo and Mashu
  • 2 Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園 Daisetsuzan Kokuritsu Kōen), – Japan's largest national park named after its "Great Snowy Mountains"
  • 3 Kushiro-shitsugen National Park (釧路湿原国立公園 Kushiro-shitsugen Kokuritsu Kōen)
  • 4 Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園 Shiretoko Kokuritsu Kōen) – the most inaccessible and least explored of Japan's national parks


Drift ice in Monbetsu

The most sparsely populated region in all Japan, this vast area is nearly 40,000 km² in size. While the easternmost part is largely flat, rural and filled with endless cow pastures, much of the circuit is ringed with mountains.

Get in


By plane


Kushiro, Monbetsu and Ōzora, Memanbetsu (near Abashiri) have regional airports.

Get around


Here, if anywhere in Japan, a rental car will come in handy. Train coverage is severely lacking (many lines have been terminated due to a lack of customers) and buses are infrequent, inconvenient and expensive.





Eastern Hokkaido has beautiful coastline, wonderful outdoor hot springs, and remote hiking. Some combination of these should make for a satisfying visit.



Hokkaido on the whole is good for seafood — if you're on the coast — and dairy, and the east is no exception. In central Hokkaido, near Asahikawa and Furano, there are a plethora of melon stands, though by foreign standards, Japanese melons are exceedingly expensive.

Pork Bowl
  • Pork Bowl (豚丼 Buta-don). Pork bowl with sightly bigger pork. Obihiro is originated, it is possible to eat in Tokachi whole area.



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This region travel guide to Eastern Circuit is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!