Chippubetsu (秩父別町 Chippubetsu-cho) is a small town located in the northwest of Hokkaido Prefecture with a population of about 2400 people. Located on the Fukagawa-Rumoi train line, Chippubetsu is in an ideal, central location, 45 minutes from Asahikawa, the second largest city in Hokkaido, and only an hour and a half from Sapporo by train. Chippubetsu's main commerce is agriculture, mostly rice and soba.
Train: Chippubetsu has a small, local train station that connects to the main line that runs between Sapporo and Asahikawa. The last train going into Chippubetsu departs at 8:08pm from Fukagawa Station. After that, only taxis are available.
Bus: There are frequent buses that run between Chippubetsu and the neighboring towns, Fukagawa, Numata, and Rumoi. There are also express buses to Sapporo and Asahikawa. The Asahikawa bus stop is in front of the government office (秩父別役場前). The Sapporo bus stop is a little ways out of town at the Chippubetsu Interchange (秩父別町IC入り口).
Bus to Sapporo: Chuo Bus Company
Bus to Asahikawa: Engan Bus Company
Chippubetsu has had JET participants for over 20 years, and although the population is on the decline, the town still places importance on the English education of its students. English is taught from Kindergarten all the way through to Junior High School. There is no longer a high school in Chippubetsu, so most students commute to neighboring towns after graduation.
The foreign community in Chippubetsu is just the ALT, but there are many Interac and JET participants in the neighboring towns of Fukagawa, Hokuryu, Numata, and Moseushi.
Sights: Chippubetsu's claims to fame are the Chippubetsu Rose Garden and Sheep Land. Located next to each other, they are both accesible only by car. The Rose Garden holds a Rose Festival every year - very beautiful! Chippubetsu is also very proud of the 100 Year Memorial Tower, which houses the Shiawase Bell. The bell rings every day at 6am, 12pm, and 6pm.
- Tonden Matsuri
- Bon Odori
- Akinai Matsuri
- Winter Fest
Chippubetsu has very little shopping to offer. There is one grocery store, JA Noukyo, but it is small and has little variety. Most residents drive or take public transportation to the neighboring town of Fukagawa.
There is just one restaurant in Chippubetsu, Kojima, but it is cute and has delicious food. Chippubetsu is know for Green Napolitan (there is even an character!), which is available at Kojima and an izakaya called Broccoli.
Almost all of the essentials can be found in Chippubetsu - bank, post office, library, hair dressers, etc. However, for medical purposes, the public hospital in Fukagawa is open for later hours and has a larger variety of departments available.