Otobe is a small town located in the southwest of Hokkaido with a population of about 4200 people. It's located on the coast of the Japan Sea, 20 minutes drive north of Esashi and an hour and a half away from Hakodate. Primary industries are fishing and farming.
The nearest train station is Yakumo Station, which is about an hour and ten minutes by car. Otobe is located on national road 229. It connects to Hakodate via national road 227. Hakodate bus runs an infrequent service, connecting Otobe to Hakodate and Esashi, and Yakumo to the north.
There is one JET placement in Otobe, an ALT. There are four schools, a junior high school and three elementary schools. The junior high school has around 100 students in a given year. The larger elementary school has around 150 students. The two smaller schools usually have between 13-20 students.
The ALT also makes infrequent visits to the local preschool and the nursing school in neighboring Esashi. Housing is cheap and arranged by the CO - a relatively new, two-bedroom duplex.
A car is required for work, as there is no work car that can be spared for the ALT's use. The most distant elementary school is 10km away. The nursing school in Esashi is farther away.
The only foreign community is the relationships between the Otobe JET and the JETs from Assabu, the Hiyama Subprefectural Office, and Kaminokuni.
Otobe has the Genna Sea Pool, open from the end of July to the end of August. It's a sheltered area of ocean for swimming and water sports. There are also food stands and the Marine Festival, held at the end of July. Admission is only 100 yen.
Otobe has no grocery store, no bookstore, and no department store. There are three convenience stores, a 7-11, a Seico Mart and a Lawson. There is also a bakey on the main road that sells traditional French-style breads and pastries. Also on the main road is a fruit and vegetable shop.
There are three major restaurants:
Dateyama - specializing in ramen and sushi, they also have pretty much every other kind of traditional Japanese restaurant food, including curries, soba, udon, and donburi. Their regular closing day is Monday. On the main road.
Misaki - specializing in teishoku - set meals that usually include a main dish, rice, miso soup, and pickles. Their regular closing day is Thursday. On the main road, across the street from Dateyama.
Nodoka Kitchen and Cafe - specializing in Japanified Italian food. Pasta dishes and pizza. Off the main road, near the river.
There's a branch of the Esashi bank and the post office also operates with JP Bank. Otobe has a small hospital, but for anything serious they send you on to the prefectural hospital in Esashi. It's important to note that the hospitals are not necessarily open on the weekend. In the area, each weekend is assigned to a hospital. Call any hospital to determine which one is "on duty" for the weekend.
There is a small library in the town's community center.
- Otobe town official homepage (Japanese)