Noboribetsu is a city in Iburi sub-prefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. Part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, it is southwest of Sapporo, west of Tomakomai and northeast of Hakodate. The name, Noboribetsu, derives from an Ainu word, nupur-pet, which means dark-coloured river. As of 2008, the city has an estimated population of 53,018 and the density of 250 persons per km². The total area is 212.11 km². The mountains dominate the west and north while the plains dominate around five km within the coastline. There are three towns along the Pacific Ocean: from northeast to southwest, Noboribetsu, Horobetsu and Washibetsu. These betsu are derived from river in the Ainu language. Noboribetsu is on the Noboribetsu River. Horobetsu and Washibetsu are on the Iburi-horobetsu River and the Washibetsu River respectively. The city office is in Horobetsu. The town of Noboribetsu is at the mouth of the Noboribetsu river and is therefore a much narrower area. Six km inland from this is the smaller town of Noboribetsu-onsen (Noboribetsu hot-spring). Enjoying many hot springs of varying ingredients, Noboribetsu-onsen is one of many well-known resorts in Japan and the largest "hot spring town" in Hokkaido. Noboribetsu Town as a municipality was born in 1961 by renaming the former Horobetsu Town. It was given city status on August 1, 1970. Noboribetsu has four train stations and is accessed by the Doo Expressway with two interchanges and route 36.
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