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.
6 km inland from this is the smaller town of Noboribetsu-onsen (登別温泉, 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.