Bridging Land and Sea: Explore the Mysterious Ainu Forts of Eastern Hokkaido – HOKKAIDO LOVE!

Constructed by Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people, chashi are small hilltop forts numbering approximately 500 found throughout the prefecture. Be sure to check out one of the 24 designated as Japanese Cultural Heritage sites located in Eastern Hokkaido’s Nemuro area. Distinct in their semi-circle and square-shaped designs, as well as their cliffside positions, these chashi remind visitors of the longstanding relationship between Ainu peoples and the water as a key source of transportation and food. Although the purpose of these sites remains unclear, they provide a rare glimpse into the history of Hokkaido’s first peoples and the sea that held such crucial significance.