Okushiri Blue (Okushiri Guesthouse Imacoco)
Move over Shakotan Blue, cause there’s a new blue in town.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the Okushiri Blue, which can only be found on Okushiri-Island, the remote, westernmost island in Hokkaido. More than just a simply sightseeing ferry trip, you also have a chance to join in on various water sports like kayaking.
SUP/Kayak Beginner Experience (¥4,000/hour), SUP/Kayak Majestic-View Tour (¥11,000/3 hours), and SUP/Kayak Cave Kamui Tour (¥11,000/3hours). And when your body gets worn out from kayaking, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the nearby hot spring, only a short 2-minute walk, and finish your journey with a big warm welcome from the guesthouse’s owner!
Yunohama 100, Okushiri-cho, Okushiri-Gun
take the Okushiri Chouyu Bus and get off at Kamuiwaki
Simply ask the driver to drop you off at “Imacoco”
Hokkaido soft-serve ice cream
For a land famous for its cold winters, you might not expect a cold treat to be this refined. But trust me when I say, Hokkaido soft-serve ice cream is a must-eat, even in winter!
So what makes the soft-serve so delicious, I hear you asking. Well, thanks to the cold climate of Hokkaido, cattle out to pasture eat a lot throughout the year, which leads to milk very rich in flavor. Compared to the standard dairy products that have a fat content of 3.6%, Hokkaido’s milk has an average of 4%! I have no doubt you’re gonna love it and you can find it at just about any tourist spot you visit.
Cape Soya (Soya Kyuryo)
What do you think this shiny-white pathway is made of?
Cape Soya (Soya Kyuryo) is a place where you can find gorgeous contrast of blues, whites, and greens. After catching glimpses of Sakhalin Island in the distance, Mount Rishiri a bit closer, and around 60 giant wind turbines nearby, something else begins to catch your eye. It’s these White Paths. But it’s not sand, so what could it possibly be paved with? Here’s a hint: the color comes from one of Hokkaido’s most famous foods, it comes from the ocean…
Bingo! They are crushed scallop shells! Take a romantic stroll with a sweetie or amble the day away along this gorgeous white path.
Soya Misaki, Wakkanai, Hokkaido
40 minutes by car from Wakkanai Airport / 50 minutes from Wakkanai Station by Soya Bus to Omisaki, followed by a 10-minute walk towards the mountainside
Soar through the skies at speeds of up to 40km/h!
Air Trip is a zip-line activity offered by the Lake Shikaribetsu Nature Center that lets you fly like a bird. With the dense forest of Hokkaido as your backdrop, this 2-hour long activity not only brings you a panoramic view overlooking the virgin foliage but also a chance to feel as though you’ve become a part of it. After thrillingly zipping through the trees, why not also thrill your sense of curiosity by taking a walk with a guided tour and learn all about the local flora and fauna?
Kitaurimaku, Shikaoi-cho, Kato-gun, Hokkaido
9 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm (reservations required) / October to November: 10 am and 2 pm
¥8,000/person (¥5,500/person for 2 or more sign-ups)
Jingisukan (Hokkaido lamb barbecue)
What makes jingisukan (lamb barbecue) so famous in Hokkaido?
Jingisukan (the Japanese pronunciation of “Genghis Khan”) is the soul food of Hokkaido, served with cooked vegetables and grilled mutton on a skillet. Legend has it that the dish was originally created by sheep farmers in the 1930s using reasonably-priced lamb meat, something not so common in other prefectures, and delicious Hokkaido vegetables. The dish got popular in the Eastern Hokkaido area and before long became known around the entire country.
Jingisukan is seasoned differently depending on the restaurant, but no matter where you have it, this sweet-chilly flavored plate of meat is a definite must-try during your next visit to Hokkaido!
Atama Daibutsu (Hill of the Buddha)
What is this?! A huge Buddha statue surrounded by lavender fields? Where am I?!
Makomanai Takino Cemetery is the only place where you can experience this kind of surreal scenery. Commemorating the cemetery’s 30th anniversary, Japanese architect Ando Tadao helped redesign the landscape, dubbed “Atama Daibutsu aka The Hill of the Buddha,” this modern art piece sits in an artificial hill carpeted in over 150,000 lavender plants. After passing through a 130-meter long passageway, visitors will find themselves looking up the over 13 meters tall masterpiece, surrounded in a serene womblike prayer hall.
2 Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
April to October: 9 am – 4 pm / November to March: 10 am – 3 pm
Closed on: New Year’s holidays (29 Dec – 4 Jan）and maintenance days