Your ways to enjoy autumn in Hokkaido this October vol. 1
Mother Earth looks round from Cape Chikyu
You don’t have to do much science to prove Mother Earth’s sphere – just visit Cape Chikyu and you will be in awe of its beautiful roundness.
Selected as the best Nature Selections in Hokkaido by Asahi Shimbun Newspaper, one of the five national printed medias in the country, Cape Chikyu is is a big name in Hokkaido tourism as well as a tourist-pleaser boasting sheer cliffs at 120 meters high. As horizon seems to curve when looked from the tip of the cape, the place is famous for admiring the sphericity of our globe.
Get a bird’s-eye-view from the observatory at which the white lighthouse stands on. In addition, the site is also perfect for dolphin-watching during summer months and first-sunrise-viewing on New Year’s day, making it a sight to behold all year.
Address: Bokoi Minami Town 4, Muroran City, Hokkaido
Access: about 10 minutes by car from JR Bokoi Station
Travel guide: http://en.visit-hokkaido2.jp/travelPlanner/details.php?code=6101001000009
Drive through a 16-km straight road towards the horizon!
Here’s a good news for driving tourists – Esanuka Line in Hokkaido might be one of your best dream road trip ideas.
Despite of its little-known location, Esanuka Line is an enclave blessed with picturesque scenery. Surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk and a spanning virgin pastureland, the route seems to stretch straight towards the horizon where nothing obstructs your view but only Hokkaido idyll, think cloudless blue sky and vibrant green field, feasts your eyes.
The 16-km bare road has been featured in various vehicle advertisement – no wonder why the place is beloved by worldwide motorcycle buffs. How about getting your own set of wheels and head straight to rural part of Hokkaido?
Address: Sarufutsu Village, Soya County, Hokkaido
Access: about 1 hour 15 minutes by car from JR Horonobe Station
Sarufutsu Village Tourism Association: http://sarufutsu.jp/
Set your alarm for Obihiro’s time-honoured pork rice bowl
Did you know that the Hokkaido style pork rice bowl (Butadon) is a local treat with a rich history dating back to more than 80 years?
Founded by the owner of the public eatery Butadon Pancho, Obihiro City in 1933, Butadon was originally created to beat the frigid weather and keep oneself warm with its Vitamin B1-rich and carbs-packed ingredients. The Hokkaido’s symbolic soul food is a marriage of grilled pork slices and white rice flavored often with sweet-chili sauce, but still you can find the specialty topped with flank, shoulder, or other body ports in Amiyaki-style (grilled on net) or Teppanyaki-style (griled on iron plate) at restaurants in Obihiro neighboring and all Hokkaido area.
Food with a story to tell always tastes better. Doesn’t the rice bowl look much more appetizing now?
Find out more Hokkaido local cuisine: https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/thingstodo/food/local/
Five lakes made from the fingerprints of God!?
Believe it or not – legend has it that God created five lakes by striking his fingers on Shiretoko Peninsula, the UNESCO World Heritage.
Shiretoko Goko lakes are a set of five small lakes scattering in Shari Town, eastern Hokkaido. For a short period of three weeks from late-September to mid-October, the undisturbed vegetation turns the valley into an autumn foliage destination. Traverse the elevated wooden trails and ground paths to get a glimpse of the majestic scenery. If luck is on your side, you may even witness Ezo-squirrels or Ezo-deers in the woods!
The collaboration of golden larch trees surrounding the mirror-like lake surface and snow-capped mountain ranges in November is another breathtaking, yet god-given highlight. Don’t miss it!
Shiretoko Goko Lakes
Address: Shari Town, Shari County, Hokkaido
Access: about 2 hours 30 minutes by bus from Shari Bus Terminal
※Walk paths only open between late-April and late-November. Pre-reserved ecological tours available in winter.
※For hikers to Lake Two to Lake Five (1 August – 20 October), it is compulsory to take a short lecture (250yen for adults, 100yen for kids under 12) on precautions to avoid bear encounters and ways to deal with wild animals.
A must-try delicacy on Rishiri Island – freshly-caught sea urchins
Fed and nurtured on nutrient-rich kelp, the sea urchins of Rishiri Island is said to have the richest sweetness in Japan. Kamui Kaigan Park in Rishiri Town, northern Hokkaido, offers a sea urchin-catching experience at which visitors can scoop the premium seafood as local fishermen do with a hydroscope and the traditional tool Tamo.
Freshly harvested sea urchins are always hard to beat – make the best of them by savoring right away or rolling your own Gunkan (seaweed-wrapped) sushi. They taste incredibly sweet and briny either way, no wonder some would highly rate them as the best sea urchins they’ve ever had!
Kamui Kaigan Park
Address: Kamui 149-2, Kutsugata, Rishiri Town, Rishiri County, Hokkaido
Hours: 1 June – 30 September, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Access: about 5 minutes on foot from Daiichi Kamui Soya Bus terminal
Enjoy a sunset and night view at a café in Muroran City
The best location to capture Muroran City sunset and night view all to yourself!
Located in the city prominent for steel manufacturing, the Muroran City-based Miyakoshiya Coffee MUTEKIROU is a cozy cafeteria which offers one of the five greatest Japanese factory night views. Appreciate the scenery of Daikoku Island (one of the Muroran eight beauty spots), Hakucho Bridge (the biggest suspension bridge in East Japan), and Pacific Ocean, while sipping a cup of original blend coffee and connecting your ears to jazz music; they would be your best break time buddies.
Be sure to request seaside seats when Muroran Harbor is accommodated by ferries. You don’t want to miss the chance to snap some pictures of the world-famous port city!
Miyakoshiya Coffee MUTEKIROU
Address: Etomo Town 2-11-1, Muroran City, Hokkaido
Hours: 11:00am – 8:00pm (from April to October), 11:00am – 7:00pm (from November to March)
Access: about 15 minutes by car from JR Muroran Station
Muroran Tourist Association: http://muro-kanko.com/eat-buy/mutekirou.html