Your ways to enjoy autumn in Hokkaido this October vol. 1
Mother Earth Looks Round From Cape Chikyu
Heads up flat-earthers, you don’t have to do much science to prove the Earth’s a sphere – just visit Cape Chikyu and you’ll be in awe of its beautiful roundness.
Selected as the best “Nature Selections in Hokkaido” by the Asahi Shimbun, one of the major national newspapers, Cape Chikyu is is a big name in Hokkaido tourism as well as a tourist-pleaser boasting sheer 120 meter high cliffs. As horizon seems to curve when watched from the tip of the cape, the place is famous for admiring the sphericity of our globe, hence its name (“Chikyu” means “Earth” in Japanese).
Get a bird’s-eye-view from the lookout where the iconic white lighthouse stands. The site is also a dolphin-watching spot during the summer months, and is where many people choose to view their first sunrise on New Year’s day. There’s something beautiful to see here no matter the time of 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 Into the Horizon on a 16km Road That Never Seems to End!
For those of you planning on driving in Hokkaido, the Esanuka Line might just be a dream road trip destination.
Despite it being basically unknown, the Esanuka Line is an area blessed with picturesque scenery. Nothing obstructs your view of the idyllic green pastures and cloudless blue skies on this seemingly never-ending road that stretches along the Sea of Okhotsk and into the horizon.
The 16km road has been featured in various vehicle advertisement. It’s no wonder the place is beloved by worldwide motorcycle buffs. How about getting your own set of wheels and go cruising rural 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/
Visit the Hometown of Pork Rice Bowls
Bet you didn’t know that pork rice bowl (Butadon) is a local treat invented in Hokkaido with a rich history dating back to more than 80 years.
First created by the owner of the restaurant “Butadon Pancho” in Obihiro City in 1933, Butadon was originally a dish made to beat the frigid weather and keep oneself warm with its Vitamin B1-rich and carb-packed ingredients. Hokkaido’s symbolic soul food is a marriage of grilled pork slices and white rice, often flavored with sweet-chili sauce. But you can still find the specialty topped with flank, shoulder, or other parts in either Amiyaki-style (grilled on net) or Teppanyaki-style (griled on iron plate) at restaurants in Obihiro and all around Hokkaido.
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/
A Cluster of Five Heavenly Lakes
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Shiretoko Goko lakes are a set of five small lakes scattered near Shari Town in eastern Hokkaido. For a short period of three weeks from late-September to mid-October, the untouched foliage turns the valley into a vivid display of autumn colors. 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 yet another breathtaking sight, so 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
Please be advised: Walking paths only open between late-April and late-November. Ecological tours available in winter with reservation only.
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.
Rishiri Island’s Must-try Delight: Freshly Caught Uni
Fed and nurtured on nutrient-rich kelp, the uni (sea urchin, pronounced “oo-nee”) from Rishiri Island is said to have the richest sweetness of any uni in Japan. Kamui Kaigan Park in Rishiri Town offers an uni catching experience where visitors can scoop this premium seafood as local fishermen do, using a hydroscope and a traditional tool “Tamo.”
Uni fresh from the sea is as rare a delicacy as you can get. Make the best of it by slurping the up right away or rolling your own seaweed-wrapped sushi. The sweet-salty taste with an indescribably creamy texture will have you wanting to jump in the water to grab more (but please don’t). You’ll see right away why Rishiri uni are said to be the tastiest in the country.
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 the Famous Muroran Night View from a Café
The best location to capture the Muroran City sunset and night view all to yourself!
Located in a city prominent for steel manufacturing, the Muroran City-based Miyakoshiya Coffee MUTEKIROU is a cozy café which offers a personal view of 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 a breathtaking view of the ocean, while sipping a cup of original blend coffee and kicking back to to jazz music.
Be sure to request seaside seats when ferries are coming into Muroran Harbor. 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 (Japanese only)