Release | Yuki Konishi
Small trip on Donan Isabiri Tetsudo Line - Part 2
“Donan Isabiri Tetsudo Line” is a local rail line which started operating on 26 March 2016. The train line is about an hour long and connects from Goryokaku Station in Hakodate City to Kikonai Station in Kikonai Town. This is a journal of a small train trip getting on and off the local rail line. In part 2, I enjoyed the local tastes along the rail line.
▲The route is recommended not only as a daily transportation but also as a small train trip.
Different from Kikonai to Oshima-Tobetsu which runs by the coastline, from Kamiiso to Goryokaku station is a route which runs through the town, so there are lots of delicious sites you must check out.
“There is various delicious food along the rail line. In this area, there are plenty of fresh seafood such as scallop, oyster, squid, of course; we also have wagyu beef, rice, and vegetables. There are a variety of shops and restaurants focus on local products and hidden ones loved by locals” Yasuro Katsumata, the leader of sales division of South Hokkaido Railway Company told me. So I visited a few of Mr. Katsumata’s recommendations.
▲The station building of Higashi-Kunebetsu station uses an old train car which was used until thirty years ago as a part of a freight train. The station is unstaffed, but there are ticket machine, heating, and a flushing toilet. “Of all station buildings use train cars, Higashi-Kunebetsu station is one of the highest qualities,” says Mr. Katsumata.
“FukuFuku”, an Onigiri and Daifuku Mochi shop which makes the food carefully with local products“FukuFuku” is about 10 minutes walk from Higashi-Kunebetsu station. This shop is a homemade Onigiri, and Daifuku Mochi shop uses local products. The shop is small but local customers come to visit without a break, and I could feel the popularity of this shop.
They had so many varieties in the flavor of Daifuku Mochi. For example, “Kaze no Ko Daifuku Ninjin Aji” (carrot flavored Daifuku) with bright orange color uses mashed carrots produced in the area into Mochi dough and white bean paste inside the Mochi. The white bean paste and carrot goes together very well and has delicate sweetness and taste. I also loved the cute packaging. A little parsley is put together in the package to make it look like a real carrot.
▲Strawberry flavored Daifuku which uses “Kentarou” brand produced in Hokuto City is sold only early summer. You can enjoy the deliciousness of azuki beans with the standard flavors Mame Daifuku and Kusa Daifuku.
Also, “Kaze no Ko Daifuku Hourensou” (spinach Daifuku) is unique because they use spinach produced in Hokuto City to sesame paste inside. The glutinous rice used to make the dough of Daifuku is “Kaze no Ko Mochi” which is produced in Yakumo-Cho located in the same South Hokkaido region. The salt is “Kumaishi Deep Water Salt” also produced in Yakumo-Cho. You can enjoy Daifuku on the train or give as a gift would impress anyone.
Fried chicken wings from “Cooking Shop Obayashi” are loved by localsThe shop is located very close to Goryokaku Station, the ending station of this trip. “Cooking Shop Obayashi” is a delicatessen supports meals of families in the town for 50 years.
The shop is famous for meat-related dishes. Of all the attractive and reasonable priced food, the most popular is “Wakadori no Tebasaki” (fried young chicken wing). Their chicken wings sell immediately right after they fry! Now I can believe the story that there are lots of people in Hakodate say “we need chicken wings from Cooking Shop Obayashi for Christmas”.
The skin of chicken wing is crunchy and inside is juicy and hot. They use only soy sauce, and salt and taste are very simple, but it is surely addictive. Obayashi says “we do not do anything special.” Freshly fried wings are of course, but it is kept delicious even when it gets cold because the amount of salt is just right even though it feels a bit salty. It is so addictive that two people can finish 1kg of their chicken wings. Getting a beer and chicken wings from here and riding Nagamare-Go train seems like a delicious and fun trip.
▲The great teamwork of mothers with the same bandannas frying tremendous amount of chicken wings is also a must-see! I also recommend fried mashed squid since the menu is very Hakodate like.
▲You can make a reservation by phone, which allows you to take out freshly fried chicken wings. The shop is until 7:30 PM but aware that they finish frying at 6:30 PM.
Other than the shops above, there are many attractive shops along Donan Isaribi Tetsudo Line. Such as “Hokuto Fishery” to enjoy simply cooked shellfish dishes, “Dounan de's Ocuda Spirits” which is an Italian restaurant uses local products, and “PATISSERIE joli creer” which is a cake shop famous for eclair with Zushihocky illustration. Consider to visit these shops as well!
Also, there will be a train car with bright orange painting running at Donan Isaribi Tetsudo Line from this summer! The color matches so nice with a beautiful view.
▲The train car with new painting (top: photo provided by Donan Isaribi Tetsudo Line). How about buying a Nagamare-Go original goods as a souvenir? They are sold at the headquarter of South Hokkaido Railway Company or sightseeing spots in Hakodate.
Ride Donan Isaribi Tetsudo Line and enjoy the beautiful view along the coastline and delicious local tastes!
Text / Hokkaido Likers Writer Yuki Konishi
Photo / Hokkaido Likers Photographer Minako Takada