Release | Yuki Konishi
Take a Flower Road Trip in Okhotsk Area - Part 2
Okhotsk area in Hokkaido welcomed the real flower season after the Golden Week holidays. In part 2 of the Flower Road Trip to Okhotsk Area, we will take a look at Takinoue Town. I will introduce bright moss phlox, the famous park introduced in magazines about all regions in Japan, the herb garden, and the popular restaurant in Monbetsu City.
This area is perfect for a one-night road trip together with Yubetsu Town, where people can enjoy tulip and Lake Saroma, introduced in part 1, and Monbetsu City, where people can enjoy delicious seafood from the Sea of Okhotsk. Moss phlox flowers and tulips will be in full bloom from around May 20th.
It looks like a pink carpet! One of the biggest moss phlox park in JapanTakinoue Town is located inland from the Sea of Okhotsk. From mid-May to early June, the hills of “Shibazakura Takinoue Park” will be bright pink with moss phlox flowers just like a pink carpet. The contrast of Okhotsk’s bright blue sky, mountains left some snow, and bright green trees are extremely beautiful!
Shibazakura Takinoue Park is about 100,000 hectares! It all started from seedlings about one cardboard box. The local people took several decades to nurture one of the greatest moss phlox hills in Japan. Not only the park is large, but also it started earlier compared to other moss phlox sights in Japan. It will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.
▲We can notice how large the park is by seeing from the far point!
Find the “lucky moss phlox flower”!Moss phlox flowers have 5 petals usually, but sometimes you can find ones with 4 or 6 flowers, and little of them have 7 petals! It is difficult to find the flower with 7 petals, so it is often called “lucky moss phlox flower” and said to bring good lucks to people who found the flower. If you take a picture of moss phlox flower with 7 or more petals and bring to the information center of the park, they will give you a special present. Why don’t you try finding the lucky moss phlox flower?
▲The top left flower has 4 petals, the right above and left bottom have 6, and the flower in the right bottom is “lucky moss phlox flower” with 7 petals.
* During moss phlox flowers bloom in late May to early June, the park holds “Shibazakura Festival”. They require visitors to pay entrance fee during the period. For details, check the data on the bottom of this article.
The no.1 mint producer in Japan! “Kaori No Sato Herb Garden”Takinoue Town is the no.1 producer of mint in Japan. There are over 300 kinds of herbs including mint in “Kaori No Sato Herb Garden”’s approximately 4 hectares property. Visitors can enjoy different aromas from June to September.
▲At the Fragrance House on top of the hill, visitors can enjoy food and drinks using herbs such as herb tea, and herb craft workshops like making herb soaps.
Garden lovers from all Japan want to visit “Yoshoku-en Park”, a nature like sightseeing park“Yoshoku-en Park” is the place where you should visit together with Shibazakura Takinoue Park. The manager of the garden Takeichi Takahashi took 60 years to turn the approximately 8 hectares mountain into flower park by himself.
There are about 800 kinds of flowers in the garden. There is a five-kilometers promenade, where visitors can enjoy different flowers in Spring, Summer, and Autumn. This is the famous place for garden lovers in throughout Japan, which is featured in women’s fashion magazines and there is also a tour to visit Yoshoku-en Park.
▲Takahashi offers a two-hours tour with the fee from 8:00 AM every Sunday. Takahashi himself takes visitors and explains about the garden.
Stop by “Michi No Eki (Roadside Station) Kaori No Sato Takinoue” for a break and souvenir shopping“Michi No Eki (Roadside Station) Kaori No Sato Takinoue” has various high-quality souvenirs produced locally. Especially mint related products such as herb tea have a nice aroma, so anyone would love to get as a present.
“Choi Tabe Corner (“Have a bite” area)” , is perfect for a short break because they offer sweets and light meals at reasonable prices.
▲“Choi Tabe Corner (“Have a bite” area)” offers 8-9 kinds of food. Mitarashi Dango using locally produced tofu (top-left), cassis and rhubarb jam produced locally and locally produced sausage sandwich (middle-left). Mint related products include insect repellent and crystals for various use (bottom-left). Fluffy chiffon cake made with locally produced flour and drinkable cheese “Tsuki No Cheese” are also very popular.
Visit “Kaisen Yushoku Rin”, the popular restaurant in Monbetsu, at night to enjoy local specialties!The most popular restaurant in Monbetsu is “Kaisen Yushoku Rin”. Not only fresh seafood caught from the Sea of Okhotsk, but also they prioritize using locally produced vegetables. The dishes put chef’s work to “make customers enjoy eating” are supported by travelers and locals alike.
There is a water tank in the restaurant, and stock live crabs for customers to enjoy. The price of snow crab is decided by the weight and customers can choose how to eat the crab they have picked. For example, customers can order half sashimi and half boiled. The “spring snow crabs” caught after drift ice left have thick crab innards and extremely tasty!
▲The snow crab on the picture costs 600g 2,400 yen (400 yen/100g). It was fun to taste the difference of sashimi which has fine sweetness (in front) and boiled one with thick umami flavor (in the back).
“Hamanasu Beef Diced Steak” has salad and fried vegetables, and fulfills everyone’s stomach. In the end, I had “Japanese style Omu Rice” which wraps rice cooked with seafood with egg and put on bonito dashi flavored sauce on it. It was very light like Ochazuke.
▲The manager Akira Hayashi was the head cook at a hotel in Monbetsu City in his young age and opened the restaurant 9 years ago. The restaurant is so popular that visitors need to make a reservation in advance. The top-right is diced steak, and the right bottom is Japanese style Omu Rice. It has scallop and crabs in it.
Related Website- Takinoue Town Flower News
Photo cooperation / Takinoue Town Hall
Text / Hokkaido Likers writer Yuki Konishi
Photo / Hokkaido Likers photographer Minako Takada
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