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Release | Ayumi Ohmiya

Michi No Eki Lake Utonai has countless attractions to see, to buy, and to eat!

Michi No Eki Lake Utonai was too good just to stop by, it was worth traveling for the Michi No Eki! 

Drive towards the south for about 20 minutes via National Route 36 from Shin-Chitose Airport. “Michi No Eki Lake Utonai” by the Lake Utonai, which is the dreamland for birdwatchers, is a popular spot to stop when going to birdwatching.

▲木のぬくもり溢れる館内。手前のスペースは週替わりでイベントや催事、ギャラリーなどとしても利用されている ▲The inside is structured with woods and feels the warmth. The space in the front of this picture is used for events, temporary shops, and galleries which changes weekly.

The lakeside of the building has large windows and binoculars are set at each seat by the window. This is special seats to see lakes and around from inside using binoculars on rainy or cold days. 

There is Lake Utonai Wild Birds And Animals Center at the end of trails towards the lake, and you can learn about natural environments surrounds Lake Utonai.

▲双眼鏡の備わった窓際のカウンター席は特等席 ▲The seats by windows with binoculars are exceptional. 

Other than that, the Michi No Eki is filled with attractions of food and shopping. I will introduce these attractions of Michi No Eki Lake Utonai, which makes people stay for a long time. 


Get surf clam kimchi and Wild Bird Society of Japan’s rain boots at the Antenna Shop “Meal”!

You can find various souvenirs from Tomakomai at the Antenna Shop “Meal”. Different products using the local specialty surf clam and haskap berries are displayed on the shelves and refrigerators. 

The most popular products are surf clam gyoza (1,080 yen for 10 pieces) and surf clam kimchi (1,400 yen). 
Utonai bagels (sold only during weekends) and Swan Manju, which is limitedly sold in Lake Utonai, are perfect for coffee time snack. 

▲苫小牧市で人気の焼肉店金剛園のホッキキムチはご飯もお酒もすすみまくる逸品だ▲Surf clam kimchi made by the famous Yakiniku restaurant in Tomakomai, Kingoen, is the best food to have with rice and sake. 

▲ウトナイ湖の道の駅ならでは!巷で大人気の日本野鳥の会の長靴も販売されている。人気の色は品薄になるのでお早めに▲This souvenir is really Lake Utonai’s Michi No Eki like! They also sell Wild Bird Society of Japan’s rain boots. The popular colors sell out fast, so better be quick! 

▲苫小牧名産のハスカップは、ジャムに加工されるケースが多く「ミール」でも何種類も販売されている。ハスカップは旬の時期が限定され、さらに完熟の実は潰れやすいため生の状態ではなく冷凍されて販売されることが多い▲Haskap berries are a local specialty of Tomakomai. They are most often processed to jams, and “Meal” sells different kinds. Haskap’s season is limited and thoroughly raped pieces are easy to crash, so it is often sold frozen. 

Crab and egg rice bowl from “Kaisen Park” is a must-repeat dish

Sushi dishes from Kaisen Park is said to be the new specialty of Lake Utonai. Not only crab pressed sushi (1,080 yen) or surf clam pressed sushi (1,260), the lunch set with four kinds of pressed sushi including crab, salmon, surf clam, saury, and crab thick sushi roll, salad, and miso soup is a good value for money (860 yen) and very popular. 

Especially, “crab and egg rice bowl” (750 yen) apparently catches many repeaters, and this is the absolute favorite dish that everyone will understand once they have it. 

▲ズワイガニの身をふんわり卵で包み、甘酸っぱい特性のあんでとじたかに玉丼。満腹でもペロリとイケる箸がとまらなくて困る丼。手前が普通盛り、奥は大盛り(なんと料金は普通盛りと一緒!)▲They mix pieces of snow crab and fluffy egg and put special sweet and sour source. This is a troublesome dish because we can finish it instantly even if we are full. The bowl in front of the picture above is normal size, and the bowl at the back is large. (Surprisingly, the price is the same as the normal size! 


Have some B1 Tonchan’s pork bun at “Plaisir"

Plaisir is the place to taste the brand pork of Tomakomai: B1 Tonchan. The most recommended food here is “Butaman (pork bun)” (350 yen). The food is developed by the daughter of the pig farm when she was a high school student. It has been 15 years since the start of selling. However, it is still the no.1 popular menu here. This pork bun is undoubtedly something that I want everyone from young to old to try.

Other than that, pork dishes such as charcoal grilled pork rice bowl (800 yen) and rice burger using Tomakomai’s specialty surf clam. 

▲お母さんと子供で「半分こ」してちょうどいい大きさの豚まん。冷凍にもされているのでお土産に買って帰りたい▲The pork bun is large enough that a mother and a child can share. They also sell frozen buns to take home. 


The new dish Tomakomai Curry Ramen has started selling at “Rapo Rapola Shokudo”

“Rapo Rapola” means “to fly” in Ainu Language. This is a diner operated by Northern Horse Park Restaurant. Well, it is understandable that the quality of every food is high enough like a specialty store. 

The “Miso Curry Ramen” (900yen) is their exclusive and uses full-blown curry soup by using plenty of spices. The excellent balance of aromas from spices gives a perfect accent to the thick and deep miso soup. The flavor makes me want to drink up the soup. 

▲室蘭のご当地メニューとして知られるカレーラーメンが苫小牧でも新発売。今年は苫小牧にカレーラーメン旋風が吹きそうな予感⁉▲“Tomakomai Curry Ramen” has 50 years history and being noticed recently! Rapo Rapola just started selling recently! 


“Farmers’ Market” is the must-visit place in the morning

The attraction of the Farmers’ Market, which gathers local agricultural products, is the seasonal vegetables freshly harvested in the morning every day. Among that, unlimited packing of cherry tomatoes for 300 yen is very popular. It instantly sells out even they bring a full container of tomatoes. The regular customers visit here first thing in the morning to do the unlimited packing. 

▲雪が少ない苫小牧は真冬でもビニールハウスを利用して葉野菜などが生産されているため、年中地元のリーフ類が手に入る。そのほか特産のキノコ類も豊富▲The plant factories in the neighborhood produce green vegetables even in mid-winter so people can buy local vegetables all year around. Other than that, they also offer various local mushrooms.

▲350gは入るのでとってもお得なミニトマト詰め放題企画。さまざまな品種がミックスされて大きさもバラバラだがギュッとしまって美味しそうなミニトマトたち▲The unlimited packing of cherry tomatoes is great value for the cost because you can pack about 350 grams. There are different kinds of tomatoes, and also the sizes are different, but they look very delicious. 

I visited there in early March, so I could not take a picture this time but outside shops such as “Utonai Gelato”, makes gelato with haskup berries, will open in April. This was a Michi No Eki where I want to visit making myself starved. 

They will hold “The 12th Utonai Marche” to sell handmade goods on June 2 and 3. It will be a lively weekend with stage events and outside food stalls. Why don’t you visit Michi No Eki Lake Utonai? 
  • Michi No Eki Lake Utonai has countless attractions to see, to buy, and to eat!

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Ayumi Ohmiya