Release | nobu Kawashima
Visit 8 scenic sights of Muroran! It’s not only night views and Cape Chikyu
Muroran is famous for various scenic sights such as night views and Cape Chikyu.
The most significant characteristic of this city is that people can enjoy both cityscapes and natural scapes, by holding industrial area and nature.
There are many scenic sights, and the best of them are called “Muroran Hakkei” - the eight scenic sights of Muroran. How many of these have you visited?
Table of Contents- What is Muroran Hakkei?
- From where would you see? “Daikoku Island with rice lilies”
- Amazing views! “Cape Etomo’s scenery”
- Nature near the town! “Masuichi Beach Observatory”
- Great view during the day and at night! “scenery from Mt. Sokuryo”
- Can you see the round earth? “Great views from Cape Chikyu”
- Shiny gold and silver! “Cliffs of Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu”
- Amazing views! “Tokkarisho’s unique scenery”
- Must see and must shoot! “Night view of Muroran Port”
▲The night view of Muroran Port taken with the symbol of Muroran, Hakucho Bridge. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
What is Muroran Hakkei?Muroran City is next to Noboribetsu City, where famous for onsen, and located at approximately 80 minutes by car from Shin-Chitose Airport and 120 minutes from central Sapporo.
They select the eight best scenic sights and call them “Muroran Hakkei”. It was chosen by votes from citizens of Muroran in 1970.
The eight sights include “Night view of Muroran Port”, “Daikoku Island with rice lilies”, “Cape Etomo’s scenery”, “Masuichi Beach Observatory”, “scenery from Mt. Sokuryo”, “Great views from Cape Chikyu”, “Cliffs of “Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu”, and “Tokkarisho’s unique scenery”.
However, there are numerous spots in spite of “eight sights”, because Cliffs of Kinbyobu and Binbyobu are located apart from each other but count as one sight, and there are countless spots to enjoy the night view of Muroran Port.
In this article, I will guide you from “Mitara Muroran”, the Michi No Eki (roadside station) looks down Shiratori Bridge. I will introduce the eight scenic sights one by one.
From where would you see? “Daikoku Island with rice lilies”Daikoku Island is a small island floating on Muroran Port. In spite of its diameter, which is approximately 700 meters, it has about 35 meters elevation. There is an old lighthouse on top. People cannot land the island normally, so this place is just for observation.
▲The silhouette of the island is stunning during sunset! (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
It’s called Daikoku Island because people worshipped Daikokuten in this island during Edo Period.
Also, there is a tale about the rice Lilly here. The tale says rice lilies started to bloom in the island after people buried sailors of England ships which were exploring around Japan at that time.
You can see Daikoku Island from various spots including from Shiratori Bridge, but the best view spot is Cape Etomo, which I am introducing in the next paragraph.
Amazing views! “Cape Etomo’s scenery”When you see a map, you will notice the city of Muroran is located on a peninsula sticking out to the sea, which looks like a key. The peninsula is called Etomo Peninsula, and the cape at the tip is Cape Etomo. There is an observatory.
▲A monument combining multiple wheels welcomes visitors to Cape Etomo Observatory.
You can see Daikoku Island in front of Cape Etomo Observatory. If the weather is beautiful, you can see the beautiful coastline towards Hakodate, and Mt. Usu and Mt. Yotei beyond the sea.
▲Daikoku Island is beyond the bank. The right mountain beyond the sea is Mt. Yotei, and the whitish mountain in the middle is Mt. Usu. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
If the weather is nice like this with blue sky and clear air, you won’t need anymore! The view is quite astonishing.
Nature near the town! “Masuichi Beach Observatory”Masuichi comes from Ainu language “Mashuichise” and it means the house of seagull. Many seabirds used to make nests here. As seabirds lived here, the coastline around the area contains lots of strangely shaped rocks and cliffs.
▲Masuichi Beach continues to have complicated rocks and coves. The left of the port at far back is central Muroran City.
It is about 20 minutes from Cape Etomo to Masuichi Beach by car taking Mt. Sokuryo Sightseeing Road.
There is also Masuichi Beach Observatory along the road and you can look down the coastline of Masuichi Beach.
It feels strange to find such natural scenery near the town!
There is also Masuichi Beach Observatory along the road, and you can look down the coastline of Masuichi Beach.
▲I found the candle rock sticking out from the sea between cliffs! It was about 300 meters towards Cape Etomo from Masuichi Beach Observatory. There was also a sign, so it was pretty easy to find it.
Great view during the day and at night! “scenery from Mt. Sokuryo”Mt. Sokuryo is one of the most famous sightseeing spots of Muroran as well as Cape Chikyu.
The elevation is about 200 meters, so it’s not really high, but you can get 360 degrees panoramic views from the observatory on the summit.
You can look down the city of Muroran, Shiratori Bridge crossing the sea, and mountains further such as Mt. Usu and Mt. Yotei, and coastline towards Hakodate and Komagatake, Cape Esan.
▲The beautiful view spot only about 8 minutes drive from Masuichi Beach and 10 minutes from JR Muroran Station.
The area around Mt. Sokuryo is well-known as a sanctuary of wild birds and stopping point of migratory birds. You will encounter many wild bird lovers with huge lenses near the observatory during the day.
On the other hand, many people gather to shoot pictures of night views from twilight.
▲Mt. Sokuryo Observatory is one of the most famous photo spots to take pictures of “Night views of Muroran Port”. You should definitely stop by here to see the views and take pictures! (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
By the way, the name of Mt. Sokuryo, which is unique, comes from the times when people measured for roads from the summit of this mountain during the Hokkaido development period.
At first, it was called Mt. Kento then changed the name to Mt. Sokuryo.
This place is a must-stop for both day and night if you come to Muroran.
Can you see the round earth? “Great views from Cape Chikyu”Cape Chikyu appears almost every time in pages of tourism websites and guidebooks introducing about Muroran. It’s a cape located on the cliff sticking out to the sea.
This is one of the most famous scenic sights of Muroran, attracting many tourist buses as well. It’s approximately 18 minutes drive from Mt. Sokuryo Observatory.
The place has restrooms, so it’s an essential sight and place to have rest during your tour of Muroran Hakkei.
▲Cape Chikyu lighthouse seen from the observatory. You can see the clear coastline of Hakodate! (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
People often say about the name Cape Chikyu (Cape Earth) that you can notice the round shape of the earth by seeing the coastline from the observatory. However, this is fake news!
Originally, Ainu people called the place “Poro Chikeppu” and the name changed from Chikkep, Chikeue, Chikiu, Chikyu and at some point, people started to use the same Kanji as the earth in Japanese (地球).
The person who thought of the Kanji may felt that the long coastline which makes him realize the circular shape of the earth and used the Kanji as it has the same sound.
If so, don’t you think he had a great taste of naming?
▲The observatory is on the cliff. (The picture is taken with a special permission)
▲Everyone rings the bell on the observatory!
Cape Chikyu is also famous for watching the first sunrise of the year. There might be many people in Hokkaido who have seen the first sunrise from here.
Most tourists to Muroran visit Cape Misaki. You can enjoy the fantastic scenery as it’s the most significant tourist destination in Muroran.
Shiny gold and silver! “Cliffs of Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu”Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu are located at different places, but it’s counted as one sight of Muroran Hakkei.
Kinbyobu is a site located in between Cape Chikyu and Tokkarisho which I will introduce in the next paragraph. It’s only one to two minutes drive from Cape Chikyu.
Cliffs continue for approximately 100 meters, and it looks like a golden folding screen (kinbyobu) when sunrise lights it.
▲The characteristics of Kinbyobu is its red-brown color of the cliffs. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
On the other hand, Ginbyobu is the cape along the coastline between Cape Etomo and Masuichi Beach. This looks like shining in silver when sunset lights it.
Both have an observatory, but they look more beautiful from the sea than looking from the land. Enjoy the stunning views from the sightseeing boat.
▲Ginbyobu seen from the sea. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
Amazing views! “Tokkarisho’s unique scenery”Tokkarisho is a beautiful coastline with wild cliffs as if someone cut the green land. It’s close to Kinbyobu, only one to two minutes by car.
The name is unique, but it comes from the Ainu language meaning seal rocks. There used to be many seals in this coastline.
▲It has an iconic scenery with strangely shaped rocks and peaceful green land. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
It’s not a forest, and it’s a bamboo grass bush on the cliffs. So it looks like someone had cut a matcha cake with a fork? This is an impressive scenery.
Must see and must shoot! “Night View of Muroran Port”The most notable sights of Muroran Hakkei is night views of Muroran Port! There are many view spots in the city including Mt. Sokuryo.
There are night views to look down from a hill and also night views to see from lower viewpoints such as near the sea.
The exciting part of Muroran’s night view is that people can enjoy different sceneries of port town at night depending on the height of viewpoints, angles, and directions.
▲The night view of Muroran Port seen from the observatory near Shiratori Bridge. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
▲The night view of Muroran Port from the industry area. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
▲The night view of Muroran Port from the industrial area. (The picture is provided by Muroran Tourist Association)
City lights, factory lights, Shiratori Bridge… which one would you like to put the central figure for your favorite night view?
There are numerous places to see night views so check out Muroran night view page of the Muroran Tourism Association’s website for details.
Did you like Muroran Hakkei?
You can visit all of them in a half day if you hurry, and you can spend a whole day to take your time to view different sceneries of night views.
Why don’t you go to Muroran Hakkei tour to enjoy the beautiful cityscapes and natural sceneries of Muroran?
Photo / nobu Kawashima, Muroran Tourist Association
Text / Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima