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Release | Takako Chiba

Cape Erimo and Kaze No Yakata are places that everyone should visit once in a lifetime


“Cape Erimo” is the tip of the inverted triangle in the bottom of Hokkaido, and located in Erimo-cho. 

There is a facility called “Kaze No Yakata” which are planned to be buried underground, and the view of Cape Erimo from here are astonishing!

Hokkaido Likers will give you a complete guide to enjoy the places where everyone should visit once in a lifetime.

Table of Contents

- Cape Erimo is very far - distance and time from major cities in Hokkaido
- Cape Erimo is a part of Hidaka Mountain Range underwater
- Go to the tip of the cape if you visit Cape Erimo
- Cape Erimo is not just sceneries
- Kaze No Yakata built underground
- Enjoy the Cape Erimo Observatory


Cape Erimo is very far - distance and time from major cities in Hokkaido

Let me point out this first: 
Cape Erimo is very far. 
- Sapporo to Cape Erimo is 223 km, approximately 4 hours drive by using expressway. 
- Shin-Chitose Airport to Cape Erimo is 190 km, approximately 3 hours 20 mins by using expressway. 
- Tomakomai to Cape Erimo is 182 km, approximately 3 hours 23 mins by using expressway.  
- Obihiro to Cape Erimo is 127 km, approximately 2 hours 19 mins by using expressway.  
For example, if you leave Sapporo at 9 am in the morning, it will be about 1 pm by the time you arrive Cape Erimo, without stopping anywhere. 

Let’s say you stay at Cape Erimo while having lunch and enjoying the views and leave Cape Erimo at 4 pm. It will be past 8 pm by the time you get back to Sapporo. 

えりも町襟裳岬▲It’s surprising that many people in Hokkaido have never been to Cape Erimo. 

By the way, if you arrive in Hakodate by Hokkaido Shinkansen and rent a car there to drive to Cape Erimo, 
- Hakodate to Cape Erimo is 433 km, approximately 6 hours and 35 mins by using expressways. 
There may be people who want to conquer the top and the bottom of Hokkaido. 
- Cape Soya in Wakkanai to Cape Erimo is 573 km, approximately 8 hours 46 mins by using expressways. 
You will be using both expressways and general roads to go to Cape Erimo from major cities in Hokkaido. The possibilities to be caught in traffic is very low unless there are accidents or closed roads, etc. 

Therefore, you can plan the trip to Cape Erimo using the time I listed. 

Of course, the distance and time above are all for one-way. 
Cape Erimo attracts people to visit even though it is very far. 

There are many scenic capes in Hokkaido such as Cape Soya, Cape Noshappu, Cape Kamui, Notoro Cape, Cape Nosappu, etc., all introduced in Hokkaido Likers. Among them, probably Cape Erimo is the most well-known to people outside of Hokkaido. 
Because the name became very famous from the Japan Record Awards winner “Cape Erimo” by Shinichi Mori. 

襟裳岬の歌碑▲There were two monuments engraved lyrics of “Cape Erimo” by Shinichi Mori and “Cape Erimo” by Chiyoko Shimakura. 

By the way, Chiyoko Shimakura also has a song called “Cape Erimo”. The 1974 Kohaku Uta Gassen (the annual year-end song festival in Japan) ended the festival with “Cape Erimo” by Chiyoko Shimakura from red team and “Cape Erimo” by Shinichi Mori from white team. This year ended with two Cape Erimo songs! 
* The distance and time are according to “Northern Road Navi”. 


Cape Erimo is a part of Hidaka Mountain Range underwater

Did you know that Cape Erimo is a part of Hidaka Mountain Range which is also called the backbone of Hokkaido?  
Cape Erimo is the tip of Mountain Range became lower and finally sank in the Pacific Ocean. 

I can understand because the tip of the cape continues with reefs.  

The reefs continue for 2 kilometers. 

北海道の先端襟裳岬 ▲I feel the power of nature if I think that reefs sticking out from the sea is parts of Hidaka Mountain Range sank in the water. 

A mountain called Erimo Sea Mountain exists under the water 185 kilometers south-east from Cape Erimo. 

The elevation of the sea mountain is approximately 4,200 meters. It is located deep underwater of the northernmost part of Japan Trench. The summit is at 3,735 meters underwater although the elevation is higher than Mt. Fuji. 


Go to the tip of the cape if you visit Cape Erimo

You should definitely walk to the tip of the cape if you have a chance to visit Cape Erimo. 

The promenades are hilly with many stairs but there are handrails on the sides and it’s well-maintained so easy to walk.  
襟裳岬の遊歩道▲You can reach the tip of the cape if you continue walking the promenade. 

襟裳岬最先端の看板▲This is the tipping point where people can walk to. I felt certain fulfillment when I got there. 

The origin of Cape Erimo came from the Ainu language “Onne Enrumu”. “Onne” means large and “Enrumu” means the tipping point = cape. 
“Erumu” also means mouse. The author of the name “Hokkaido”, Takeshiro Matsumoto, wrote “when Cape Erimo is seen from a distance, it seems like a mouse is laying down” in his book. Gentan Tani (Shimada) wrote, “the reefs at the tip looks like the thin and long tail of a mouse.” 

In the past, Ainu people lived here considered Cape Erimo as a sanctuary. They dedicated sacred sake and did not catch kelp because it’s a sacred place. 
Cape Erimo was designated as Japan’s designated cultural property Pirikanoka in 2010 because it is an excellent scenic spot with Ainu stories, traditions, places for players, and language. 
Pirikanoka means “beautiful shape” in Ainu language. 


Please enjoy the beautiful shape from different angles when you visit Cape Erimo. 


Cape Erimo is not just sceneries

Cape Erimo is one of the most beautiful scenic spots, and it will give visitors a fantastic experience from the beautiful shape called Pirikanoka, the Pacific Ocean in front of your eyes, and huge bluff and reef which expresses the power of the earth. 

However, there are more than sceneries to enjoy Cape Erimo. 
That is wind. 
Cape Erimo is one of the windiest places in Japan, having over 260 days in a year with wind speed 10m/s. It is usual to have over 30m/s wind speed here. 
According to Japan Meteorological Agency and Meteorological Observatory, wind speed over 10m/s and below 15m/s is “slightly strong wind”. You can assume that Cape Erimo is slightly windy almost every day. 

When Hokkaido Likers team visited Cape Erimo, the wind was powerful, and we felt like it was similar to a typhoon. 

Furthermore, winds come from all angles. Our hairstyle became a mess and conversations were interrupted by winds. We had to shout “What? What did you say?” “I! Said!”
Experiencing this strong wind is also an attraction of Cape Erimo so enjoy it with your whole body. 

Those with long hairs better tie your hair. Hold things easy to be blown away such as scarfs and hats or leave them in your car. 

Females should be careful with skirts, too.  

Kaze No Yakata built underground

When you arrive at Cape Erimo, you will notice a big parking area and “Cape Erimo Tourist Center” comes in front of your eyes where you can eat and shop. 
And an arch written “Kaze No Yakata” should probably catch your eyes. 

It says “Yakata” but where is the building? 

風の館のアプローチ▲The entrance of Kaze No Yakata. 

Cape Erimo is in Hidaka-sanmyaku Erimo Quasi-National Park, and there is Cape Erimo lighthouse to protect the safety of the sea. Kaze No Yakata was built underground to avoid covering the lights and ruining the scenery. 

This is the entrance of Kaze No Yakata. 

襟裳岬の突端方面から「風の館」を見る▲Kaze No Yakata looks like this when it’s seen from the tip of Cape Erimo. 

When I entered inside, the hallway was curved and I felt like I was losing directions. 

Kaze No Yakata’s design is inspired by “Karman vortex” which is created by winds. 

“Karman vortex” is air swirls created at downwind sides when a strong wind hits something columnar such as thin branches. 

It may be easy if you imagine the curly swirls.  


風の館の通路▲Can you see the hallway is not straight and curved? This is the design inspired by swirls. 

“Kaze No Yakata” is a facility under the theme of winds as Cape Erimo is famous for strong winds. You can learn about details of Karman vortex, winds in Japan and the world, etc. 
Other than that, there are “Kaze No Theater” introduces seals, kelp catching in Erimo-Cho, and salmon catching, etc., exhibitions of Erimo-Cho, and a gift shop, etc. 
えりもの風体験コーナー▲The most popular exhibition of the facility is Erimo wind experience.  

And Erimo wind experience allows you to experience wind speed 25m/s. 

The time is scheduled so we recommend to see around the facility until the starting time. 

Staffs will announce when the time comes. 


“Cape Misaki Observatory” is a place makes you forget the time

The most recommended place from Hokkaido Likers in Kaze No Yakata is Cape Misaki Observatory. 

It’s the observatory covered with glasses and faced to the tip of Cape Erimo. 

「展望襟裳岬」から襟裳岬を望む▲Seeing Cape Erimo from Cape Erimo Observatory. 

As I have said, slightly strong winds blow all the time outside. 

However, you can enjoy the scenery without strong winds at Cape Erimo Observatory. 

展望襟裳岬▲There are also telescopes. 

You can see the Pacific Ocean Cape Erimo from benches. 

There are no special movements in this scenery, but I felt like I understood why Ainu people considered this place as a sanctuary when I was looking at cape and reefs continuing far and white waves hitting the rocks.   
展望襟裳岬のベンチ▲Benches are built on stairs so it’s easy to enjoy the scenery.  

You can, of course, enjoy the scenery here but if you look into a telescope…

襟裳岬で見られるゼニガタアザラシ▲Can you see a seal in the middle of this picture? 
You may be able to find harbor seals on reefs sticking from the tip of the cape. 

When I found a seal in the telescope, I could not resist screaming that I found one. 

Seals don’t visit the cape all the time. The information about seals will be posted at the entrance of Kaze No Yakata, so don’t forget to check out. 
The song said “There is nothing in spring of Erimo”, but that is not true! 

You can enjoy Cape Erimo fully just with the spectacular beauty of nature leaving the memory of the birth of Hokkaido and strong winds blowing as if it’s taking away everything! 

Related Links

- Kaze No Yakata
- Erimo-Cho official tourism guide “Kaze No Machi Erimo Kanko-Navi”
  • Cape Erimo and Kaze No Yakata are places that everyone should visit once in a lifetime

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Takako Chiba