Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (2) Ishikari to Mashike: Drive along the coastline with an aftertaste of herrings soba noodles’ soup
This is a series of articles to introduce my journey to go around the coastline of Hokkaido. In this second article, I will introduce from “Hamanasu-no-oka Park” in Ishikari City to “Former Mashike Station” in Mashike-Cho. I drove the coastline with winds and waves and took a break to taste herrings soba noodles.
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Hamanasu-no-oka Park in Ishikari City to Former Mashike Station in Mashike-cho
- Hamanasu-no-oka Park to Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta”: Herring soba is a must-have!
- Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta” to Shiragane Waterfall: Ofuyu, an inaccessible land in the past
- Shiragane Waterfall to Former Mashike Station: the town of Mashike colored by sunset
About the series: Going around HokkaidoThis is the first article of the series to introduce my journey to go around Hokkaido. I will introduce my relaxing trip about visiting cities and towns, enjoying beautiful views, having delicious foods, and encountering to fascinating people.
Below are the basic rules about the project:
- Basically, drive only National Routes or Hokkaido Roads along coastlines.
- I can use municipal roads near central towns, promontories, etc. However, I try not to use community roads and private roads.
- I only drive the mainland of Hokkaido. (I’m sorry to those live in islands!)
- I drive from the sunrise to the sunset to enjoy the views.
- I divide my journey into a few times according to the coverage schedule.
About the route: From Hamanasu-no-oka Park in Ishikari City to Former Mashike Station in Mashike-cho
▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
Hamanasu-no-oka Park to Former Mashike Station
Mileage: Approx. 96 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 120 mins (except breaks and time to stop at sightseeing spots)
Check the detailed map from the link below!
Going around Hokkaido
You can find the first article of the series here:
Going around Hokkaido (1) Otaru to Ishikari: Have a big breakfast and drive towards Hamanasu-no-oka
Hamanasu-no-oka Park to Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta”: Herring soba is a must-have!Hamanasu-no-oka Park to Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta”
Mileage: Approx. 28 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 40 mins
I left “Hamanasu-no-oka Park” in Ishikari City some time past noon with light rains.
▲Leaving the cute lighthouse with red and white patterns, let’s go!
The landscape near Hamanasu-no-oka Park is like a long cape in between Ishikari River and the Sea of Japan.
Therefore, although I am heading north from here, I drove down to the south to take a U-turn near the park.
Passing the port town near the mouth of Ishikari River and took the turn to the left at the traffic light.
And turn left again and merged to the National Route no. 231.
▲Heading towards the north by driving the bridge near the mouth of Ishikari River, which is the biggest river in Hokkaido.
After crossing Ishikari River, I will be apart from watery landscapes.
There were fewer and fewer buildings along the street and more farms and forests appeared.
After driving for about 10 mins, I noticed the ocean far away when the road became a downslope.
I found a parking area in a good place, so I parked a car for a while.
▲It is called Mourai Parking or Mourai View Parking. It must be beautiful on a sunny day!
As I went down the slope, I took the road near the coastline, away from the national route, to make a short cut in Mourai area. After a while, I merged with the national route again to continue my journey.
There will be not many commercial facilities on the route from Ishikari City to Mashike-Cho.
Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta” is one of the precious places with bathrooms and restaurants to take a break.
You will arrive here in approximately 15 mins from the Mourai area.
▲Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta” is located on the right side of the direction of travel.
Let’s have a meal here.
There is a shop on the first floor which sells local specialties, and a soba restaurant offers 100% soba noodles using soba powders produced in Atsuta. A food court and an exhibition area about the area’s history are on the second floor.
▲You can spend the time as you like: buy the famous jelly and puddings from the popular coffee shop or have a scoop of gelato at the food court on the second floor.
▲The view from the second floor was very nice! The view from the rooftop was also fascinating.
▲I studied the history and environment of the area. It was really interesting.
I had a late lunch here.
I went to “Atsuta Soba Ichijun” on the first floor, which I heard it’s really good.
▲Hitomi Morita, the manager, told me that they extract the soup every morning.
I had a bite of the soba.
▲Why can they make the flavor of soup this strong! The taste of soba was also strong.
This bowl of soba made me want to enjoy the aroma of soba fully, chew big pieces of herrings simmered with soy sauce and sugar, and drink until the last dip of thick soup.
This was something unbelievably delicious!
I continued the journey with a pleasant aftertaste of the soba noodles.
Hokkaido Likers’ article about soba noodles and A’i Road Atsuta
Take a break at Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta”! 100% soba noodles and pizza are the must-try!
Michi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta” to Shiragane Waterfall: Ofuyu, an inaccessible land in the pastMichi No Eki Ishikari “A’i Road Atsuta” to Shiragane Waterfall
Mileage: Approx. 45 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 50 mins
When you look at the area in a map, the national route seems like it continues along the coastline, but in truth, it gets near to and far from the coastline over and over because of ups and downs in the road.
It’s closer to imagine driving in the mountains rather than along a coastline.
▲I passed a difficult place name. It reads “Gokibiru” with characters 濃昼.
I kind of relieved when I reach flat areas along the coastline.
▲After driving approximately 30 mins from the Michi No Eki, I passed the beach in Hamamasu area.
▲The weather was not so lovely, but I still felt nice when I came near the beach.
After I took a short break at the beach, I started driving again.
Ofuyu area, where I am heading, is an area having coastlines with cliffs. It’s only about 30 years since cars became able to pass all year around.
Before that, there was not a road and ships were the only transportation available. Because of that, Ofuyu area was long called as an inaccessible land.
I arrived at Ofuyu area after a long, long tunnel which made me anxious where is the exit.
There is a parking area on the right near the exit of the tunnel. Shiragane Waterfall is just next to the parking.
▲There is a public bathroom near the waterfall, so it’s a great spot to see a beautiful waterfall and take a break.
There are many activities and view spots to experience great nature in Ofuyu area. I would be glad to enjoy those if I have time.
▲The view from Ofuyu Cape Observation Deck was fascinating!
▲You can experience wild nature as if you are on an exploration with the SUP experience.
However, I left Otaru City in the early morning and spent much time near Hamanasu-no-oka Park in Ishikari City and Michi No Eki during the day.
I thought I might not be able to arrive at my destination while the sun is out if I take too many breaks.
I should have planned about my timetable more carefully…
Shiragane Waterfall to Former Mashike Station: the town of Mashike colored by sunsetShiragane Waterfall to Former Mashike Station
Mileage: Approx. 23 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins
After passing the Ofuyu area, many curves and sometimes long tunnels continued near the coastline with cliffs.
▲It was mid-June when I visited the area. It was still bright, but it was already past 6:30 PM.
After driving the coastline a while, I passed the mountain pass which was very different from what I imagined of a road along a coast, went back to the coastline and saw the town of Mashike-Cho with lights.
After passing the town with many historical buildings, I arrived at the Former Mashike Station.
▲I arrived at the Former Mashike Station. It was near the summer solstice, but it became a little dark at past 7:00 PM.
Mashike Station was the last stop of the JR Rumoi Line, and it ended the business in December 2016.
Now the station building is turned into a sightseeing spot after few renovations.
▲You can visit to see the station building and the former platform of Mashike Station. I will come back here the next day to see it more thoroughly.
▲Mashike is a town full of attractions. The building of Kunimare Sake Brewery colored with sunset looked beautiful.
This is the end of the second article of the series.
I was planning to drive to Rumoi City, but I ended the day at Mashike-Cho because the sun went down.
In the next article, I plan to go north along the Sea of Japan after seeing Former Mashike Station, etc.
I will continue my journey in a heavy rain towards the Michi No Eki in Obira-Cho.
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima
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