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What to do after arriving in Hokkaido via the Miyaran Route - a perfect guide from a local writer!

The “Miyaran Route” which connects Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture and Muroran City in Hokkaido started in June 2018. 
“What is there in Muroran? I am not familiar with the map over there. What should I do after arriving there?” 
I, a local writer who currently lives in Muroran, thought ideas about what you should do to answer those questions! 


Let’s learn about “Miyaran Ferry” first, what was it? 

The governors of Miyako City and Muroran City named this new route “Miyaran Route,” by taking parts of names of both cities, Miyako City and Muroran City. Let’s check out the timetable and basic information of the ship! 

The timetable of Miyaran Route * As of April 2019

Miyako to Muroran
Leaves at 9:25 AM and arrives at 7:25 PM. 

Muroran to Miyako via Hachinohe
Leaves at 8:50 PM and stops at Hachinohe at 3:30 AM on the next day. Then leaves Hachinohe at 4:00 AM and arrives Miyako at 7:55 AM.

The ship’s name is “Silver Queen”!

シルバークイーンThe picture is provided by Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. 

Gross tonnage: 7,005t
Sea speed: 20.7 knots
Length: 134.0 meters
The prescribed number of passengers: 600 people
Vehicle carrying capacity: 69 trucks and 20 cars

As for guest rooms, you can choose from the famous second-class cabins, staterooms almost like a hotel, first-class Western and Japanese style cabins, and second-class berths. 
Enjoy your journey with observatory bath and auto-restaurants. 

特等The picture is provided by Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.

展望浴室The picture is provided by Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.

海からThe picture is provided by Muroran Tourism Association (The picture is for an image) 

You will be able to get a view of the famous factory night views of Muroran when entering the port, so it’s nice to see them while you prepare to get off the ship. 


Three patterns to spend a night after arriving in Muroran

The ship arrives in Muroran at 7:25 PM and it will be around 8:00 PM because it takes a while to prepare to be ready for passengers to get off the ship. 
I will show you three patterns to spend a night here after arriving in Muroran from a local’s point of view: Enjoying Chuo-Cho and Nakajima-Cho in Muroran City and heading to onsen resorts by a car.


Enjoy the first night of the day fully but not forgetting to eat and finding a place to stay! After arriving at the ferry terminal, turn right at this blue sign. 



1) Spend an authentic night at Chuo-Cho in Muroran City. 

If you want to enjoy nightlife right after arriving in Muroran, you should choose this plan.
Chuo-Cho, a district close to the ferry terminal, leaves the history of Muroran strongly as this area developed when Muroran was most flourished by the iron industry. 
Because of that, there are many long-established restaurants loved by locals for a long time. For example, there is a long-standing restaurant for “Muroran Yakitori.” 



・・・There are many famous restaurants scattered around quite a large area, so it does not look too exciting from the picture, but please randomly walk around the streets as if you are an explorer! 


Of course, the number of restaurants has decreased compared to the past, but you can still enjoy talking with locals and unique atmosphere of shopping streets at night. In this area, you will surely be able to feel something local. 
This area is also helpful to prepare for the next day because it’s only about 15 mins to the Muroran IC. 


2)  Explore the downtown in the east, Nakajima-Cho! 

Nakajima-Cho is approximately 15 mins drive from the ferry terminal. 
Compared to Chuo-Cho, where you can feel the history from the town itself, Nakajima-Cho is newer downtown. As there is the Muroran Institute of Technology, I felt younger people more like to visit this area. 
The area is becoming a place where people can casually enjoy their nightlife with new hotels, stylish Italian restaurants, and large shopping malls.



Of course, there are many places where you can try “Muroran Yakitori.” 
Many restaurants and bars gather along the 200 meters street from “Nagasakiya,” the symbol of the downtown. Be careful not to drink too much! 
If you visit Muroran, you should have “Muroran Curry Ramen” after drinking to end the night! 


It will be a bit apart from the downtown, but there is an onsen facility called “Rakuraku Onsen” near JR Higashi-Muroran Station which opens until late at night. If you want to heal your fatigue from traveling on a ship, I recommend visiting here as well. 


3) Drive to onsen resorts! 

Muroran City is located in between Toyako Onsen and Noboribetsu Onsen. I heard that recently, some travelers stay in Muroran and visit multiple onsens as day trips. 
Well, if you put visiting an onsen as the primary objective of your travel, you should not have time to think. Head to onsen resorts as fast as you can by crossing Shiratori Ohashi Bridge with beautiful lights. 

白鳥大橋The picture is provided by Muroran Tourism Association

How to get to Toyako Onsen from Muroran
About 45 mins drive by using expressways. 
Drive to Muroran IC by crossing Shiratori Ohashi Bridge from Muroran Port Ferry Terminal. Keep driving towards the direction to Oshamanbe. 
Get off at Abuta Toyako IC, and you will reach to Toyako Onsen in approximately 10 mins via the National Route 230. 

How to get to Noboribetsu Onsen from Muroran
About 40 mins drive by using expressways.
Drive to Muroran IC by crossing Shiratori Ohashi Bridge from Muroran Port Ferry Terminal. Keep driving towards the direction to Sapporo. 
Get off at Noboribetsu-Higashi IC and head to the direction where red demons lead. 

歓迎鬼The picture is provided by Nobotibetsu International Tourism & Convention Association

If you head to an onsen, it will be 9:00 PM at the earliest by the time you arrive at onsen resorts. Therefore, there is almost no choice of eating dinner over there. 
Give up having something great within the day and enjoy renowned onsen bath as much as you can. 

How was it? 
I showed how to enjoy around Muroran, but if you have a car, you can reach to Sapporo within the day you arrive (approx. 2 hours drive). 
It’s only 3 hours to Hakodate, too! 
I wish fun boat journey and Hokkaido journey by planning well for both people who aim for something local and who aims to get as much as they want within a short time. 
  • What to do after arriving in Hokkaido via the Miyaran Route -  a perfect guide from a local writer!

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Daisuke Sato