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Release | nobu Kawashima

Going around Hokkaido (3) Mashike to Kodaira: Head towards the north as I touch the history by visiting sites

▲The picture is provided by Rumoi Tourist Association


This is a part of the series of articles to introduce my journey to drive around the coastline of Hokkaido.

This is the third article of the series. 
I will drive to “Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya” in Obira-Cho from “Mashike Station” in Mashike-Cho via “Golden Cape Seaside Park” in Rumoi City. 

I felt many pieces of history in this part of my trip and explored the history of the area as I drove. 

 

Table of Contents

- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Mashike Station in Mashike-Cho to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya in Obira-Cho
- Mashike Station: There are no more trains but many tourists
- Mashike Station to Golden Cape Kaihin Park: The rain was too hard but would look beautiful on a sunny day! 
- Golden Cape Kaihin Park to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya: Rain, rain, and rain
- Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya: I thought about the time when the area flourished as I have Sanpei-Jiru




 

About the series: Going around Hokkaido

This 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 Mashike Station in Mashike-Cho to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya in Obira-Cho



増毛→小平(Google My Maps)▲The route of this article (Google My Maps) 


Mashike Station to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya
Mileage: Approx. 43 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 65 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 (2) Ishikari to Mashike: Drive along the coastline with an aftertaste of herrings soba noodles’ soup

 

Mashike Station: There are no more trains but many tourists

I visited the town of Mashike-Cho on the morning of a day in June. 


 


Unfortunately, it was raining. 
Well, not just raining but it was raining pretty hard. Also, the wind was strong. 

I was afraid that roads along the coastline might close due to bad weather, but it seemed okay on that day. 
I decided to continue my journey. 

 
出発前の記念に自撮りを試みるものの、雨がじゃんじゃん降って濡れまくるし、風が吹きつけて傘も髪の毛も爆発。自撮り無理っす…▲I tried to take a picture of myself before I left the hotel, but it was raining very hard which made me very wet, the wind made my umbrella broke and my hair messy. I gave up taking a selfie. 


The amount of fun becomes about half of a sunny day when it’s raining. 

I have plenty of time, so let’s not drive too much and take time to see indoor facilities and sightseeing facilities. 

So let me look around sights in Mashike-Cho such as Mashike Station. 



 

Mashike Station was the last stop of JR Rumoi Honsen Line. 
As JR terminated operating trains from Rumoi Station to Mashike Station in December 2016, Mashike Station ended its life as a station. 

 
こうして見ると今にも列車がやってきそう!でも、もうここに列車がやってくることはありません▲It looks as if a train comes anytime! However, there will be no trains stopping here. 


Mashike-Cho has developed around the station so to leave the history of Mashike-Cho with trains; they decided to renovate the former station and turn into a museum. 

 
元駅舎は1921(大正10)年開業当時の大きさに改修し、外壁を板張りに張り替えて昔の姿に近づけたそうです▲The former station building was renovated to the size when the station started operation in 1921. They made the building look closer to the past days by changing into wooden walls. 

 
丸い電球が吊り下がる館内。昔の雰囲気を感じます▲The inside of the museum had many ball-shaped lights. It creates an atmosphere in the past. 


I visited there in the morning of a weekday but found a few people look like tourists. 

Although there are no customers to use trains there are still many people visit this place. 
Infrastructure which became unuseful is not a debt but a precious historical resource. They are often essential tourism resources from an outsider’s view. 


 


There are many ruins of development in all parts of Hokkaido such as railway ruins and mine ruins. I felt that it would be great if there were more places where preserve such things as Mashike-Cho did. Of course, I imagine that there are many conditions of community, money, and other reasons why they can’t do that…

Learn more about Mashike Station! 
The last stop with 95 years of history - JR Rumoi Honsen Mashike Station -

 

Mashike Station to Golden Cape Kaihin Park: The rain was too hard but would look beautiful on a sunny day! 

Mashike Station to Golden Cape Kaihin Park
Mileage: Approx. 18 kilometers (Including detour within Mashike-Cho)
The time required: Approx. 30 mins


There are many tourist destinations in Mashike-Cho. 
I drove to Golden Cape Kaihin Park in Rumoi City after looking a few of them. 

Learn more about sights:
"Historic Buildings in Mashike Town" - The 11th entry in our Hokkaido Heritage Series.

Kunimare Sake Brewery which is known as the northernmost sake brewery in Japan is one of the most famous sites. 

 
国稀酒造へは増毛駅跡から車にて2、3分▲It is about two to three mins drive to Kunimare Sake Brewery from Mashike Station. 


I could not sample sake because I was driving a car, but I can have this one! 

 
酒かすアイスをテイクアウト。もちろんノンアルコールです▲Sake lees ice. Of course, it does not have any alcohol content in it. 


After enjoying my dessert time in the morning, I left the town of Mashike. 

After passing Mashike Station, buildings disappeared and noticed the ocean on the left. 

 
晴れていればかなり爽快な眺めであるはず…▲It should be a fantastic view if it’s a sunny day…


The rain became harder. 
My car got splashes from oncoming vehicles a few times. I had to use windshield wipers fully.  

It wasn’t a perfect day to enjoy a driving trip. 
However, we cannot do anything about the weather. I should think that there are days like this. 

 
道路の右手には廃止になった留萌本線の線路跡が時折見え隠れします▲I noticed ruins of Rumoi Honsen Line’s railroads which ended its operation on the right side.


After driving along the coastline, the road merged to a National Route. 

Some buildings started to appear after driving for about 20 mins from Mashike-Cho. 
I turned left from the National Route which continues to the downtown of Rumoi City and continued driving along the coastline. 

I arrived at Golden Cape Kaihin Park after four or five mins from the left turn from the National Route. 

This place is supposed to be one of the most picturesque places in the neighborhood, however…



 

雨風強く空は真っ白。でも海は見えるので気持ちよし!▲Wind and rain were too hard, and the sky was gray. I still had a view of the ocean, so it’s alright! 


It looks like this on a sunny day. 

 
海の向こうには今まで走ってきた増毛町の海岸線と、暑寒別岳などの山々が見えます(写真提供:留萌観光協会)▲You will be able to see the coastline of Mashike-Cho, where I was driving, and mountains such as Mt. Shokanbetsu. (The picture is provided by Rumoi Tourist Association) 


This place was a lookout for herrings fishing. It shined like golds when sunset lit group of herrings, so the place became to be called Golden Cape. 

 
黄金岬は夕陽の名所として有名。これはぜひリベンジしないと!(写真提供:留萌観光協会)▲Golden Cape is famous for a place to see the sunset! I should visit here again. (The picture is provided by Rumoi Tourist Association) 


I imagined how beautiful it would be by seeing beautiful pictures of Golden Cape on my smartphone. I left for the next destination after seeing imaginary views. 

 

Golden Cape Kaihin Park to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya: Rain, rain, and rain

Golden Cape Kaihin Park to Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya
Mileage: Approx. 25 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 35 mins


I kept driving the coastline of Rumoi City from Golden Cape Kaihin Park. I saw ports of the left and the town of the right as I drove. 

 
道路脇で途切れた線路を発見。廃線跡、ちょっとせつない…▲I found a ruin of a railroad which was cut in the middle. The ruins of the railroad made me feel sad. 


There are many restaurants in the downtown of Rumoi City, and I wanted to stop by but decided to keep driving this time. 

The road was called National Route 231 to Rumoi City, but it changes to National Route 232 from Rumoi City. Both routes are along the Sea of Japan and commonly called Ororon Line. 

The scenery of the town ended after crossing a bridge near the mouth of Rumoi River. I kept driving the National Route as I saw the ocean on the left. 





The next destination Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya is a roadside station in Obira-Cho, the town in the north of Rumoi City. 

I arrived in the town of Obira-Cho in about 20 mins from Golden Cape Kaihin Koen. The roadside station is on the right after driving 10 to 15 mins from the town. 

Let me check out here as I take a break. 

 

Michi No Eki Obira Nishin Banya: I thought about the time when the area flourished as I have Sanpei-Jiru

The Michi No Eki is divided into three areas. 

Tourism Exchange Center: Offering local products and exhibitions at the Historical and Cultural Preservation Exhibition Hall
Restaurant: You can enjoy fresh seafood
Former Hanada Family’s Cottage: One of the largest herring fishermen’s cottages in Hokkaido, built in 1905. It is designated as Important Cultural Properties. 

 
観光交流センターの吹き抜けホールの壁一面には、実際に使われていた大漁旗が飾られています(写真提供:小平町役場)▲The hallway of Tourism Exchange Center displays many Tairyo Flags which were actually used in the past. (The picture is provided by Obira-Cho town hall)

 
「歴史文化保存展示ホール」には昔の農具などさまざまな備品が展示されています(写真提供:小平町役場)▲Historical and Cultural Preservation Exhibition Hall exhibits various living supplies such as farming implements, etc. (The picture is provided by Obira-Cho town hall)

 
国の重要文化財に指定されている「旧花田家番屋」。見学可能です(写真提供:小平町教育委員会)▲“Former Hanada Family’s Cottage” is designated as Important Cultural Properties. You can take a look around the house. (The picture is provided by Obira-Cho town hall)


Let’s see the inside. 

This is a cottage built when the area flourished from herring fishing in the Meiji Period, by herrings fishermen Hanada Family, who was in charge of herrings fishing grounds in this area. 

By the way, this cottage worked as a house of the manager of fishing grounds and accommodation of fishers. 

 
北海道に現存する番屋の中で最大規模というだけあり、中は広々。とても大きな空間です。(写真提供:小平町教育委員会)▲As it’s one of the biggest herrings fishermen’s cottages left in Hokkaido now, it was really spacious. (The picture is provided by Obira-Cho town hall)


I heard that nearly 200 people lived in this cottage at the peak period. It must have been pretty lively. 

They display many living supplies and fishing implements in the cottage. It is a great place to spend as much time you can to learn many things about history. 

 






 

 

 

I felt like I became smarter by touching a part of the history and culture of the area. Let’s see the restaurant to fill my appetite after filling my intellectual curiosity. 

They offer various menus using local seafood such as sashimi rice bowl, herrings rice bowl, sashimi set meal, and grilled herring set meal, etc. 


Everything looks delicious, but I would recommend Sanpei-Jiru if you are looking for something light. 


Sanpei-Jiru is Hokkaido’s local dish. 
It’s a soup made with salted fish such as herrings and salmons, root vegetables such as daikon radish and carrots which preserve well for a long time, flavored with Konbu dashi broth, etc. 

 
三平汁(写真提供:小平町役場)▲Sanpei-Jiru is 550 yen including tax. (The picture is provided by Obira-Cho town hall)


This Sanpei-Jiru uses herrings. I found chunks of it and the amount felt enough. 

Moreover, the soup had plenty of root vegetables, so it filled my stomach. It seems like it would be a good enough lunch if you add one or two rice balls with it. 

 
The nice smell of soup with herrings and flavors of vegetables came through my nose. The soup tasted just right, not too salty although containing salted fish. 

This was delicious! I drank all the soup! 


If you are hungry, you should choose rice bowls and set meals, but if you want something right, Sanpei-Jiru is a perfect choice! The amount is just right, and it was really delicious. 


This is the end of this article. 
I will leave Obira-Cho, enjoy the hidden food in Haboro-Cho, and drive towards onsen in Teshio-Cho in the next article. 
  • Going around Hokkaido (3) Mashike to Kodaira: Head towards the north as I touch the history by visiting sites
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