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Going around Hokkaido (5) Teshio to Wakkanai Cape Noshapu: Getting close to Mt. Rishiri, driving further than uncultivated fields




This is one of the series of articles to drive along the coastline of Hokkaido.

In this fifth article, I will drive towards the northernmost city in Japan, Wakkanai City. 


On the way from “Teshio Onsen Yubae” in Teshio-Cho and “Cape Noshappu” in Wakkanai City, enormous uncultivated fields appeared, and Mr. Rishiri across the sea became more and more closer! 

This is the most scenic route that is perfect to end driving Ororon Line started from near Ishikari City.


利尻礼文サロベツ国立公園(写真提供:天塩町在住Sさん)▲Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park (The picture is provided by S, who currently lives in Teshio-Cho)

 

Table of Contents

- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Teshio Onsen Yubae in Teshio-Cho to Cape Noshappu in Wakkanai City
- Teshio Onsen Yubae in Teshio-Cho to Sarobetsu Field Car Park in Horonobe-Cho: Teshio River and the fields were magnificent
- Sarobetsu Field Car Park in Horonobe-Cho to Kouhone No Ie in Wakkanai City: From the equator to the North Pole? 
- Kouhone No Ie in Wakkanai City to Cape Noshappu in Wakkanai City: Toward the tip of Japan


 
ノシャップ岬を目指します(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲I will drive towards Cape Noshappu. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)

 

About the series: Going around Hokkaido

This is a part of the series of articles 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 Teshio Onsen Yubae in Teshio-Cho to Cape Noshappu in Wakkanai City


 
ぐるり北海道一周   Google マイマップ 5天塩稚内▲The route of this article (Google My Maps) 


Teshio Onsen Yubae to Cape Noshappu
Mileage: Approx. 71 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 1 hour 15 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 previous article of the series here: 
Going around Hokkaido (4) Obira to Teshio: Continue driving the Ororon Line towards Kaisen-Don and onsen


Teshio Onsen Yubae in Teshio-Cho to Sarobetsu Field Car Park in Horonobe-Cho: Teshio River and the fields were magnificen

Teshio Onsen Yubari to Sarobetsu Field Car Park
Mileage: Approx. 13 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 15 mins


“Teshio Onsen Yubae” is an onsen facility where you can enjoy the view of the sunset and hot spring that is good for the skin. 

 
独特な温泉の匂いには驚きますが、湯上がりはしっとり肌になりますよ♪▲The unique smell of hot spring surprised me at first, but my skin became smooth after bathing. 

 
施設内のレストランでは、天塩町名産のしじみをたっぷり使ったしじみラーメンも楽しめます▲You can try Shijimi ramen using plenty of Teshio-Cho’s local specialty basket clams in the restaurant of the facility. 


After resting a while to freshen up, let’s start driving again towards the northernmost place in Japan! 

We have been using National Route no. 232 from Rumoi City to Teshio-Cho. From now on, we go apart from the national route and use Hokkaido Road along the Sea of Japan. 

By the way, Hokkaido Road might sound strange to those who are from outside of Hokkaido. It’s the same as prefectural roads in other prefectures. 


After driving Hokkaido Road for a while, I got out of the town and crossed a massive bridge on the downstream of Teshio River. 


せっかくのドライブでしたがザーザー降りの雨…▲Oh, it started to rain…

 
川の向こう、遠くに風力発電の風車がずらっと並んでいます▲I noticed many windmills for wind power generations far away over the river. 


Teshio River is the second longest river in Hokkaido and fourth in Japan following Shinano River, Tonegawa River, and Ishikari River. It flows northern Hokkaido and into the Sea of Japan at the town of Teshio-Cho. 

Not many places do shore protection works for Teshio River, which means you can enjoy the same natural view of the river that had not changed from ancient times. 

 
晴天時の様子。悠々と流れる天塩川と周辺の風景は雄大!(写真提供:天塩町在住Sさん)▲The view when it’s sunny. The gigantic Teshio River and the landscape are magnificent! (The picture is provided by S, who currently lives in Teshio-Cho)


Teshio-Cho’s local specialty basket clams are caught around here; downstream and tributary areas of Teshio River and marshes in the neighborhood. 


The landscape changes after crossing the bridge. Enormous uncultivated fields continued forever. 


遠くに見えていた風車の近くまで来ました▲I came closer to the windmills I saw from far away. 


The scenery looks more beautiful on a sunny day! This is really a fantastic driving route. 

 
左手に利尻富士を眺めながら進みます(写真提供:天塩町在住Sさん)▲Keep driving as you see Mt. Rishiri on the left. (The picture is provided by S, who currently lives in Teshio-Cho)

 
とにかく広い!原野が続く、どこまでも(写真提供:天塩町在住Sさん)▲The field is enormous! The uncultivated fields continued forever. (The picture is provided by S, who currently lives in Teshio-Cho)


After driving while from the windmills, there is a parking area called “Sarobetsu Field Car Park.” Let’s take a short break here. 

 
雄大な原野でゆっくり記念撮影するならこちらへどうぞ。トイレもありますよ▲If you want to take a picture of the field, stop by here. There are also restrooms. 

 
訪れた日は駐車場脇の原野に「エゾカンゾウ」などの花が咲いていました▲When I visited the parking, I noticed flowers such as Ezo kanzo. 

 

Sarobetsu Field Car Park in Horonobe-Cho to Kouhone No Ie in Wakkanai City: From the equator to the North Pole? 

Sarobetsu Field Car Park to Kouhone No Ie
Mileage: Approx. 35 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins *The time does not count the time I stopped



After driving one to two mins from Sarobetsu Field Car Park, I noticed a large shelter with a shape like a fishcake. This is an emergency shelter that people can use during a snowstorm, etc., in winter. 


There is an “N” shaped monument on the left before the shelter. 

 
駐車スペースは乗用車数台停められる程度ですが、ぜひ小休止したいポイント▲There is only parking space for a few cars, but I would like to recommend stopping here. 


This is the North latitude 45-degree point in Horonobe-Cho. 

North latitude 45 degree means it’s the middle of the equator and the North Pole. 

If we cut the earth into eight pieces like watermelon, this would be the cutting point. 

From here to the south is closer to the equator and from here to the north is closer to the North Pole. 
When you consider your journey is crossing that point, doesn’t it sound a bit romantic? 

 
モニュメントの赤いライン部分が北緯45度▲The red line of the monument is North latitude 45 degrees. 


Ok, let’s keep driving towards the North Pole! 

After passing the fishcake-shaped shelter, uncultivated fields continued again. 


When I entered Toyotomi-Cho from Horonobe-Cho, I stopped for the traffic lights after a long time. 

Actually, it was the first traffic light in 20 some kilometers from Teshio-Cho. 


Turn right here and drive for a few minutes. There is Sarobetsu Marsh Center where you can enjoy marsh walking.
Stop by if you have spare time! 

This time I did not turn right and kept driving towards the north. 

I entered Wakkanai City from Toyotomi-Cho. 

The landscape changed from the vast fields to the low hilly area before I knew. 

 
稚内西海岸の道路。緩やかなアップダウンが続きます(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲The road on the west coast of Wakkanai. The gentle hilly area continues. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


Unfortunately, the weather was bad when I visited so I the view of the ocean on the left was all white, but Mt. Rishiri on the ocean should appear really close on a sunny day. 

I noticed a wooden building on the left after driving a while. This was “Kouhone No Ie.” 

 
雨のためか、6月下旬の14時過ぎでしたが気温はなんと8度、ちょっと(だいぶ!?)ひんやり▲Because it was raining, the temperature was surprisingly 8 degrees at past two in the afternoon in late June. It was a little (a lot!) chilly. 

 
晴れだとこんなステキな場所!背後の山は海の向こう、利尻島の利尻富士です(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲The place looks like this on a sunny day. The mountain on the back is Mt. Rishiri in Rishiri Island across the sea. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


Kouhone No Ie is actually a nickname, and its official name is “Hamayuchi Observation and Resting Facility.” 

You can go up to the rooftop of the building and get the view of beautiful Mt. Rishiri on the Sea of Japan and sunset. 


“Kouhone” is a plant like a water lily. 
You can see yellow flowers from early summer to summer at “Kouhone Marsh” in between Kouhone No Ie and the Sea of Japan. 


コウホネの花(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲The Kouhone flowers (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


ハマナスも咲いています(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲There are also Hamanasu flowers (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)

 
沼の周辺には散策路があり、自由に歩いて回れます▲There are promenades around the marsh, and visitors can walk freely. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


You can also go to the beach from here. 

Although this journey drives the coastline, there are not many places where you can get close to the sea. 
Enjoy not only around the marsh but also the view of ocean here! 

 

Kouhone No Ie in Wakkanai City to Cape Noshappu in Wakkanai City: Toward the tip of Japan

Kouhone No Ie to Cape Noshappu
Mileage: Approx. 23 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins



After walking around the marsh to see wildflowers, let’s drive again for a little more to the goal today. 

After driving a few minutes from Kouhone No Ie, I noticed a huge rock and fishing port. 
It was Bakkai Area in Wakkanai City. 

The name Bakkai comes from the Ainu language “Pakkai Pe,” meaning “the thing carries children on one’s back.” 


大岩が小岩を背負うように見えるパッカイ・ペ。これが抜海の語源です(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲This Pakkai Pe seems like the big rock is carrying the small stone on its back. This was the origin of the name Bakkai. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


この地区には近年ゴマフアザラシの観察所がありましたが、現在は休止中。今後も開設の予定はありません▲There was a seal watching house in the area, but it’s closed now, and they are not planning to reopen the facility for now. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


After passing Bakkai Area, the scenery with the sea on the let and hills on the right continues. 

Houses, probably fishermen’s, started to appear on both sides after passing the crossroad with the road towards the downtown of Wakkanai. 

I feel a village closer. 


The height of hills on the right became lower, and it became a flat land suddenly as if it dropped. 

The road started to curve towards the right, as if they are telling the land ends here and take a U-turn. 

I turned right when the road curved sharply. After driving for about 200 meters, I arrived at Cape Noshappu. 


灯台と水族館の脇に停車▲I parked the car on the side of the lighthouse and the aquarium. 


As the day was close to the summer solstice, the sunset time was 7:22 PM, which is pretty late.

The sunset time is later and sunrise time is earlier in summer comparing to Tokyo, etc., as the latitude is high here. 

Cape Noshappu is a famous place to view the sunset. It might be hard to decide if you should visit here before or after dinner, depending on the season. 

 
ノシャップ岬に隣接する「恵山泊漁港公園」から眺める夕陽がオススメ(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲I recommend watching the sunset from “Keizanhaku Gyoko Park,” next to Cape Noshappu. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)

 
公園奥にある看板は記念撮影にベスト!利尻富士をバックに撮れますよ(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲The board at the back of the park is a perfect place to take a picture! You can put Mt. Rishiri on your back. (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


When you see the map, the tip of Hokkaido looks like a horn.
The left horn is Cape Noshappu.
The right horn is Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan. (Except Northern Territories, the same hereafter)

When you visit Cape Noshappu, you will notice that the shape of land and roads really form the shape like a cape. 


According to the website of Wakkanai Sightseeing Association, Noshappu came from the Ainu language “Nosshamu.” 
The word has two meanings: “The sharp cape like a chin” and “a place wave crashes.” 

Ainu people felt like it was chin rather than horns. 

 
晴天時のノシャップ灯台、赤白模様が青空に映えます!(写真提供:稚内観光協会)▲Noshappu Light House on a sunny day. The red and white stripes look bright on the blue sky! (The picture is provided by Wakkanai Sightseeing Association)


This is the end of this article. 
In the next article, I will reach the northernmost place of Japan, Cape Soya. 
  • Going around Hokkaido (5) Teshio to Wakkanai Cape Noshapu: Getting close to Mt. Rishiri, driving further than uncultivated fields
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