Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (7) Cape Soya to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park: Esanuka Line was the most scenic road ever!
This project is to go around the coastline of Hokkaido by car.
In the seventh article, I left Cape Soya, where the Monument of the Northernmost Point of Japan is located, and went down south along the coastline of the Okhotsk Sea. I drove to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park in Esashi-Cho as I stopped by Sarufutsu Village and Hamatonbetsu Town to have scallops and ice creams.
The Esanuka Line on the way was amazing! It was the most scenic road ever.
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Cape Soya in Wakkanai City to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park in Esashi-Cho
- Cape Soya to Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park: The gas station and the meal were both filled with scallops
- Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park to Beniya Nature Flower Garden: Esanuka Line was fantastic!
- My plan was to hike in Beniya Nature Flower Garden, but it turned into a dessert time
- Beniya Nature Flower Garden to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park: I saw the cliff far away
▲There were many beautiful flowers in Beniya Nature Flower Garden.
About the series: Going around HokkaidoThis 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 Cape Soya in Wakkanai City to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park in Esashi-Cho
▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
Cape Soya in Wakkanai City to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park in Esashi-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 78 kilometers (Except the detour)
The time required: Approx. 1 hour 20 mins (except breaks, time to stop at sightseeing spots, and the detour)
Check the detailed map from the link below!
Going around Hokkaido
You can find the previous article of the series here:
Going around Hokkaido (6) Cape Noshappu to Cape Soya: Driving towards the northernmost point of Japan
Cape Soya to Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park
Cape Soya to Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park: The gas station and the meal were both filled with scallops
Mileage: Approx. 31 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 15 mins
The starting point today is Cape Soya, where the Monument of the Northernmost Point of Japan is located.
▲I bought the certificate of arrival to the northernmost point of Japan for my memorial.
After seeing around the cape and taking a few pictures, I left the cape towards the south.
○You may find this article useful:
Spent a night around Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan
I stopped by the nearest gas station after I left the parking of Cape Soya.
It is common in Hokkaido that you won’t find the next gas station until you drive several dozens of kilometers and they often close in evenings.
I would advise refueling when you find a gas station even if you think there is enough.
▲The gas station near Cape Soya gave me this memorial chain after I refueled.
I got two souvenirs: the certificate of the arrival to the northernmost point of Japan and a key chain made with scallop shells. Both were my precious memorial souvenir of visiting the northernmost point of Japan.
After refueling the gasoline and filled car and my mind, I started driving towards the south. I took the National Route no. 238.
After driving a few minutes along the coastline, I drove up to the hill, leaving behind the sea. I kept driving in the mountains after passing a light mountain pass and came back to the coastline again.
▲I could see the ocean in the front after the downhill.
▲I parked the car for a while at a parking space near the sea and took a break.
I kept driving the flat road along the coastline and entered Sarufutsu Village from Wakkanai City.
▲Sarufutsu Village is the northernmost village in Japan.
In Sarufutsu Village, I wanted to stop at Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park.
▲Michi No Eki is located at the corner of Sarufutsu Village Ranch. Countless cows were enjoying their grasses!
Let’s have some scallops, the local specialty of Sarufutsu Village, at “Sarufutsu Marugoto-Kan” in the Michi No Eki. Among the menu, I recommend having grilled live scallops and scallop rice bowls!
▲The luxurious rice bowl includes Sarufutsu scallop, hairy crab, ikura of autumn salmon. You can grill live scallop by yourself.
▲I had “Sarufutsu ice cream,” made with milk produced in Sarufutsu, for my dessert!
This is definitely a must-stop if you plan to drive northern Okhotsk.
○You may find this article useful:
Scallops from Sarufutsu are incredibly delicious - a must-have when you stop by the roadside station!
Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park to Beniya Nature Flower Garden: Esanuka Line was fantastic!Michi No Eki Sarufutsu Park to Beniya Nature Flower Garden
Mileage: Approx. 20 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins
I left Michi No Eki after I thoroughly enjoyed their scallop dishes. I kept driving south as I see enormous ranch on the right.
According to the map, I was driving near the ocean, but I could not get the view of the sea that much. I was more driving green fields.
After crossing Sarufutsu River, the national route curves to the right as it’s leading us from the coastline to the inland.
If you are driving for sightseeing, I recommend to take a left at this corner rather than driving the national route. Let’s drive the road called Esanuka Line.
▲There are few signs along the road although they are all small.
The reason why I recommend this road is that you can enjoy the scenic drive with majestic views, unlike Japan.
▲Don’t you think this is majestic and gigantic? I felt like I was driving a runway!
I felt I could see the horizon. You will be driving a few kilometers from Sarufutsu Village to Hamatonbetsu-Cho if you take this route.
▲The straight and flat road was as if we drew a line with a ruler. It would feel great to drive with both car and motorcycle.
This was a fantastic road that I felt like I wanted to take a round trip.
I strongly recommend visiting here!
After merging into the national route from Esanuka Line and driving a while, I turned left again. Let’s enjoy exploring nature after driving.
▲I arrived at “Beniya Nature Flower Garden” in two to three minutes after the left turn.
My plan was to hike in Beniya Nature Flower Garden, but it turned into a dessert timeBeniya Nature Flower Garden is a nature park with over 100 kinds of flowers. Many hygrophytes and seaside plants grow here.
Flower guides are stationed at “Hana Hana House” during the opening season, and they will guide the park as a flower guide if you ask them. (Except busy seasons and when they are away)
▲Niikawa, Hamatonbetsu Flower Guide, took me to the tour.
However, I was unlucky to visit on the day… Visitors were prohibited from entering because they found ruins of brown bears in the park a few days ago. (You can now enter the park)
▲What a pity… I could not go further from here.
▲Hana guide took me to a tour around the entrance of the park. I could see many, many, kinds of flowers, although I could not enter the park.
▲I could not enter the park, but I could see the park from the observation deck.
▲The view was nice! I could see the Nature Flower Park and the Sea of Okhotsk over the glass.
You can take a break at Hana Hana House or shop for souvenirs or have ice cream.
▲Handmade paperweights made by flower guides. They painted on stones. How cute they are!
▲Glass floating balls were also beautiful.
The ice cream here is a bit unique. It looks like regular ice cream, but you should not start eating right away.
▲The ice cream made with milk from Hamatonbetsu-Cho, right after I purchased. You should wait for a while and should not start eating right away.
You wait for a while until it melts a little bit. When you can scoop with spoons without pressures, you mix the ice cream and knead.
I felt the crusty texture when the ice cream was icy, but it became smooth, and the flavor of milk became stronger after kneading the ice cream.
The unique ice cream was pretty good!
I was planning to hike in the park, but it turned into the time I wait until the ice cream melts. Well, a plan is a plan. We would never know what happens during the journey. I enjoyed the time no matter what happened, so it’s alright!
Beniya Nature Flower Garden to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park: I saw the cliff far awayBeniya Nature Flower Park to Kitami Kamui Misaki Park
Mileage: Approx. 18 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 20 mins
I drove towards Kitami Kamui Cape, located near the border of Hamatonbetsu-Cho and Esashi-Cho after having the second ice cream of the day.
I noticed wild mills on the right and the Sea of Okhotsk on the left after passing the downtown of Hamatonbetsu-Cho and crossing Tonbetsu River.
▲Tonbetsu River was enormous.
▲I could see the cliff of Kitami Kamui Cape, where mountains and sea are very close, far away.
As I came closer, the flat land on the right became narrower, and the mountains in front became closer.
The national route passes the mountains of Kitami Kamui Cape through a tunnel, but I decided to take the old road which goes around the mountains to enjoy driving along the coastline.
I turned left from the national route. However, something shocking happened…..
▲The road was closed due to the construction to build prevention fences for falling stones.
How unlucky I am… or how bad the timing is.
I often hear bad things happen in a row, and it is true. Well, I guess some days are just like that.
▲I felt really disappointed, so I tried to take a peek of the cape by zooming my camera. I could see embarkment of the Japanese National Railway’s Kouhinhoku Line ruins.
I went back to the national route and drove through the tunnel to the opposite side. I could not enter the old road after going through the tunnel, so I drove towards Kitami Kamui Misaki Park.
▲The view of Kitami Kamui Cape from Kitami Kamui Misaki Park on the opposite side.
I could not see and visit what I planned, but all troubles become a good memory of the journey eventually.
No matter what, I could enjoy the best driving road and delicious scallops and ice cream. I want to revisit the area!
This is the end of this article.
I will drive from Kitami Kamui Misaki Park as I see tourist destinations in Esashi-Cho and down south to Cape Hinode in Oumu-Cho, the town next to Esashi-Cho.
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo-writer nobu Kawashima
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