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Going around Hokkaido (15) Aidomari Bridge in Shiretoko Rausu to Todowara in Nokke Peninsula: Drive along the coastline with the view of Kunashir Island




This is a series of articles to go around the coastline of Hokkaido.

In this 15th article, I will start from Aidomari Bridge, the furthest place of the World Natural Heritage Site Shiretoko on the Rausu Side, and drive to Notsuke Peninsula where the long and narrow road is sticking to the ocean in Betsukai-Cho.

I will drive the coastline as I see Kunashir Island on my left. 

 

Table of Contents

- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Aidomari Bridge in Rausu-Cho to Todowara, Notsuke Peninsula in Betsukai-Cho
- Aidomari Bridge to Kujira no Mieru Oka Park: Watching Kunashir Island’s silhouette far away
- Kujira no Mieru Oka Park to Minehama Parking: A picturesque place with the view of Shiretoko Peninsula and Kunashir Island
- Minehama Parking to Todowara: Ocean on both sides! Heading to Notsuke Peninsula, where long and narrow land continues



右を見ても左を見ても海!細長~い陸地、野付半島をドライブ▲Ocean was on both sides! I enjoyed driving the Notsuke Peninsula, the long and narrow land. 

 

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 Aidomari Bridge in Rausu-Cho to Todowara, Notsuke Peninsula in Betsukai-Cho



北海道ぐるり一周【15】今回のルートはこちら(Google My Maps)▲The route of this article (Google My Maps) 


About the route: From Aidomari Bridge in Rausu-Cho to Todowara, Notsuke Peninsula in Betsukai-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 91 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 1 hour 50 mins (except breaks, time to stop at sightseeing spots, and the detour)


Check the detailed map from the link below! 
Going around Hokkaido (11) - 
Going around Hokkaido (1) - (10)

You can find the previous article of the series here: 
Going around Hokkaido (14) Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall to Aidomari Bridge: I visited the furthest of Shiretoko, the World Natural Heritage Site


ぐるり北海道一周、ここまで通りました!(Google My Maps)▲Going around Hokkaido has come this much! (Google My Maps) 

 

Aidomari Bridge to Kujira no Mieru Oka Park: Watching Kunashir Island’s silhouette far away

Aidomari Bridge to Kujirano Mieru Oka Park
Mileage: Approx. 21 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins



今回のスタート地点は知床半島の羅臼町側の最奥地、「相泊橋」▲I will start from the furthest point of the Shiretoko Peninsula on the Rausu side, Aidomari Bridge. 


There are no roads on the tip of the peninsula in Shiretoko, so I reached to the furthest I could. 

I drove from the furthest part on the Shrai-Cho side, which was the north-west part of the peninsula, “Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall,” to “Aidomari Bridge,” the furthest part on the Rausu-Cho side, which was south-east part of the peninsula. 

I took a u-turn from Aidomari Bridge and went back to the downtown of Rausu-Cho, using the same road again. 

 
左手に国後島が浮かぶ海を眺めながら進みます▲I kept driving as I see Kunashir Island on my left. 


It was already evening. 

I decided to stay a night in Rausu-Cho and continue driving again on the next day. But before that, I watched the sunset at an exceptional place! 

I headed to “Kujira no Mieru Oka Park,” which is located close to the downtown of Rausu-Cho from Aidomari Bridge. 

I took a right turn to the narrow road from the seaside road. There was a small lighthouse when I finished going a steep uphill. 

 
灯台のすぐ先にある駐車場に車を停め、カメラを片手に灯台のすぐ近くにある展望スポット「クジラの見える丘公園」へ▲I parked the car to parking near the lighthouse and walked to an observatory “Kujira no Mieru Oka Park” with my camera. 


The straight near Rausu-Cho, which is surrounded by Shiretoko Peninsula and Kunashir Island, is known as a place where many whales live. 

Whale watching sightseeing ships leave from Rausu Port, and tourists can enjoy powerful figure of whales rising and diving from such ships. 


This park is located on an uphill and you can get the full view of the ocean. It is one of the rare places to view whales from the land. However, it was already evening, and it would take too long to find a whale, so I decided to enjoy watching the sunset simply. 

 
羅臼の港と知床半島の山々のシルエットが見えます▲I saw Rausu port and silhouettes of mountains in Shiretoko Peninsula. 

 
茜色から群青色へと変わっていく空の色と国後島の島影がなかなかステキ♪▲The colors of sky changing from red to blue and silhouettes of Kunashir Island were quite a view. 


I could not encounter whales, but I could enjoy a beautiful sunset. I finished the day and stayed a night at an onsen hotel in Rausu-Cho. 
 

Kujira no Mieru Oka Park to Minehama Parking: A picturesque place with the view of Shiretoko Peninsula and Kunashir Island

Kujira no Mieru Oka Park to Minehama Parking
Mileage: Approx. 23 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 30 mins



朝起きるとスカッと青空!気持ちのよいドライブを楽しめそうです▲It was sunny and bright when I woke up! I feel like I can enjoy a pleasant drive today. 


Get ready and let’s start the day! 

I started from Kujira no Mieru Oka Park, but soon I stopped by “Michi No Eki Shiretoko Rausu” for a light snack time although it was still morning…

 
さすが羅臼、昆布アイスを発見!口あたり滑らかで意外とコクがあって美味しい~♪▲Well, I was in Rausu! I found a Kombu flavored ice cream. It was smooth and had a deeper flavor than I expected. Delicious! 


I started the day after I finished my ice cream. I kept driving the coastline as I see Kunshir Island on my left. 

I passed a few villages on the seaside, entered a low heigh mountain, and came back to the coastline again. I took a small break at “Minehama Parking,” parking on the left of the road when I entered Minehama Park. 

This place is not merely parking. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery here! 

 
駐車帯から振り返ると、羅臼岳をはじめ知床連山を海越しに眺められます▲You can get the view of Shiretoko Mountain Range, including Mt. Rausu if you look back from the parking. 

 
駐車帯の真正面には国後島がくっきりと▲I could see Kunshir Island in front clearly from the parking. 

 
進行方向を向くと、これから向かう野付半島が見えます▲When I saw the direction I was heading, I could see Notsuke Peninsula, the goal of today. 


There is no shops nor tourist destinations, but I recommend to stop by here to take a small break. 

 

Minehama Parking to Todowara: Ocean on both sides! Heading to Notsuke Peninsula, where long and narrow land continues

Minehama Parking to Todowara
Mileage: Approx. 47 kilometers
he time required: Approx. 50 mins



しばし絶景を楽しんだら先を目指して出発▲I left the parking after enjoying a great view. 


After a while from leaving Minehama Parking, I entered to Shibetsu-Cho from Rausu-Cho. 

I noticed many cars parked for some reason near Uebetsu Bridge, which is the border between the towns. I wanted to find out why. I parked my car to a place that would bother no one and walked to the bridge. 

I understood the reason when I was on the bridge. 

 
河口付近の海辺に、秋鮭釣りの人たちがいーっぱいいました!▲I found many people fishing autumn salmons near the mouth of the river! 

 
橋の欄干から真下の川を覗き込むと、上流に向かって懸命に泳ぐ魚の姿が!▲I watched the river from the bridge, and found a fish swimming to the upper stream! 


I felt the greatness of nature. I was not here for fishing today, so I decided to keep going after watching it for a while.  

I continued driving the coastline. Buildings started to appear after merging to the National Route 244 which continues from Shari-Cho. 

I passed the downtown of Shibetsu-Cho and reached to the branch of the road towards Notsuke Peninsula. 

 
ここで左折▲I took a left turn here. 


Notsuke Peninsula is the longest sandbank in Japan with approximately 26 kilometers length. 

It’s an extremely long and narrow peninsula which sticks out to the sea in between Shiretoko Peninsula and Namuro Peninsula. Notsuke Peninsula is most known for landscapes such as Todowara and Narawara. 

 
道路の両端が海!半島の両岸は場所によっては50mくらいしかない箇所もあります▲Both sides of the road were the ocean! Some parts of the peninsula are only 50 meters in width. 


I kept driving a while with the unique landscape of the ocean on both sides. Then I noticed many dead trees on the right side. 

Let’s stop by one of the destinations, Narawara. 

Narawara is a place with many dead trees such as Mizunara (Mongolian Oak trees) because of the erosion of seawater. It was a mysterious landscape with dead trees in front of trees with autumn colors. 

 
駐車場から眺めたナラワラ▲Narawara, seen from the parking. 


Notsuke Peninsula has significant land subsidences, affected by the subduction of plates of the earth. Because of that, more and more seawater erodes to the place where used to be a forest every year. 

 
立ち枯れた木々と、風を受けてでしょうか、傾いた木々の姿が印象的です▲Many dead trees and leaning trees, probably because of winds. 


Todowara is famous together with Narawara. 

This place used to be a Todomatsu (pine) forest, now dead because it was eroded by seawater. 

You can reach there by foot from the parking of “Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center,” located a few minutes from Narawara by car. 

 
野付半島ネイチャーセンター。こうして見ると、本当に細長い半島なのですね▲Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center. I realize how long and narrow this peninsula is by seeing like this. 


I arrived at Todowara in approximately 30 mins from the parking by walking on the wooden path. 

 
立ち枯れた木々が並び、さいはて感いっぱい!▲There are many dead trees. Looks like the end of the earth! 


Todowara is much weathered comparing to Narawara. Many dead trees are fallen. 

If weathering continues, those trees which are left will fall too, and we won’t be able to view this landscape again. 

I heard the number of trees decreased in the past ten to twenty years. If you are interested, you should visit there soon! 

This is it for today. 

In the next article, I will explore the sandbank. I will start from Todowara in Notsuke Peninsula, head to the tip of a sandbank in Lake Furen, and end the journey at Former Okuyukiusu Station in Betsukai-Cho. I will also enjoy seeing Todowara with a tourist boat in Odaitou and the famous local specialty “Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger.” 
  • Going around Hokkaido (15) Aidomari Bridge in Shiretoko Rausu to Todowara in Nokke Peninsula: Drive along the coastline with the view of Kunashir Island
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