Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (17) Former Okuyukiusu Station to Nemuro Station: Enjoy Hanasaki crab and beautiful views of Lake Furen and Shunkunitai
This is the series to go around the coastline of Hokkaido. In the 17th article, I will drive towards the eastmost city in Japan’s mainland, Nemuro City.
I start from “Former Okuyukiusu Station” in Betsukai-Cho, stop by Michi No Eki “Swan 44 Nemuro” where you can get the panoramic view of Lake Furen and Shunkunitai, then drive to JR Nemuro Station.
It was autumn until the last article. I will drive in winter sceneries from this article.
I will drive more carefully than before and will watch out the weather forecast.
▲I strolled the wooden path of Shunkunitai
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: From Former Okuyukiusu Station in Betsukai-Cho to Nemuro Station in Nemuro City
- Former Okuyukiusu Station to Michi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro: Start of the winter drive
- Michi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro to Shunkunitai: Enjoyed Nemuro’s local specialties and panoramic views of Lake Furen
- Amazing views! Exploring Shunkunitai in winter with the majestic landscape
- Shunkunitai to Nemuro Station: I will get to the eastmost city finally!
▲Hanasaki Crab rice was incredibly delicious!
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 Former Okuyukiusu Station in Betsukai-Cho to Nemuro Station in Nemuro City▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
About the route: From Former Okuyukiusu Station in Betsukai-Cho to Nemuro Station in Nemuro City
Mileage: Approx. 43 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 1 hour (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 (16) Todowara to Former Okuyukiusu Station: Enjoyed Odaitou cruise and Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger
▲Going around Hokkaido has come this much! (Google My Maps)
Former Okuyukiusu Station to Michi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro: Start of the winter driveFormer Okuyukiusu Station to Michi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro
Mileage: Approx. 26 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 35mins
I visited Okuyuki District in Betsukaicho in late December 2018. This district has several historic sites, such as Former Okuyukiusu Station, to pass down the history of the development of Hokkaido.
▲National Historic Site “Former Okuyukiusu Station.” The historical building matches very well with the snowy scenery.
▲I stopped my car in front of “Former Japan National Railways Shibetsu Line Okuyukiusu Station” in Okuyukiusu District, Betsukai-Cho.
All sites are closed during winter, and you cannot see inside of facilities. However, you can still see the exteriors except for few ones. The blue sky and snowy scenery make it photogenic!
▲“Former Japan National Railways Shibetsu Line Okuyukiusu Station” leaves the atmosphere of early Showa Period.
▲The exhibited train cars are covered to protect it from wind and snow at Former Village Operated Railway Furen Line Okuyukiusu Station.
I took a quick view of unmanned sites covered with snow, as I remember back the time I visited before.
▲I took a picture in the end and started my winter drive!
Driving in winter is totally different from driving from spring to autumn.
Many facilities close or shorten business hours during winter, and you will not be able to find enough resting places. Also, you must be careful that you might be stuck in bad weather.
▲I will be in trouble if I become unable to stop by restrooms because of traffic obstacles, etc., so I stopped by the restroom at Okuyukiusu Parking in Okuyukiusu District.
I drove National Route no. 244 for a few kilometers down south and took a left turn. I got away from the National Route for a while and drove Shinraku Road.
▲Some parts of the road were icy, but it was sunny, and there was not much snow. It was quite easy to drive.
▲I guess I am surrounded by pasture lands now. I might be able to find some cows in summer. The all snowy and white scenery was beautiful.
I took a right and left turn a few times and drove towards Nemuro City as I follow the sign. I took a left turn when I encountered National Route no. 44 which connects Kushiro City and Nemuro City. I will keep driving on National Route no. 44 for most of the time to the east.
▲I noticed the sign of “Cape Nosappu” now. I felt like I am getting close to the eastmost tip of mainland Japan.
It was a beautiful drive in the forest. Signs of Michi No Eki “Swan 44 Nemuro” started to appear. It seems like I can get to Michi No Eki without any traffic obstacles.
▲I arrived at Michi No Eki after a while.
Michi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro to Shunkunitai: Enjoyed Nemuro’s local specialties and panoramic views of Lake FurenMichi No Eki Swan 44 Nemuro to Shunkunitai
Mileage: Approx. 4 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 5 mins
You must stop by this Michi No Eki! Because you can enjoy a fantastic view and delicious local specialties.
▲Michi No Eki has enormous glass windows. You can get the panoramic view of Lake Furen, where many wild birds visit.
You can get the view of Lake Furen from inside and outside of the building, and they offer telescopes for bird watching. How beautiful is this Michi No Eki? They let us feel nature closely!
▲You can see stuffed animals even if you can’t see wild birds far away by using a telescope.
The restaurant in the Michi No Eki offers local specialty of Nemuro “Escalop” and various dishes using Nemuro’s specialties such as Hanasaki crabs and pacific souries.
▲I had “Hanasaki Crab rice” for lunch. It’s only 1,280 yen (including tax, the price is as of the time I visited) which is really affordable!
▲I had a delicious lunch as I get the view of majestic sceneries outside.
You may also find this article interesting:
Enjoy local foods of Nemuro at “Swan 44 Nemuro” - the roadside station with a beautiful view and wild birds
It’s nice to have a slow lunch. However, the sun goes down quickly in winter. Sunset in eastern Hokkaido is extremely early as the sun goes down past three. I should go back to my journey soon.
I will visit the lakeside of Lake Furen, which I saw from the window of the Michi No Eki, to enjoy the natural landscape. I got on the car and drove towards Nemuro City for four to five minutes to stop by Shunkunitai.
▲I first stopped by “Nemuro City Shunkunitai Wild Bird Sanctuary Nature Center” to collect information.
There are exhibits to introduce plants, wild birds, and wild animals in Lake Furen and Shunkunitai, which is a Ramsar Convention registered wetlands.
▲You can look down Lake Furen and Shunkunitai from the window.
“Winds are icy because there is nothing to block and winds blow on the ices. Please wear a lot of clothes to protect your body from coldness.”
I got advice (rather a warning?) from the staff of the nature center after he told me about nature in Shunkunitai.
I wore plenty of clothes, made my mind, and started my exploration in Shunkunitai!
Amazing views! Exploring Shunkunitai in winter with the majestic landscapeShunkunitai is an island formed with sands to separate Lake Furen and Nemuro Bay. Grasslands, wetlands, and forests spread on the island. Among them, the natural forest of red pine trees, which are located on a dune, is scarce that there are only two cases in the world.
▲The entrance of the wooden path of Shunkunitai is about two to three minutes from the nature center. Cross the bridge to the island of sands.
I parked my car and started walking on the wooden path.
▲Partly frozen Lake Furen is on the left, sand land of Shunkunitai with a little amount of snow is on the right.
I kept walking in the middle of nature.
As I heard in the nature center, cold and strong wind blow because there is nothing to block. Furthermore, the wind was very strong on the day. My hat almost blew away. I felt really cold, well, rather painful, when winds hit my cheeks.
▲The wooden bridge to cross the lake. Do I really have to cross this bridge? It looks crazily cold… but the view was amazing!
The freezing wind hit my body as if it was tackling my body when I was crossing the bridge. However, I did not mind the coldness! I could get a fantastic view from the bridge.
There are many fallen trees after I crossed the bridge. It reminded me Todowara and Narawara in Notsuke Peninsula.
Fallen trees create natural art.
When I saw far away, it seemed like something is moving. Is it a bird?
▲I zoomed my camera to see what it was. A deer was eating. I heard deer swim the lake or walk on the frozen lake and travel to this island.
It became like a forest as I kept walking the wooden path. It was a natural red pine tree forest. I did not feel as cold as before from here. Trees might be blocking icy winds.
I took the same way to go back, but the wind was weaker on the way back.
I was delighted and glad that I stopped here! It was a great place to explore.
Shunkunitai to Nemuro Station: I will get to the eastmost city finally!Shunkunitai to Nemuro Station
Mileage: Approx. 13 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 20 mins
I kept driving towards Nemuro City’s downtown.
I left Shunkunitai, crossed a big bridge to cross Onneto, drove for a while, and sights of a city appeared in front and building started to appear on both sides.
The road became two lanes on one side before I noticed and it looked like a suburb of a town. I had entered the eastmost city of Japan’s mainland; Nemuro City.
The sun goes down very early in east Hokkaido around the winter solstice. It became pretty dark already, but it was only three o’clock. It’s time for a snack!
▲I stopped by “Patisserie Hamazaki” on the left side of the road to pick my desserts.
▲I asked the pastry chef Hamazaki for his recommendations.
I bought a dessert to have at the hotel later and a souvenir to take home.
▲Today’s dessert is Nemuro’s local dessert “Nemu Roll.”
▲I got “Nemuro Ruskman” for my souvenir.
You may also find this article interesting:
Nemuro’s local sweets “Nemu Roll” and “Nemuro Ruskman”
I wanted to have it right away, but I had to visit one more place before the sunset.
。Big buildings started to appear. Turn right when you got near the center of the city. I soon arrived at JR Nemuro Station, the last stop of today.
▲JR Nemuro Station before the sunset. It was 3:26 PM. The sun goes down quickly at around winter solstice in eastern Hokkaido.
This is it for today. I will reach to the eastmost part of Japan’s mainland in the next article!
I will visit Cape Nosshapu, the eastmost point of Japan’s mainland from JR Nemuro Station, the easternmost human-crewed station in Japan. I will visit Cape Nosappu in the early morning to view the first sunrise of the year. What will happen on the first sunrise of 2019?
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima
Check the related articles!