Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (19) Higashi-Nemuro Station to Cape Kiritappu: Seaside driving along northern Pacific Sea where cliffs continue
This is a series of article to go around the coastline of Hokkaido from Otaru City. In this 19th article, I will drive along the Pacific Ocean in the eastern Hokkaido cities; Nemuro City and Hamanaka-Cho.
I start from the easternmost station of Japan, Higashi-Nemuro Station, see strangely shaped rocks and cliffs along the coastline and drive to Cape Kiritappu in Hamanaka-Cho.
▲Cape Kiritappu is famous for its scenic views. Don’t you think this place has a feeling of the end of the world?
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: Higashi-Nemuro Station in Nemuro City to Cape Kiritappu in Hamanaka-Cho
- Higashi-Nemuro Station to Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock: The strangely shaped rock and the vast ocean were majestic!
- Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock to Ochiishi Sanri-Hama Beach: Panoramic views of the ocean!
- Ochiishi Beach to Urayakotan Parking: Driving along the coastline felt really nice
- Urayakotan Parking to Cape Kiritappu: A cape near the town but has a feeling of the end of the world
* I used pictures taken on different days in this article. Therefore, the colors of the sky and weather look different.
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: Higashi-Nemuro Station in Nemuro City to Cape Kiritappu in Hamanaka-Cho▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
Route: From Higashi-Nemuro Station in Nemuro City to Cape Kiritappu in Hamanaka-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 83 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 1 hour 40 mins (except breaks, time to stop at sightseeing spots, and the detour)
Check the detailed map from the link below!
Going around Hokkaido (19) -
Going around Hokkaido (11) -
Going around Hokkaido (1) - (10)
You can find the previous article of the series here:
Going around Hokkaido (18) Nemuro Station to Higashi-Nemuro Station: I am finally at the eastmost point of Hokkaido! I watched the sunrise on New Year’s Day at Cape Nosappu
▲Going around Hokkaido has come this much! (Google My Maps)
Higashi-Nemuro Station to Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock: The strangely shaped rock and the vast ocean were majestic!Higashi-Nemuro Station to Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock
Mileage: Approx. 6 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 15 mins
I will start from JR Hanasaki Line (Nemuro Honsen Line)’s Higashi-Nemuro Station today.
▲It is known as the eastmost station in Japan.
A residential area surrounds Higashi-Nemuro Station. There are no signs about stations in near roads so you may be surprised to find the eastmost station here.
Start from the station, turn right at the big street after passing the residential area. I will head to my first destination of today, “Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock” in the Hanasaki District. It is one of the tourist destinations in Nemuro City.
There are a few convenience stores, restaurants, and houses along the road. Those building started to disappear after a few minutes, and I reached to the crossroad, which is the branch to Hanasaki District.
▲The sign looks a little pretty. One more kilometer!
I arrived at the parking of “Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock” after driving four or five minutes from the crossroad.
▲I walked the promenade by the restroom of the parking, located on an uphill, for three or four minutes. Tire-Shaped Rock appears when you go down near the beach.
Tire-Shaped rock is a strangely shaped rock located near the beach under Hansaki Lighthouse. It looks like a tire. The rock is designated as a Nationally protected natural treasure. In a technical term, it is a radical joint structured basalt.
▲Tire-Shaped Rock is a strangely shaped rock with approximately 6 meters in diameter. The unique shape is academically valuable internationally.
It was majestic when I got closer. The view of the ocean was clear, and it was something to see with the strangely shaped rock!
▲The coastline continues with cliffs. You can get the view from an observation area near the Tire-Shaped Rock.
▲Waves hit rocks, got frozen, and rocks looked all white. It looked like cakes with icing.
I got back to the car to continue my journey after enjoying the view for a while.
Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock to Ochiishi Sanri-Hama Beach: Panoramic views of the ocean!Hanasaki Lighthouse Tire-Shaped Rock to Ochiishi Sanri-Hama Beach
Mileage: Approx. 20 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 25 mins
Next, I headed to Sanri-Hama, the beach in Ochiishi District.
▲I saw Hansaki Port, the center of fishery in Nemuro City such as saury and salmons, as I drove.
I had to say goodbye to the views of coastline for a while after passing Hanasaki Port. Grass fields and forests surrounded me.
Trees disappeared in approximately 10 mins, and it seems like I got closer to the ocean again. I parked the car at Hamamatsu Beach Parking along the road and enjoyed the view for a while.
▲I took the picture from Hamamatsu Beach Parking. Huge windmills and ocean are very photogenic!
I was delighted to get a great view and kept driving the road on an uphill where I could get the view of the ocean.
However, I should keep driving carefully! A group of Ezo deer appeared in front of me,
▲A group of Ezo deer watched me. Do they think I’m a suspicious or dangerous person?
I would be in huge trouble if Ezo deer jumped in front of the car. I need to keep driving carefully.
I kept driving as I pass postoffice and temples. I went down the downhill to the beach and got close to Ochiishi Port. I kept driving to the direction of Cape Ochiishi. I drove a steep uphill and got to a plain field on the uphill.
▲Cape and lighthouse are approximately 20 to 30 mins walk by using a wooden path, etc., from the parking close from here.
Cape Ochiishi and Cape Ochiishi Lighthouse are famous as with the fantastic landscapes with a feeling of the end of the world. However, I went there in the mid-winter, and the ground was not in the best condition to walk. So, I decided not to go to the cape and see Sanri-Hama Beach.
▲The view from the hill was amazing when I was going back!
I walked back on the road I came. I soon got to Sanri-Hama Beach when I finished going down the hill and turned left. This great landscape appeared!
There was no one on this beach.
The coastline without any artificial thing continued. The view was majestic that I felt I was not in Japan.
Nature was all mine! I felt like a happy aura surrounded me.
Ochiishi Beach to Urayakotan Parking: Driving along the coastline felt really niceOchiishi Park to Urayakotan Parking
Mileage: Approx. 39 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 40 mins
I kept going to the next destination as I felt the beauty of nature. There was a distance to Cape Kiritappu, so I decided to take a break at Urayakotan Parking on the way.
There is no road on the coastline for about 10 kilometers on the west from Ochiishi District. I will drive in the woods.
▲I don’t know if the road cannot get enough sun or not. Many parts of the road were icy and frozen.
▲I encountered with Ezo deer again. I was scared of them jumping in front of the car and hitting them.
I came out from the deep forests, and grass fields started to appear. I felt relieved that I got near human’s habitat from a paradise of wild animals.
I drove for about 20 mins and entered to Hamanaka-Cho from Nemuro City. Then I got to the coastline again. The road continued to get closer and further from the ocean, but the views were excellent for most of the time! Especially the views near Esashito District was terrific!
▲It looked like this when I looked back! How beautiful!
▲The views on the opposite side of the ocean were also fantastic. Rivers and ponds appeared sometimes, and there were horses of farms on uphills.
The district has many hard-to-read names of places that came from Ainu Language. I arrived at Mouraito District after Esashito District, then to Urayakotan District after getting away from the ocean and drive a while in the forest and got back to the ocean.
I took a break at the parking along the road. There are no shops, restaurants, and restrooms but there are fascinating views with parking.
▲The natural landscape is a special treat for me.
I will drive to Cape Kiritappu after taking a short break.
Urayakotan Parking to Cape Kiritappu: A cape near the town but has a feeling of the end of the worldUrayakotan Parking to Cape Kiritappu
Mileage: Approx. 18 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 20 mins
I merged into the road which continues from National Route no. 44 after driving for a few minutes and the traffic increased slightly. There are few houses on the left and Kiritappu Wetlands on the right.
▲Wetland was next to the road. This was majestic, too!
As the number of buildings increased, wetland disappeared, and it changed to a cityscape. The right side of the crossroad is the direction to Akkeshi-Cho and Kushiro City. The left side is the direction to Kiritappu District where townhall of Hamanaka-Cho is located and Cape Kiritappu.
▲I took a left turn, crossed a big bridge towards Kiritappu District.
If I exaggerate a little, Kiritappu District is an island. According to a local, it was connected with the mainland with a sandbar until the 1950s. It turned to shape like an island due to high waves that took sands away.
There is the ocean, more like a waterway, in between the mainland of Hokkaido and Kiritappu District. Two bridges connect the two districts.
▲I passed Kiritappu District with houses and shops and headed to Cape Kiritappu.
Kirtappu District’s town is located on flat land, but the cape is at a hill. I drove an uphill to the top of the hill. There is a flatland on the uphill and it was not much hilly.
▲There were horses at the farm on the way.
I arrived at Cape Kiritappu in about five minutes.
Cape Kiritappu’s official name is Cape Tofutsu. 40 to 60 meters height cliffs stick from the west side to the east side of the Pacific Ocean.
I actually did not visit Cape Kiritappu. I visited “Cape Kiritappu Observation Deck,” where I could see the whole figure of Cape Kiritappu. It’s a view spot located at a few hundred meters before the cape. You can get the view of the cape sticking out to the ocean.
▲I walked from the parking to the observation deck.
▲I got this fantastic view from the observation deck!
I could get many amazing views on the coastline in today’s journey. It was quite a nice seaside drive.
This is it for today.
In the next article, I will start from Cape Kiritappu, stop by Kiritappu Wetlands and drive to Michi No Eki Akkeshi Conchiglie.
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima