Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (22) Kushiro to Toyokoro: Leave Nusamai Bridge in the city and visit around hidden picturesque places in the Tokachi Region
This is a series of articles to introduce my journey to go around the coastline of Hokkaido from Otaru City. In the 22nd article, I will leave Kushiro City, one of the largest cities in the east Hokkaido, and drive to Toyokoro-Cho in the Tokachi Region.
I will enjoy the beautiful view from Kobukariishi Observatory in Urahoro-Cho and delicious ramen from Kiichan Shokudo in Toyokoro-Cho.
Otsu Beach, the final destination of this article, is known for “jewelry ice.” Although jewelry ice is a winter attraction, you can still enjoy fascinating views around the mouth of the Tokachi River.
Let’s leave behind the city with many buildings and shops and visit the town with nature and humanity!
▲“Whelk miso ramen” from Kiichan Shokudo.
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: Nusamai Bridge in Kushiro City to Otsu Beach in Toyokoro-Cho
- Nusamai Bridge to Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi: Leave the city behind and drive to the fields along the coastline
- Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi to Kobukariishi Observatory: A hidden picturesque place!
- Kobukariishi Observatory to Kiichan Shokudo: Whelk miso ramen made by “Kii-chan”
- Kiichan Shokudo to Otsu Beach: The beach was beautiful without jewelry ices
* 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 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: Nusamai Bridge in Kushiro City to Otsu Beach in Toyokoro-Cho
▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
Route: Nusamai Bridge in Kushiro City to Otsu Beach in Toyokoro-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 86 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 2 hours (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 (21) Akkeshi to Kushiro: Drive through difficult-to-read place names towards Nusamai Bridge with a beautiful sunset in Kushiro City
▲Going around Hokkaido has come this much! (Google My Maps)
Nusamai Bridge to Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi: Leave the city behind and drive to the fields along the coastlineNusamai Bridge to Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi
Mileage: Approx. 18 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 35 mins
I will start from Nusamai Bridge in Kushiro City. It’s a bridge located near the mouth of the Kushiro River and known for being the best place to view the sunset.
▲The view around the sunset is fantastic! Many people with cameras gather on the bridge to take pictures.
▲Nusamai Bridge in the morning: I was viewing the mouth of the river from the bridge.
I left the city in the morning. I decided to park the car and take a walk around the bridge before starting today’s journey.
▲You can walk around the side of the Kushiro River and under the bridge.
By the way, do you remember “Kuu-chan”?
“Kuu-chan” is a nickname of the sea otter which appeared around this area of Kushiro River in 2009.
Medias featured Kuu-chan at that time, and many people visited the river to see Kuu-chan. Where did it go after that?
Those who want to remember about Kuu-chan, visit Nusamai Tourist Information under Nusamai Bridge. You can have the special resident card of Kuu-chan here.
▲Kuu-chan, even though we don’t see you now, you are forever the citizen of Kushiro City!
I left the city after I enjoyed my morning walk around Nusamai Bridge.
▲I passed in front of the Kushiro Art Museum in the downtown of Kushiro City. The red brick building looked beautiful.
I kept driving the area with many shopping and cultural facilities. It then changed to harbor facilities. The view changed from the city to the fields after I passed Otanoshike District.
▲I will drive to Shiranuka-Cho on the next door from Kushiro City.
I arrived at Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi after driving a while in Shiranuka-Cho. The time had not passed that much since I left Kushiro City, but I will take a short break here.
Why? Because there is no Michi-no-Eki along the road on the coastline until I reach the Hidaka Region. There are even only a few convenience stores in Shiranuka-Cho and Hiroo-Cho. I had to stop by a restroom.
▲I could get the view of the National Route, which goes straight in the panoramic field when I went up to the observatory located next to the Michi-no-Eki.
▲I had a light brunch. I bought Shiranuka’s famous confection, Torashin’s “Koma-Odori Monaka.”
Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi to Kobukariishi Observatory: A hidden picturesque place!Michi-no-Eki Shiranuka Koitoi to Kobukariishi Observatory
Mileage: Approx. 49 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 55 mins
I used the restroom at Michi-no-Eki and got myself ready to drive towards the next destination.
I passed the town of Shiranuka-Cho, where buildings continued along the road, and landscape with beautiful nature appeared on both sides again. I went down the long hill. The view of the Pacific Ocean appeared on my far left and a pond on my right.
The name of the pond was Pashikuru Pond. Why do “馬主来” reads “pa”? This is quite difficult to read.
▲Pashikuru Pond on the right side of the National Route no. 38. It is located on the border of Shiranuka-Cho and Tobichi Onbetsu District in Kushiro City.
The view with fields and ocean continues from Pashikuru Pond except for the town of Otobetsu District in Kushiro City. I took a left turn from the National Route no. 38 near the border of Otobetsu District in Kushiro City and Urahoro-Cho in the Tokachi Region.
The number of traffic decreased suddenly, and I could drive smoothly.
▲I left the National Route no. 38, which continues to the direction of Obihiro City. Instead, I took Hokkaido Road no. 1038, that goes towards Hiroo-Cho.
There was the Pacific Ocean on my left and the railroad of JR Nemuro Honsen Line on the right. I decided to park the car for a while and take my camera with me to get a view of this landscape.
I could hear the sound of the waves. It was extremely quiet that I could only hear the sound of cars far away.
Then I heard a huge low sound of something. It was different from the sound of the cars that I was hearing.
I looked for the source of the sound and found JR express train running towards me! I took out my camera quickly and captured the train!
▲The express train runs along the coastline. It passed extremely quickly at a fast speed.
I was very lucky to see the train. I started driving the car again. The dynamic views along the coastline continue.
I went into the mountain after getting out of a tunnel. Then, I found a sign of “Kobukariishi Observatory” on the left after a while. I took a left turn here.
This is a narrow, unpaved road with many curves to the uphill. I slowed down and held my handle tightly.
I arrived at “Kobukariishi Observatory” after about 5 minutes from the point where I took a left turn.
Although it’s called an observatory, there are no facilities nor a shop. It’s just a space with parking for a few cars and one signboard. It was enough for me because I could get this panoramic view of nature!
▲The view from Kobukariishi Observatory was fantastic!
This observatory is great with “nothing.” I can call this a hidden picturesque place where people can get panoramic views of nature.
Kobukariishi Observatory to Kiichan Shokudo: Whelk miso ramen made by “Kii-chan”Kobukariishi Observatory to Kiichan Shokudo
Mileage: Approx. 18 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 25 mins
An unpaved road continues for a while from the observatory.
▲Unpaved road with the view of the ocean under, it’s beautiful, but I had to be careful to drive properly.
▲I parked the car and looked back. It was like a lonely suburb road to look down the ocean. It looked quite nice.
I merged to Hokkaido Road again after a few minutes. Wow, paved roads are easy to drive!
The road got away from the ocean and kept driving around the plain in the inland. I noticed the name of the river and parked the car.
▲The river is called Rakko-gawa (sea otter river)! Kuu-chan from Kushiro might be living here now!
The name “Rakko (sea otter)” caught my eyes, and I parked the car to look at the river.
▲Of course, there is no sea otter. There were many wild birds instead.
I left the river soon after. I crossed the wide Tokachi River and entered to Toyokoro-Cho.
I took a left turn at the first traffic light after crossing the river. I will head to Otsu District in Toyokoro-Cho.
My next destination is “Kiichan Shokudo” in Otsu District. This is the only restaurant in Otsu District, and you can enjoy ramen using whelks and surf clams sources in Otsu.
▲“Kiichan Shokudo” is located at the entrance of the village in the Otsu District.
▲“Kii-chan” who loves to talk runs the restaurant alone. “Please wait for a little more, your ramen is almost ready!” Kii-chan kept talking to me.
I asked for “whelk miso ramen,” the most recommended menu of the restaurant.
▲The homemade soup made by boiling tonkotsu, kombu, etc., for many hours is fantastic! The ramen came with locally sourced whelks flavored with homemade sauce.
“Would you like some coffee?”
Kii-chan offered me a cup of coffee as a service.
“Thank you very much! Please come again.” Kii-chan told me with a smile. “Thank you for the food; it was really delicious! I will visit again!” I answered like that naturally.
I felt like I had a meal at my home or my families’ home. It was strange that I had some relaxed feeling here. I want to revisit the place!
You may also find this article interesting:
Have whelk miso ramen at “Kiichan Shokudo” in Otsu Toyokoro-Cho, where makes you want to visit again
Kiichan Shokudo to Otsu Beach: The beach was beautiful without jewelry icesKiichan Shokudo to Otsu Beach
Mileage: Approx. 1 kilometer
The time required: Approx. 5 mins
Kiichan Shokudo and Otsu Beach are very close. You will arrive there soon by driving.
Take a left turn at the T-junction near the restaurant.
I noticed a monument on the side of the crossroad. I decided to park for a while and take a look.
▲This was a monument to celebrate the origin of the modern history of Tokachi. It was standing with a board to introduce the history of Tokachi.
During the Meiji Era, this area, which is near the mouth of Tokachi River, was the base of inland development as the center of Tokachi’s administration, using the merit of the river.
▲You will find the sign of “jewelry ice” when you drive the road along the beach towards the Otsu District.
Block ices that get washed up on Otsu Beach in mid-winter have become famous as “jewelry ice.” Many people started visiting this beach nationally and internationally.
You may also find this article interesting:
Possibly the only phenomenon in Japan, “Jewelry Ice” in Toyokoro Town
I visited the beach in April.
There was no jewelry ice as it’s not on the season, but still, the open beach with continuing sands looked really lovely!
▲It was picturesque without jewelry ice!
I will arrive at the mouth of the Tokachi River in two to three minutes from here. This is another hidden place to get a view of the majestic landscape.
▲Is this a heaven for wild birds? I could feel the nature at the mouth of the Tokachi River.
The places I introduced in this article are not famous tourist destinations. However, I could still enjoy feeling nature in many moments. It was a great driving route for me to get my mind relaxed.
This is it for today.
In the next article, I will leave Otsu Beach, visit historical sites of Tokachi’s development such as the ruins of Banseisha, and drive to Hiroo Santaland in Hiroo-Cho.
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima