Release | nobu Kawashima
Going around Hokkaido (26) Shin-Hidaka Mitsuishi to Niikappu: A beautiful drive at the hometown of thoroughbreds!
This is a series of articles to go around the coastline of Hokkaido in clockwise from Otaru City. In this 26th article, I will leave “Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi” in Shin-Hidaka-Cho and drive to a cafe with a fantastic view “Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch” in Niikappu-Cho.
I will take a look at thoroughbreds far away and walk around the wetland in early spring and enjoy being in nature. And don’t surprise. The flavor of the soft-serve ice cream I had at Michi-no-Eki in Niikappu-Cho was green pepper!
▲I watched the sunset as I enjoy a parfait at “Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch. ”
Table of Contents- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi in Shin-Hidaka-Cho to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch in Niikappu-Cho
- Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi to Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu: A great drive along the coast!
- Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu to Hangandate Shinrin Park: The area is famous for horses and green peppers!
- Watch Asian skunk cabbage at “Takoppe Wetland” in early spring Hangandate Shinrin Park
- Hangandate Shinrin Park to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch: Watch the sunset at a cafe with beautiful views
* 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: Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi in Shin-Hidaka-Cho to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch in Niikappu-Cho
▲The route of this article (Google My Maps)
Route: Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi in Shin-Hidaka-Cho to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch in Niikappu-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 44 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 55 mins (except breaks, time to stop at sightseeing spots, and the detour)
Check the detailed map from the link below!
Going around Hokkaido (25) -
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 (25) Erimo to Shin-Hidaka Mitsuishi: From the windy town to the horse town, with the view of Hidaka Mountain Range on the right
▲Going around Hokkaido has come this much! (Google My Maps)
Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi to Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu: A great drive along the coast!Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi to Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu
Mileage: Approx. 33 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 40 mins
I start from “Michi-no-Eki Mitsuishi” in the Mitsuishi District, which is located in the southern part of Shin-Hidaka-Cho. You can get the view of horses grazing across the facility and also the Pacific Ocean at the back of the building.
▲I could get the view of the ranch and the Hidaka Mountain Range from the top of the hill in the facility of Michi-no-Eki.
I left the Michi-no-Eki and drove a while as I see ranch on the right. The view of the ocean appeared on my left. From here, I will be driving along the coastline until the Shizunai District in Shin-Hidaka-Cho.
▲I took a picture at one of the few parking along the coast.
▲Curves continued from time to time, but it was mostly a nice route with a beautiful view of the ocean.
▲I could see ranches sometimes on my right.
As I continued to drive for a while as I see the ocean, I noticed there was a town far away. It was the Shizunai District.
▲I crossed the bridge on Shizunari River and got into the center of the Shizunai District.
The traffic suddenly increased after I crossed the bridge. Many shopping facilities and buildings started to appear. I felt like I came to a big city in the suburbs!
I had to stop and wait for sometimes because there were cars which turn right or enter parking. However, in a few minutes, after I passed the town, traffic decreased again. I was in Niikappu-Cho, the next town after the Shizunai District, soon after and arrived at “Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu.”
▲A statue of a thoroughbred in “Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Niikappu” faces the road. The tower of Yushun at “Recordkan” is a landmark.
Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu to Hangandate Shinrin Park: The area is famous for horses and green peppers!Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu to Hangandate Shinrin Park
Mileage: Approx. 4 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 5 mins
Let’s have some snacks and take a break at “Michi-no-Eki Thoroughbred Road Niikappu.” I decided to have the famous soft-serve ice cream sold at this facility. The flavor is, surprisingly, green pepper!
▲I was scared but had a bite. The flavor was surprising. It was as if a green pepper blew inside my mouth.
The flavor of green pepper was powerful.
However, it’s strange that I did not think it’s bad.
I did not feel green pepper flavor too strong from my second bite and actually thought it’s quite delicious. Where did my surprise go? I finished the ice cream without hesitation.
▲They also sell green pepper yokan, green pepper chips, etc.
The reason why they offer so many green pepper flavored sweets and snacks is that Niikappu-Cho is the biggest producer of green peppers in Hokkaido. All snacks are delicious in spite of my expectations (sorry!). I thought even children who don’t like green pepper could have those snacks.
▲I almost did not feel the flavor of green peppers when I had green pepper chips.
You may also find this article interesting:
Green pepper soft serve and Yokan? The ultimate local desserts from Niikappu-Cho
After having delicious green pepper, the local specialty of Niikappu, let’s go see thoroughbred horses, which is also a local specialty of Niikappu.
I drove the car for two to three mins from the Michi-no-Eki. I decided to stop by “Thoroughbred Ginza Parking” at the right of the crossroad.
▲The symbolic monument has a horse design.
Many racehorse ranches are located in the inland areas continued from here. You can get a distant view of the ranch from this parking on the top of the hill.
Parking near ranches or taking pictures of horses would give stress to horses and cause troubles of people who work for ranches. So, visitors who want to get a view of thoroughbreds must-see horses from this parking.
▲You can look down horses grazing.
▲I could get a clear view of horses by using my camera’s lens.
When I looked at the opposite side of the ranch, I noticed a small hill. It was “Niikappu Mud Volcano.”
Muds at underground appeared with gas because of oils underground. It’s a rare type of volcano in Japan and designated as Hokkaido’s natural monument.
▲There were horses on Niikappu Mud Volcano.
Although I only could get a distant view, I felt eased by looking at horses. I got on the car with this feeling continuing and headed to Hangandate Shinrin Park.
See Asian skunk cabbage at “Takoppe Wetland” in early spring Hangandate Shinrin ParkHangandate Shinrin Park is a park located on top of the mountain at Cape Hangan, on the north side of Niikappu-Cho’s downtown. There is a campsite, a forest that people can enjoy watching various plants, flowers, and wild birds, and Cape Hangan Observatory with the view of the ocean and townscapes of Niikappu.
There is also “Takoppe Wetland” in the corner of the forest.
▲I parked the car and decided to walk through the wetland to Cape Hangan.
I visited there before the Golden Week holidays, and it was a bit earlier than the flower season. However, a wetland in early spring is the best place to see Asian skunk cabbages!
▲Green Asian skunk cabbages came out from the ground before the wetland turns into green.
▲I will walk further.
▲“Takoppe Wetland” spreads in the valley. I found bright white Asian skunk cabbages!
▲I feel spring is coming.
I kept walking towards Cape Hangan as I see Asian skunk cabbages.
▲There were many fluffy tocksocks (Yachibozu) on both sides of the wooden path!
Ainu calls tocksocks “Takoppe” in their language. Which means, here will be called Yachibozu Wetlands in Japanese.
I arrived at Cape Hangan Observatory in about 15 minutes.
▲The observatory is located on a cliff, which is approximately 80 meters high.
▲I could look under Niikappu River, the Pacific Ocean, and the downtown of Niikappu-Cho.
By the way, the name Hangandate comes from the myth that Minamoto Kuro Hangan Yoshitsune landed this foggy cape. There is also a myth that he climbed the cliff with a horse.
Let’s not think if the myth is true or not, and feel nature and enjoy a magnificent view while you imagine the fantasy of history.
Hangandate Shinrin Park to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch: Watch the sunset at a cafe with beautiful viewsHangandate Shinrin Park to Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch
Mileage: Approx. 7 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 10 mins
The sun started to go down, and the sky gradually turned to red. I walked the wooden path from Cape Hangan and got on the car to drive further.
▲You will find a gigantic wall paint to introduce Niikappu-Cho on the right side of the road.
The next stop is “Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch,” which is approximately 10 mins away by car. As the name suggests, visitors can enjoy the sunset in the cafe, and it closes after the sunset. Huge windows that go up to the ceiling is one of the distinct characteristics of this cafe. This is truly a cafe with amazing views.
You should definitely stop by this cafe if you are here in the evening!
▲The white cube-shaped building is standing. They are on the left side of the road.
I just had green pepper soft serve, etc., at the Michi-no-Eki, but I decided to have another parfait here with home-roasted coffee.
▲I asked for the standard dessert of the cafe “caramel and nuts parfait,” among many other dessert menus such as parfaits and cake.
The parfait contains whipped cream, granola, homemade coffee jelly, sponge cakes, caramel-flavored gelato, topped with nuts and dried fruits.
It was not too sweet and felt like it was a dessert for adults. I waited for the sunset as I enjoy the parfait.
▲I watched the twilight and the sunset from the table on the second floor.
▲The sunset into the sea.
▲The color of the sky right after the sunset looked like a painting.
The cafe closes after the sunset. I left for today’s accommodation as I enjoy watching the twilight sky.
This is it for today.
In the next article, I will have brunch at Tsubaki Salon Yuyake Branch and drive through Mukawa-Cho, Atsuma-Cho, towards “Tomakomai West Port Ferry Terminal” in Tomakomai City.
Text, photo/Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima