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Going around Hokkaido (30) Muroran to Toyoura: drive along Funka Bay with the view of Mt. Usu




This is a series of articles to drive around the coastline of Hokkaido in the clock-wise. I would like to celebrate the 30th article!

I will start from Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran in Muroran City and drive to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura in Toyoura-Cho.

I will stop by Koibito Beach and Cape Arutori in Date City to enjoy the view of Funka Bay. I will also enjoy walking in the natural rock garden at Usu Zenkoji Temple Nature Park. Majestic landscape of Mt. Usu far away is a must-see. 

 
“和”の佇まいを楽しめる有珠善光寺と、周囲に広がる自然公園を散策しました▲I walked around the nature park around Usu Zenkoji Temple and the temple itself with a Japanese-like atmosphere. 

 

Table of Contents

- About the series: Going around Hokkaido
- About the route: Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran in Muroran City to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura in Toyoura-Cho
- Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran to Bokoi Station: Shiratori Bridge: I got the view of Shiratori Bridge without crossing it 
- Bokoi Station to Koibito Beach: Muroran gets far and Mt. Usu becomes closer
- Koibito Beach to Cape Arutori: Amazing views of Funka Bay! 
- Cape Arutori to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura: Have a break at the old temple and natural rock garden


* 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 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 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 Mitara Muroran in Muroran City to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura in Toyoura-Cho


 
ぐるり北海道一周30 今回のルートはこちら(Google My Maps)▲The route of this article (Google My Maps) 


Route: Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran in Muroran City to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura in Toyoura-Cho
Mileage: Approx. 59 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 1 hour 30 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 (29) Shiraoi to Muroran: Toward the beautiful views of Muroran where cities and nature sit next to each other

 
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) 

 

Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran to Bokoi Station: Shiratori Bridge: I got the view of Shiratori Bridge without crossing it 

Ayoro Onsen to Itanki Beach
Mileage: Approx. 6 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 10 mins


Today’s starting point is “Michi-no-Eki Mitara Muroran” in Muroran City. It’s a Michi-no-Eki close to Shiratori Bridge, one of the symbols of Muroran City. 

 
多くの車が駐車していて賑わっていました▲The Michi-no-Eki was quite crowded with many cars. 

 
建物裏手にはパークゴルフ場があり、その先には白鳥大橋が見えます▲There is a park golf field at the back of the building, and Shiratori Bridge is over the field. 


You may also find this article interesting: 
“Michi No Eki Mitara Muroran” re-opened in April 2019, it changed like this!

First, I will look at the bridge from the “Shiratori Bridge Observatory” near the entrance of the bridge. 

 
白鳥大橋展望台までは道の駅から車で1分程度。駐車場から階段を上がった先にあります▲Shiratori Bridge Observatory is an approximately one minute drive from the Michi-no-Eki. It’s right up the stairs from the parking. 

 
白鳥大橋を一望!ここは夜景スポットとしても有名です▲I could see the whole figure of Shiratori Bridge! This place is also famous for getting night views. 


It’s common to cross Shiratori Bridge to go to the direction of Toyoura-Cho. However, I try to drive the coastline as much as I can in this article, so I won’t cross the suspension bridge and go around Muroran Port. 

 
港湾風景などを左手に見ながら進みます▲I kept driving as I see port landscapes on my left. 


My first stop for today is Bokoi Station. This station is famous for the entrance ticket as a present for mothers, and the name means “love for mom.” Not only the tickets but also the ekiben (station bento box) “Bokoi Meshi” is very famous. 

What kind of ekiben is Bokoimeshi? Learn more from the article below! 
Delicious local Ekiben from Muroran “Bokoi-Meshi” - you have a chance to win a lucky charm!

 
昔ながらの佇まいがステキな母恋駅。駅舎の一角で「母恋めし」が販売されています▲Bokoi Station looks excellent with the nostalgic building. Bokoi Meshi is sold at the corner of the station. 


Unfortunately, I just had a quite big meal before arriving at Michi-no-Eki, so I left the station without trying the ekiben. I’d like to try it when I revisit this place! 

 

Bokoi Station to Koibito Beach: Muroran gets far and Mt. Usu becomes closer

Bokoi Station to Koibito Beach
Mileage: Approx. 38 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 55 mins


I will drive for a while from here. 

 
室蘭市内の工場地帯を通り過ぎます▲I passed the factory area in Muroran City. 


I drove multi-level crossing at near Higashi-Muroran Station and kept driving in the downtown with heavy traffic. 

I was still driving along the coastline but could not get the view of the ocean that much. I passed the branch to Muroran Interchange and Shiratori Bridge, drove for a while, and finally got to see the sea on my left. 

 
室蘭市街が後方に。さらば室蘭!▲Muroran City was far behind. Goodbye Muroran! 


Now I will enter from Muroran City to Date City. 


 
雲が途切れ、この先は青空かも!▲Clouds seem to be disappearing. I might get a clear blue sky from here! 


I found a station looks lucky, so I stopped by. 

It’s the Kogane Station. 
It reads “Kogane” instead of “Ogon.” 


 
海辺にある小さな無人駅です▲This is a small uncrewed station near the sea. 


I’m not planning to do anything here. 

I might become rich if I pray at this station!? Oh, well, the station name is “Kogane” (a little amount of money), so I might not be that rich… Well, anyway, I prayed for the luck of money. 

I left Kogane Station and kept driving Hokkaido Road no. 779 close to the ocean, not National Route no. 37, which is the main road in this district. 

 
有珠山がだんだん正面に大きく見えてきました。右側には昭和新山もチラリと▲Mt. Usu became in front of me. I also could see Showa-Shinzan on my right. 


Mt. Usu came closer. It looks majestic as it’s an active volcano. 

Mt. Usu becomes in front-right after passing the downtown of Date City. 


遠くにそびえる有珠山。長流(おさる)川を渡ります▲Mt. Usu far away. I crossed the Osaru River. 


I returned to the National Route once and got away again to drive the coastline. My next destination is Koibito Beach and Cape Arutori. 

 

Koibito Beach to Cape Arutori: Amazing views of Funka Bay! 

Koibito Beach to Cape Arutori
Mileage: Approx. 2 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 5 mins


The official name for Koibito Beach (lover’s beach) is Usu Beach. Many couples gathered at the beach in the past, and that made the nickname Koibito Beach common. 

 
目の前に広がる噴火湾。伊達市街のほか、室蘭市の測量山(そくりょうざん)や絵鞆(えとも)岬なども遠望!▲Funka Bay is right in front! I could also see Date City’s downtown, Mt. Sokuro in Muroran City, Cape Etomo, etc.! 


Mild waves come and go to the beach. Bright early summer sunshine. This beach makes me want to relax and take a nap. 

 
ハマナスなど海浜植物の花がたくさん咲いていました▲I found many beach plant flowers, such as Hamanasu. 


I kept driving for a while from Kobito Beach and arrived at Cape Arutori. It’s a cape on an uphill that sticks out to the sea, and you can get an amazing view of Funka Bay and Mt. Usu from here! 

 
恋人海岸とは視点が変わり、ここもなかなかよい眺め▲The viewpoint changed from Koibito Beach. I really liked the view from here as well. 


The summit of Mt. Usu collapsed greatly approximately 7,000 years ago. 
Funka Bay at the foot was covered with rocks, earth, sand, and a bunch of mudflow hills appeared. 

Cape Arutori is one of such mudflow hills. Those reefs near the shore, too, are parts of mudflow that washed away by waves. 

 
正面に見える有珠山、大昔はもっと標高が高かったのですね▲Mt. Usu in the front. I assume it was a much taller long time ago. 


The summit collapsed, earth and rock flowed from here, and it made lands I am standing and reefs over there. I feel the great power of nature. This is a cape to feel such power as you enjoy the beautiful view of the mountain and the ocean. 
 

アルトリ岬ではキャンプ場も楽しめます▲You can also enjoy camping at Cape Arutori. 

 

Cape Arutori to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura: Have a break at the old temple and natural rock garden

Cape Arutori to Michi-no-Eki Toyoura
Mileage: Approx. 13 kilometers
The time required: Approx. 20 mins


I left Cape Arutori. Narrow roads that go around houses and ports continue. 

Date City is a warm district in Hokkaido, and it’s sometimes described as “Shonan in Hokkaido.” I felt a little bit of Shonan but also Izu, Ise-Shima, and Sanriku. You can enjoy unlike-Hokkaido sceneries here in a good way. 

 
入り組んだ海岸線沿いに港が広がります▲Ports spread along a complex coastline. 


And another attractive sight here that is unlike Hokkaido is Usu Zenkoji Temple Nature Park in this area. It’s a nature park with Usu Zenkoji Temple and a garden around the temple with flowers, greens, and natural rocks. 


 
約1200年の歴史があると伝わる有珠善光寺▲It is said that Usu Zenkoji Temple has approximately 1,200 years of history. 


You can enjoy the traditional Japanese atmosphere that mixes the old temple and natural landscape that spread on the hill created by Mt. Usu’s volcanic activities. 

 
お寺の中を見学することもできます▲You can take a look inside the temple. 

 
桜や紫陽花など花の名所としても有名▲The temple is famous as a place to see flowers such as cherry blossoms and hydrangeas. 


The area around the temple is also a mudflow hill created by the great collapse of Mt. Usu, just like Cape Arutori. Mt. Usu’s volcanic activities created big rocks in the park.

 
人工的に造園したのではなく、火山活動で生まれた天然の石庭▲The rock garden is not humanmade. It’s a natural rock garden created by volcanic activities. 


I spent about two hours looking at the temple and walking around the garden. 

I took quite a long detour, but this is also a fun part of traveling. I left the Usu District. 

I entered to Toyako-Cho and will drive National Route no. 37 from here. 

 
洞爺駅前を過ぎると少し山間を進む道になります▲The road becomes forestry after passing Toyako Station. 


Michi-no-Eki Toyoura, which is the goal of today, appears soon after I enter Toyoura-Cho from Toyako-Cho. 

This Michi-no-Eki is along the road the goes to Hakodate City from Muroran City and also a transit point of the Nakayama Pass route from Sapporo City to cities in the southern Hokkaido. It’s a convenient place to take a break during traveling southern Hokkaido. 

 
夕刻の道の駅へ到着。イチゴソフトやホタテフライが有名な道の駅です▲I arrived at Michi-no-Eki in the evening. This Michi-no-Eki is famous for strawberry-flavored soft serve and deep-fried scallops. 


This is it for today. 
The season changes to mid-summer from the next article. 

I will leave “Michi-no-Eki Toyoura” and enjoy the coastline landscapes of Toyoura-Cho and Oshamanbe-Cho. My final stop of the next article will be “Oka-no-Eki” in “Funka Bay Panorama Park” in Yakumo-Cho. 
  • Going around Hokkaido (30) Muroran to Toyoura: drive along Funka Bay with the view of Mt. Usu
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