(The numbered black circles are facilities where you can use your coupons. )


The beautiful Kinsenkyo Gorge runs through the downtown.

Kinsenkyo Gorge and the Shokotsu River run east-west through downtown Takinoue. The gorge has waterfalls of various sizes, such as Rakuyo-no-Taki Falls and Hakua-no-Taki Falls. Enjoy seasonal attractions of fresh greenery in spring, cool breezes through shade trees in summer and colorful leaves in autumn. Walking paths run through the gorge, along both sides of the river. They’re listed as among Japan’s 500 beautiful walking paths. It’s a famous birdwatching spot, where you may see some rare small birds. The autumn colors peak between late September and mid-October.

Kinsenkyo Gorge

570 701 434*72

Address: Sakaemachi, Takinoue Town

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Sweeping views of a lake and the Shiretoko Mountain Range: Lake Saroma Observatory

This is near the shores of Lake Saroma, and almost at the summit of Mt. Horoiwa (elevation 376 m). From the observatory, you can enjoy viewing the whole of Lake Saroma, the sand spits between the Sea of Okhotsk and the lake, and the Shiretoko Mountain Range.  After visiting the observatory on Mt. Horoiwa, you can gain access to Cape Kimuaneppu, on the southeast side of Lake Saroma. It has beautiful sunsets over Lake Saroma and abounds in indigenous plants. About 50 plant species, including beach roses, Russian false yellow lupins and arctic irises, bloom from the early summer through autumn. The extensive colonies of glasswort turn deep red from mid September to early October.

Lake Saroma Observatory

955 055 328*20

Address: Naniwa, Saroma Town

Cape Kimuaneppu Campsite

525 664 518*53

Address: Horoiwa, Saroma Town

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Sunrise from Cape Hinode

Cape Hinode is the halfway point between Oumu and Okkope. The distance is about 11km from both towns. It’s about a 20-minute drive. Hinode means “sunrise” in Japanese. As you can guess from the name, this is a great spot to see the sunrise over the Sea of Okhotsk. The glass-walled La Runa, Cape Hinode Observatory is at the tip of the cape. Binoculars are lent out for free.
 In late autumn (October and November), the sun rises later each day. If you’re not a morning person, you’ll have more chance to see the sunrise around this time of year.
 A hot spring also open to day-trip guests is nearby. The open-air bath has sweeping views of the Sea of Okhotsk.

La Runa: Cape Hinode Observatory

587 712 447*37

Address: Sawaki, Oumu Town

Sunrise time: Oct. (1st 5:26, 15th 5:43)
Nov. (1st 6:06, 15th 6:24, 30th 6:43)

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Wild Bird Paradise,Lake Komuke

Lake Komuke faces the Sea of Okhotsk and adjoins wetlands. About 200 different wildbirds species, such as whooper swans, tundra swans, white tailed eagles and grey herons, visit the lake in various seasons. In autumn, swans flies over the lake in numbers beyond counting. Known as a beautiful spot for the sunrise, Komuke International Campsite is also a fine place to enjoy the sunset. This lake boasts great natural splendor. Enjoy birdwatching, sunrises and sunsets.

Lake Komuke (at Kyowa Bridge)

801 417 326*30

Address: Komuke, Mombetsu City

Komuke International Campsite

1040 002 355*43

Address: Komuke Lakeside, Numanoue, Mombetsu City

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Ride the Forest Railroad Steam Locomotive“Amamiya No.21”, a Hokkaido Heritage.

“Ikoi-no-Mori Forest Park” in Engaru. The Forest Railroad Steam Locomotive〝Amamiya No.21〟 runs on a logging railroad in the park, which features natural forest and riverscapes. The train has been registered as a Hokkaido Heritage. This is the last steam locomotive train still running on a logging railroad in Japan.

Ikoi-no-Mori Forest Park

617 040 406*05

Address: 80 Kamimurii, Maruseppu, Engaru Town

Open until Oct. 23
Train operating schedule: Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 22: Every 30 to 60 min., from 10:00 to 16:30.
Oct. 23: Every 30 to 60 min., from 10:00 to 13:00.
Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 22: Every 30 to 60 min., from 10:00 to 16:30.

Note: Due to damage from the heavy rainfall in August, 2016, half of the railway line is out of service. The train makes two round trips on the potion that’s still in service. Some areas are closed entry, for your safety.

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The Largest Chrysanthemum Festival in Hokkaido

The Kitami Chrysanthemum Festival, held annually in Kitami, is the largest and oldest chrysanthemum festival in Hokkaido. This year marks the 64th festival. During the event, the venue is decorated with some 15,000 pots of colorful chrysanthemums. Other exhibitions and events are also held, such as an exhibition of chrysanthemum dolls from a TV period drama broadcast this year, and a chrysanthemum beauty contest. Admission to this year’s festival is free for all. On this occasion, enjoy the charm of traditional Japanese chrysanthemums. The Kitami Local Specialty Festival is held concurrently. Various Kitami local specialties are offered for sale.

The 64th Kitami Chrysanthemum Festival

Period:Oct. 21 – 31

Venue:Kitami Station south multi-purpose open space in front of Kitami Art and Culture Hall

185 483 310*13

Address: 1-3-22, Izumicho, Kitami City

HOURS: 10:00-16:00

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Sunflowers That Bloom in Autumn

Sunflowers are closely associated with summer. However, in Ozora, you can view landscapes of hundreds of thousands of blooming sunflowers even in autumn. The site for viewing sunflowers in autumn is Asahigaoka Park. The sunflowers this coming autumn will bloom in an area of 42,300㎡ from mid to late October. Under the clear, high autumn sky, enjoy vast fields of blooming sunflowers. Meruhen-no-Oka Hill, where you might feel like making an unplanned stop, is near there. There is parking near the hill. This is a “scenic parking” area–parking that offers views of distinctive Hokkaido landscapes (Listed in “Viewpoint Parking”). Enjoy the idyllic, impressive scenery of the hill, which stands in harmony with neighboring fields and the sky.

Asahigaoka Park

Period:from mid-October to late October

Venue:Asahigaoka Park

305 251 822*70

Address: 44-2, Memanbetsuasahi, Ozora Town

Meruhen-no-Oka Hill

305 308 339*14

Address: Memanbetsushowa, Ozora Town

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A 360° Panoramic View of the Okhotsk Region

From the observatory at the Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum on Mt. Tento, enjoy wonderful views over the Sea of Okhotsk. Enjoy spectacular 360°panoramas in every season, such as of spring cherry blossoms, summer greenery, autumn leaves and winter snow. The autumn views are particularly spectacular. From the observatory, enjoy the seasonal colors of trees with beautiful fall foliage around the museum, the blues of the Sea of Okhotsk in the middle distance, and the snowcapped Shiretoko Mountain Range across the sea. The Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum, which features an observatory, is a tourist facility that introduces drift ice and the creatures of the Sea of Okhotsk. Real drift ice is exhibited in the museum.
In addition, near the museum are other tourist facilities, such as the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples and the Abashiri Prison Museum.

Okhotsk Ryu-hyo Museum

305 584 757*53

Address: 245-1, Tentozan Abashiri City

URL: Japanese)
(in Japanese) English)

HOURS: Oct.: 8:30-18:00 Last admission 17:30
Nov.: 9:00-16:30 Last admission 16:00

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Lake Tofutsu, a Paradise for Wild Birds

Lake Tofutsu, which is registered as a protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention, is famous as a paradise for wild birds. The name “Tofutsu” derives from the Ainu to-put, meaning “the mouth of the lake.” Since river water mingles with sea water and the lake is supplied with nutrition from the sea, the location is a rich environment for living creatures. Before winter, migratory birds of more than 50 species, such as whooper swans and ducks, stop at this lake to rest their wings on their way south. Through the seasons, about 250 species of bird can be seen here. White-tailed sea eagles can be seen throughout the year, and in recent years, the Japanese red-crowned crane, a National Special Natural Monument, has been confirmed to be breeding here. Until around late October, horses feed at the lakeside. These can be seen from a parking area on National Highway 244, which passes near the lake.

Tofutsu-ko Waterfowl and Wetland Center

305 448 015*24

HOURS: 9:00-17:00

CLOSED:  Oct.: 3, 11, 17, 24, 31
Nov.: 7, 14, 21, 28

Address: chisaki, 203-3, Kitahama, Abashiri City

URL: Japanese)

URL: English)

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Bihoro Pass Overlooking Lake Kussharo

Bihoro Pass on National Highway 243 is on the border between Bihoro and Teshikaga. From an observatory at 525 m in elevation, splendid panoramas of Lake Kussharo, Mt. Iwosan, and the distant Shiretoko Mountain Range and Daisetsuzan Mountain Range unfold. The beautiful scenery has been touted as “the most superb view of the world,” and many tourists visit every year. In autumn, a sea of clouds sometimes forms in the early morning, depending on the weather. View the fantastic spectacle from the observatory when the morning sun rises from the far side of Lake Kussharo. The best times for this view are windless days with low temperatures but high humidity. A Michi-no-Eki (Roadside Rest Areas) adjoins the observatory, for meals and shopping.

Michi-no-Eki(Roadside Rest Areas) Gurutto Panorama Bihoro Pass

638 225 456

HOURS: Oct.: 9:00-18:00
Nov.: 9:00-17:00

Address: Furuume, Bihoro Town(National Highway 243)

URL: Japanese)

URL: English)

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A panoramic view of Lake Kussharo from the highest point of the somma volcano

Tsubetsu Pass (elev. 947 m) is on the border between Tsubetsu and Teshikaga. This pass is the highest of the passes on the somma volcano that surrounds the caldera lake of Kussharo. Ascend a short way from Tsubetsu Pass on Pref. Road 588, and you’ll see an observatory that resembles a medieval European castle. From the observatory, you can enjoy a 360°panoramic view of the Sea of Okhotsk beyond Lake Kussharo, the ridgeline of Mt. Meakandake and Mt. Oakandake, and the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range.
On many days you can see a sea of clouds from the pass. The early morning sun rising from beyond that sea of clouds over Lake Kussharo and casting light on those clouds is truly spectacular.

Tsubetsu Pass observatory

739 867 881*66

Address: Kamisato, Tsubetsu Town(Tsubetsu Pass on Pref. Road 588)

HOURS: 9:00-19:00(closed in Nov.)

Caution! At Tsubetsu Pass…  Pref. Road 588 is closed between Teshikaga and Tsubetu Pass due to landslides. Pref. Road 588 between Tsubetsu and Tsubetsu Pass is open as of Sept. 20, 2016. However, please check the road information before you head for Tsubetsu Pass.

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Ten ni Tsuzuku Michi (Road to Heaven)

Straight national highways (244 and 334) run toward Utoro from downtown Shari. Go straight on National Highway 334. Bear straight at the first leftward curve to enter the town road, and follow that road to the end. Get out your car and look back for a superb view of a roughly 30-km straightaway that seems to lead skyward. This is called the “Road to Heaven”. You’re sure to think, “Now that’s a Hokkaido hill!” You can’t reach the site in the snow season; you can view the landscape only until late November.In autumn it’s a unique site that’s not to be missed.

Ten ni Tsuzuku Michi(Road to Heaven)

642 561 459*74

Address: Shuenhigashi, Shari Town

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Kami-no-Ko Pond in Late Autumn

A pond at the heart of a mountain whose springs feed Lake Mashu. The pond is fed by a subterranean spring from Lake Mashu, which means “lake of the gods” in the Ainu language. Therefore, it’s called Kami-no-Ko (“child of the gods”) Pond. This small pond is 220 m around and 5 m deep. You can see through the clear water to the bottom. Since the water temperature is only 8°C throughout the year, fossil-like undecayed fallen trees in the blue water and Dolly Varden trout swimming between gaps in fallen trees present a strange and indescribable beauty. In late autumn, until October or November, the pond is covered with fallen leaves from the surrounding trees and offers glorious scenery. The pond is largely untouched by humans. It’s a hidden sightseeing gem of Kiyosato that you’ll want to leave unspoiled.

Kami-no-Ko Pond

910 216 132*70
The road is closed during the winter because snow is not removed.

Address: Kiyoizumi, Kiyosato Town
Take a side road from Pref. Road 1115 on the way from Kiyosato to Nakashibetsu.

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Majestic Panoramas of Beautiful, Statuesque Mt. Sharidake and Windbreak Forests

From Uchu Observatory, one can see the beautiful, statuesque Mt. Sharidake and the windbreak forests spreading at its foot. The name comes from the fact that, at night, an extremely impressive starry sky spreads overhead, and you can feel at one with the universe. The checkerboard landscape of farmland and windbreak forests planted to protect the agricultural land has been selected as one of the 100 Most Beautiful Rural Landscapes in Japan. The Observatory is designated as a scenic parking, for views of the distinctive Hokkaido landscape (Listed in “Viewpoint Parking”). Stop during your drive to enjoy the scenery at your leisure.

Uchu Observatory

444 474 196*70

Address: 807, konan, Kiyosato Town

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Seeing the wonders of salmon up close

In September and October, salmon migrate upstream in rivers flowing through Shari, Rausu and Shibetsu. At shallow estuaries, the river sometimes becomes dark with throngs of salmon. If you want to learn about the wonders of salmon, such as their ecology and use as food, the Shibetsu Salmon Museum is recommended. In the fishway there, you can see chum salmon, pink salmon and cherry salmon returning to the Shibetsu River in September and October, and chum salmon spawning in November. If you’re lucky, you might see the very moment of spawning.

Shibetsu Salmon Museum

448 854 760*73

HOURS: 9:30-17:00 Last admission 16:30

CLOSED: Nov.: 2, 9, 16, 24, 30

Address: 1-1-1, Kita1, Nishi6, Shibetsu Town

URL: Japanese. You can download brochures in English, traditional Chinese and Korean.)

Recommended sites

・Makoi, Shari Town Onnebetsu Bridge(Onnebetsu River)

894 635 231*71

・Honcho, Rausu Town Ojiro Bridge(Rausu River)

757 353 861*64

Walk a few minutes along the seaside road toward the downtown, after you park at Michi-no-Eki(Roadside Rest Areas)Shiretoko・Rausu (Mapcode: 757 353 706).

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A spectacular landscape visible from space

Kaiyodai Highland is a 15-minute drive from downtown Nakashibetsu and Nakashibetsu Airport. The 330° view from the highland’s 270-m elevation shows a grassland horizon that seems slightly curved. You can appreciate that you’re in the vast land of Hokkaido. Also, you can see the Konsen Highland Grid Windbreak Forests, a Hokkaido Heritage. This great forest is 180 m wide and 648 km long. The windbreak forests became a hot topic when it was seen from an orbiting space shuttle. At night, large stars pour into the sky, and a striking panorama of the universe fills the sky. You can appreciate the Earth’s place in the galaxy.
Kaiyodai Observatory has a shop and a café. In the Panorama Room, visitors can watch a video of local animals and plants.

Kaiyodai Observatory

976 104 149*44

Address: 2256-17, Mataochi Nakashibetsu Town

HOURS: Oct.: 9:00-16:30(closed in Nov.) *The rooftop observatory is open.

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Road Information in Hokkaido

Live Cameras of National Highways in eastern Hokkaido