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[North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park] A Little-Known Nature Tourist Attractions

June 11th, 2014

North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park

North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク自然公園) is a natural park among Sarufustu village, Hamatonbetsu town and Esashi town in the northern part of Hokkaido, and has been designated as the prefectural natural park since 1968. The area is 3,927 ha. Groups of lakes and swamps such as Lake Kutcharo (クッチャロ湖), wild flowers in Beniya Primitive Flower Garden (ベニヤ原生花園), and wild birds such as Motacilla Flava and Swan can be observed in this area. A lot of tourists do not come. The natural park has been chosen as one of 100 Unexplored Regions in Japan (日本の秘境100選), and is contained in 500 Important Wetlands in Japan (日本の重要湿地500). A straight road without signals is one of worth seeing places, too. Tourists can enjoy the nature of the typical Hokkaido without being crowded. I think that here is a little-known tourist attractions in the northern Hokkaido.

Sunset in Lake Kutcharo
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Lake Kutcharo, Hamatonbetsu
Tundra Swan
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Lake Kutcharo, Hamatonbetsu
Wetland
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Lake Kutcharo, Hamatonbetsu

The straight road appeared in CM of Asahikasei, TOYOTA and ISUZU, and is popular as a shooting place. Some events are held in the North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, and Esashi Crab Festival (枝幸かにまつり) is held between 2days in early July, and Lake Kutcharo Lakewater Festival (クッチャロ湖湖水まつり) is held between 2days in mid July, and Sarufustu Sightseeing Festival (さるふつ観光まつり) is held between 2days in late July, and North Okhotsk 100 Km Marathon (北オホーツク100kmマラソン) is held only in a day, late July. By the way, the Sea of Okhotsk is well-known for treasury of seafood, and the Sarufutsu is the most scallops landed town in Japan, and the Esashi is the most hair crabs landed town in Japan. Tasty seafood is worth eating. As for tasty restaurants in this area, Yumekukan shop (夢喰間), Restraunt "Fusetsu" (レストラン風雪) and Ramen Yawaraya (柔家) is popular in particular. As for onsen, The Hamatonbetsu Onsen Wing is in the North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, and the Esashi Onsen Hotel New Korin, the Utanobori Onsen and the Pinneshiri Onsen are near the prefectural natural park.

Sacred Place for Motorcycle Touring Rider
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Esanuka Line, Sarufutsu
Scallop
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Esanuka Line, Sarufutsu
Roadside Station Sarufutsu Park
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Esanuka Line, Sarufutsu

List of Tourist Attractions

The North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park has a lot of lakes and swamps such as the Lake Kutcharo, Kamuito Swamp (カムイト沼), Kimoma Swamp (キモマ沼), Poro Swamp (ポロ沼), Mokeuni Swamp (モケウニ沼), Sarukotsu Swamp (猿骨沼), Pon Swamp (ポン沼) and Hyotan Swamp (瓢箪沼). But those are few lakes and swamps that visitors can approach the lakesides. Beniya Primitive Flower Garden (ベニヤ原生花園) and Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden (エサヌカ原生花園) are along the Sea of the Okhotsk, and wetlands spread over around the Lake Kutcharo and the Mokeuni Swamp, and various types of wild flowers can be seen. In Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks (ウスタイベ千畳岩) and Cape Kitami Kamui (北見神威岬), the beautiful blue sea can be savored. Do not miss Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線) called a sacred place for motorcycle touring riders, too. In addition, Sarufustu Oji Forest (猿払王子の森) and Sarufutsu Park (さるふつ公園) are relatively famous. My visited places are as follows.

Lake Kutcharo

Lake Kutcharo (クッチャロ湖) is a brackish water lake in Hamatonbetsu town located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Beniya Primeval Flower Garden (ベニヤ原生花園) and Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園). The lake has been designated as the Ramsar Convention Wetland since 1989, and has been chosen one of 500 Important Wetlands in Japan (日本の重要湿地500). The Kutcharo means "A river mouth that lake water flows out" in Ainu language, and it and Lake Kussharo (屈斜路湖) in Eastern Hokkaido mean the same thing. The perimeter of the swamp is 27 km. The maximum water depth is 2.5 m. Waterfowl Observation Center (水鳥観察館), Kutcharo Lakeside Shop (クッチャロ湖畔売店), Kutcharo Lakeside Campsite (クッチャロ湖畔キャンプ場), Hamatonbetsu Onsen Wing (はまとんべつ温泉ウイング), a footbath, Kutcharo Lakeside Shrine (クッチャロ湖湖畔神社) and Hakuchosha House (白鳥の舎) are built at the southeastern side of the lake. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Lake Kutcharo
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Lake Kutcharo, Hamatonbetsu

Kamuito Swamp

Kamuito Swamp (カムイト沼) is a freshwater lake in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is a part of Asajino Wetland (浅茅野湿原) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園), and is contained in 500 Important Wetlands in Japan (日本の重要湿地500). The Kamuito means "A swamp that gods live in" in Ainu language, that is to say, the gods live in the swamp. The perimeter of the swamp is 2.3 km. The maximum water depth is 5.2 m. Tateyama Marimo Moss Balls (タテヤママリモ) and Itou fish (イトウ) seem to inhabit the swamp. A wooden path is built on the lakeside, and the swamp can be seen closely there. Unfortunately, the entering wooden path has been prohibited since 2017 because of the breaking wooden path. A parking lot and a restroom are built at the site. But there is not sightseeing facility around here. By the way, In a winter, snow is not removed away on the road, so watch the road. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Kamuito Swamp
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Kamuito Swamp, Sarufutsu

Kimoma Swamp

Kimoma Swamp (キモマ沼) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園) is a freshwater lake along Hokkaido Road 1089 in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Poro Swamp (ポロ沼). The Kimoma means "A swamp in a mountain" in Ainu language. The swamp surrounded by ranches and trees is laocated at about 5 m evelation. The perimeter of the swamp is 2.5 km. The maximum water depth is 3 m. Tateyama Marimo Moss Balls (タテヤママリモ) and Itou fish (イトウ) seem to inhabit the swamp. Here is waterfowls' colony, and about 10,000 wild gooses and ducks can be observed. There is not sightseeing facility. There is not a parking lot, too. Article is here

Kimoma Swamp
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Kimoma Swamp, Sarufutsu

Poro Swamp

Poro Swamp (ポロ沼) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園) is a brackish water lake in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線), Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden (エサヌカ原生花園) and Kimoma Swamp (キモマ沼). It has been chosen as one of 500 Important Wetlands in Japan (日本の重要湿地500). The Poro means "Large" in Ainu language. The perimeter of the swamp is about 6 km. The maximum water depth is 2.7 m. The swamp is well-known for fishing Itou Fish (イトウ), and is a sacred place for anglers. But I guess that it is hard to approach the lakeside in a summer. In a winter, Pond smelt fishing can be enjoyed. Whistling Swan and Bean Goose come flying and rest their wing early in the winter. Article is here

Poro Swamp from Sarufutsu River
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Poro Swamp, Sarufutsu

Mokeuni Swamp

Mokeuni Swamp (モケウニ沼) is a freshwater lake in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線). The swamp is a part of Asajino Wetland (浅茅野湿原) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園), and is contained in 500 Important Wetlands in Japan (日本の重要湿地500). The Mokeuni means "A swamp with dead trees" in Ainu language. The perimeter of the swamp is 6 km. The maximum water depth is 4.0 m. The swamp surrounded by ranches and wetlands is linked to Mokeuni Konuma Swamp (モケウニ小沼) and Mokeuni Kaminonuma Swamp (モケウニ上の沼 Daiichi-numa Swamp (第1沼)) through rivers. A wooden path is built in the southern part of the Mokeuni Swamp, and visitors can approach the lakeside through the wooden path. A parking lot and a public restroom are built at the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

View from Parking Lot
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Mokeuni Swamp, Sarufutsu

Beniya Primitive Flower Garden

Beniya Primitive Flower Garden (ベニヤ原生花園) is a wild flower garden in Hamatonbetsu town located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線) and Lake Kutcharo (クッチャロ湖) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園). The Beniya is named after the name of a farmer that used to cultivate a pyrethrum around here. The primitive flower garden consists of a wetland, a coast, a grassland and a forest, and more than 100 types of wild plants such as Japanese Rose and Japanese Iris Ensata are in the bloom from May to August in the site of 330 ha. Motacilla Flava and Zootoca Vivipara inhabit only the northern part of Hokkaido, too. Here is popular as a good place to watch wild birds. An observation tower, a rest station named Hana-Hana House (花花ハウス), a stall at the building, a public restroom and a parking lot at the site. The Hana-Hana House and the stall open a business from June to September. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Beniya Primitive Flower Garden
Beniya Primitive Flower Garden

Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden

Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden (エサヌカ原生花園) is a wild flower garden in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Poro Swamp (ポロ沼). Wild plants such as Yezo Lily, Rosa Rugosa and Creeping Pine grow naturally along a straight road of about 4 km length in the northen part of Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線). Wild birds can be watched, too. But I do not know where the wild flower garden starts and ends. The best time see the wild flowers is from late June to early July. There is no sightseeing facility. I guess that the wild flowers are seen just from the road side. Article is here

Both Sides of Esanuka Line Are Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden, Sarufutsu

Esanuka Line

Esanuka Line (エサヌカ線) is a village road in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is near Lake Kuccharo (クッチャロ湖), Beniya Primeval Flower Garden (ベニヤ原生花園), Moukeni Swamp (モウケニ沼) and Poro Swamp (ポロ沼), and has Esanuka Primeval Flower Garden (エサヌカ原生花園) is along the road. The official name is Sarufutsu Village Road Esanuka Line (猿払村道エサヌカ線), and the total length is about 16 km. A part of the road is a straight road of about 4 km and a straight road of about 8 km, and the roads grow straight towards the horizon, so a typical scenery of Hokkaido is popular with motorcycle touring riders and tourists. I guess that 80 % of people using this road is the tourists. Telephone poles and road traffic signs are not built along the road, so nothing is disturb visitors' sight. The bare horizon can be enjoyed. There is no sightseeing facility. The visitors enjoy only driving or taking a photo. I think that nothing is worth. An amazing scenery appeared in CM of Asahikasei, TOYOTA and ISUZU, and those used here as a shooting place. The CM of the Asahikasei used the former road, and I wonder if it triggered a popularity. By the way, I mistakenly remember Enusaka Line instead of A the Esanuka Line. In a winter, snow is not removed away on the road, so watch the road. Article is here

広告

Both Sides of Straight Road Is Grass
North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, Esanuka Line, Sarufutsu

Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks

Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks (ウスタイベ千畳岩) is a rocky seashore in Esashi town located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city. Although the seashore is located in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園), the distance is only 2 km away from the center of the Esashi. Its name was named after the state like tatami‐floored shore. The Usutaibe (ウスタイベ) is the name of the cape, and the Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks is at the tip of the cape. Usutaibe Campsite (ウスタイベキャンプ場), a parking lot, a public restroom and a common kitchen are built at the site. The campsite has a good reputation because facilities are well-kept. The campsite is also large, and campers can enter grassy ground by their motorbike or their cars directly. Admission free. The parking lot and the campsite are free of charge. Article is here

Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks
Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks in Esashi

Cape Kitami Kamui

Cape Kitami Kamui (北見神威岬) in North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park (北オホーツク道立自然公園) is a cape between Esashi town and Hamatonbetsu town located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city. The Kamui means "A nose of a god" in Ainu language. The cape is the northernmost place of Hidaka Mountain Range called a spine of Hokkaido, and the mountain range gets in the ocean from Cape Erimo, the southernmost place of the Hidaka Mountain Range, through Daisetsuzan Mountain Range to here. Range of mountains runs north and south in the Hokkaido, so it is just the spine. Speaking of Cape Kamui, the Cape Kamui (神威岬) in Shakotan Peninsula (積丹半島) is famous, and that means "A god" in Ainu language. The words are same, but meanings are a little difference. Although beautiful blue sea called "Shakotan Blue" around the Shakotan Peninsula is famous, the Cape Kitami Kamui also has beautiful blue sea, and I think that visitors are moved by the sea. Kitami Kamuimisaki Lighthuse (北見神威岬灯台) is built at the cape, and Kitami Kamuimisaki Park is near the cape. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Cape Kitami Kamui
Cape Kitami Kamui in Esashi

Sarufutsu Park

Sarufutsu Park (さるふつ公園) is a park at Sarufutsu village ranch (猿払村営牧場) along National Route 238 in Sarufutsu village located in the southeastern part of Wakkanai city, and is about 2 km away from the center of the Sarufutsu, and is relatively near Sarukotsu Swamp (猿骨沼) and Poro Swamp (ポロ沼). Roadside station "Sarufutsu Park (道の駅さるふつ公園)", Yumekukan shop (夢喰間), Nanakamado shop (ななかまど), Sarufustu Marugotokan (さるふつまるごと館), Sarufutsu Hotel (さるふつホテル), Restraunt "Fusetsu" (レストラン風雪), Sarufutsu Ikoi-no-Yu (さるふつ憩いの湯), Milk and Meat House (牛乳と肉の館), Sarufustu Park Camping Site (さるふつ公園キャンプ場), Fusetsu Tower (風雪の塔), Agriculture Museum (農業資料館), Rosian Ship Indigirka Victim Cenotaph (インディギルカ号遭難者慰霊碑), Isari monument (いさりの碑), a park golf course, a public restroom and parking lots are at the site. Sarufustu Sightseeing Festival (さるふつ観光まつり) is held between 2days in late July. Admission free. Parking lots are free of charge. Article is here

Sarufutsu Park
Sarufutsu Park

List of Tasty Foods

The Sea of the Okhotsk is well-known for the treasury of marine products, and the Sarufutsu is the most scallops landed town in Japan, and the Esashi is the most hair crabs landed town in Japan. Tasty seafood is worth eating. As for tasty restaurants in this area, Yumekukan shop (夢喰間), Restraunt "Fusetsu" (レストラン風雪) and Ramen Yawaraya (柔家) is popular in particular. My visited places are as follows.

Hair Crab
Usutaibe Senjoiwa Rocks in Esashi

Yumekukan

Yumekukan (夢喰間) is a shop at roadside station "Sarufutsu Park (さるふつ公園)" in Sarufutsu village, and is next to very large ranch facing the Sea of Okhotsk. Visitors can view magnificent nature. A building is built near Indigirka memorial monument (インディギルカ号遭難者慰霊碑) and Sarufutsu Ikoi-no-Yu (さるふつ憩いの湯). The Sarufutsu village is the most scallops landed town in Japan, so it is famous for the scallops. Fishermen discharge the scallops into the sea, and they raise those up in the sea for 5 years. Natural scallops that are not cultured scallops become sweet thick flesh with high quality. Article is here

Grilled Scallops with Soy Sauce on Skewer
Sarufutsu Park

List of Onsen

The hot springs gush out in the Hamatonbetsu and the Esashi. The Hamatonbetsu Onsen Wing is in the North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, and the Esashi Onsen Hotel New Korin, the Utanobori Onsen and the Pinneshiri Onsen are near the prefectural natural park. My visited places are as follows.

Utanobori Onsen

Utanobori Onsen (歌登温泉) is a hot-spring resort in Esashi town located in the southern part of Wakkanai city. Utanobori Green Park Hotel (うたのぼりグリーンパークホテル) and Asakura Onsen (朝倉温泉) are built at about 110 m above sea level in the Utanobori Health Restoration Village (うたのぼり健康回復村). The Utanobori Health Restoration Village is a relaxation place that visitors get their health back. It takes about 10 minutes from the center of Utashinai. There is a complex with the Fureai-no-Mori (ふれあいの森) that visitors enjoy a forest bathing, a camping ground, a cottage, Tenpoku Ski Resort (天北スキー場), South Soya Country Club (南宗谷カントリークラブ) and a lavender field, and the visitors can enjoy in various ways. Unfortunately, restraunts, cafes, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built. Article is here

Utanobori Green Park Hotel
Utanobori Green Park Hotel

Pinneshiri Onsen

Pinneshiri Onsen (ピンネシリ温泉) is a hot spring place along Tonbatu Nationl Route (頓別国道 * National Route 275) in Nakatonbetsu town located in the southern part of Wakkanai city, and Roadside station "Pinneshiri (ピンネシリ)" is built in front of Hotel Bogaku-so (ホテル望岳荘). There is a complex called Pinneshiri Village Farm Park (ピンネシリヴィレッジファームパーク) around here, and the road station, an automatic camping ground, a cottage, Local Life Experience Museum (ふるさと生活体験館), Onsen facility "Hotel Bogaku-so", a trailhead, a forest for study and a park golf course are collectted, and there is Soya Nature School (そうや自然学校), too. Here is surrounded by forests, so nature is very rich, so souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built. But Restraunt Mori-no-Kitchen Haru is built. Article is here

Hotel Bogaku-so
Pinneshiri Onsen

List of Events

In the North Okhotsk Prefectural Natural Park, a lot of the events are held in July.

Movie of North Okhotsk 100 Km Marathon

Movie of Esashi Crab Festival

Movie of Lake Kutcharo Lakewater Festival

Movie of Sarufustu Sightseeing Festival

List of Activities

Lake Kutcharo Eco Workers provides some activities such as a canoe tour. Refer to following websites for the activity companies. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Movie of Canoe

Lake Kutcharo Eco Workers(NPO法人 クッチャロ湖エコワーカーズ)
ASOVIEW
Jalan

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations near the Hamatonbetsu, the Sarufutsu and the Esashi. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Hamatonbetsu Onsen Wing(はまとんべつ温泉 ウイング)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Hamatonbetsu Hotel(浜頓ホテル)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Minshuku Toshika-no-Yado(民宿トシカの宿)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Kumamotoya Ryokan(熊本屋旅館) Only Tel:+81-1634-2-2061
Pension Sazare(ペンション小石) Only Tel:+81-1634-2-2226
Minshuku Yuhi(民宿 雄飛)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Farm Inn Bunchan-no-Sato(ファームイン ぶんちゃんの里)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Kuccharo Lakeside Camping Ground(クッチャロ湖畔キャンプ場)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Hotel Sarufutsu(ホテルさるふつ)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Minshuku Ryokan Sarufutsu Marine(民宿旅館 さるふつマリン)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Ikoiya Hamashita(いこい家 はました)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Kasai Ryokan(笠井旅館)
Booking
Rider House Yamase(ライダーハウス やませ)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Sarufutsu Park Bungalow(猿払公園バンガロー)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Rider House Yamase(ライダーハウス やませ)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Sarufutsu Park Bungalow(猿払公園バンガロー)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Esshi Onsen Hotel New Korin(枝幸温泉 ホテル ニュー幸林)
Booking
Osaki Ryokan(大崎旅館) Only Tel:+81-163-62-1221

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