- October 7th, 2016
[Okushiri Island] Blue Sea, Strangely Shaped Rocks, Seafood and Onsen Can Be Enjoyed Island About in Westernmost Part of Hokkaido
- Okushiri Island
- List of Tourist Attractions
- Tasty Foods
- List of Onsen
- List of Events
- List of Activities
- List of Accommodations
Okushiri Island (奥尻島) that about 2,800 people live is a remote island with about 18 km in circumference in the southern part of Hokkaido. It is locatd about at the westernmost part of the Hokkaido, and the island from north to south has a similar shape to Rebun Island (礼文島). About 32,000 tourists come here. Speaking of the Okushiri Island, clear blue sea called Okushiri Blue is famous, and sea urchin, abalone and wine are noted product. The main of Okushiri tourism is going a round the island. The Okushiri Island is roughly divided into 4 areas, Okushiri Area with Okushiri Ferry Port, Aonae Area with Okushiri Airport, Northeast Area and Northwest Area.
Movie of Okushiri Island
In the Okushiri Area, Nabetsuru-iwa Rock (鍋釣岩), Unimaru Park (うにまる公園) and Sato Yoshinori Baseball Museum (佐藤義則野球展示室) are famous tourist attractions. Tokuyo Memorial Park (徳洋記念緑地公園) with Jikusho (時空翔), Okushirito Tsunamikan (奥尻島津波館), Tokuyo Monument (徳洋記念碑) and Aonaemisaki lighthouse (青苗岬灯台), and Aonai Fishing Port with an Abalone Catching Experience Facility are in the Aonae Area. Sainokawa Park (賽の河原公園), Miyazubentengu Shrine (宮津弁天宮), Tamashimayama Observatory (球島山展望台) are famous in Northeast Area. Kitaoimisaki Park (北追岬公園) and Okushiri Winary are in the Northwest Area. The center of the island is the Okushiri Area in the the eastern part of the island with the ferry port, but the Aonae Area is also relatively large. There are accommodations in each areas of the island. In addition, Seicomart, a famous convenience store in the Hokkaido, opens a business in the Okushiri Area. By the way, the Okushiri is well-known as as the island with a lot of stragely shaped rocks, so I think that the tourists can enjoy going a round the island while seeing the stragely shaped rocks along the seashore.
The Okushiri has a few restaurants in the Okushiri Area, the Aonae Area and the Northeast Area. After all, Main ingredients are seafood. The tourists can savor the fresh seafood. As for Onsen, Kamuiwaki Onsen (神威脇温泉) in the Northwest Area is the only onsen in the island, and is famous as the onsen in the westernmost part of the Hokkaido. The Okushiri Island has some events. Okushiri Moonlight Marathon (奥尻ムーンライトマラソン) is held only in a day, mid June, and SainoKawara Festival (賽の河原祭) is held only in a day, late June, and Murotsu Festival (室津祭) is held between 2days in mid July, and Aonae-kotoshironushi Shrine Festival (青苗言代主神社例祭) is held between 3days in mid August, and Nabetsuru Festival (なべつる祭) is held only in a day, late August, and Hands-on Real Puzzle-Solving Event “Adventurous Island” (奥尻島謎解き冒険ゲーム 冒険島) is held from late April to mid October.
Means of transportation to the Okushiri Island are a ferry and an airplane. The ferry service runs between the Okushiri Port and Esashi Port. A flight service runs between the Okushiri Airport and Hakodate Airport through the year. There are some means of transportation for the island tourism, for example, a fixed-route bus, a regular sightseeing taxi (from late April to late September), a sightseeing limousine taxi, a rental car, a rental motor scooter and a rental bicycle. I went around the island by the rental motor scooter, and it was very comfortable.
The Okushiri Island suffered great damage by Southwest-off Hokkaido Earthquake in 1993, but it revives now, and the tourists can visit the tourist attractions freely. A sightseeing peaks from July to August. After all, The island is crowded with the tourists in a summer. When I visited here in an autumn, there were a few tourists, so I saw the island covered with Japanese pampas grass, and it was very good. The tourists can go around the island about for one day, but it is hard to go around the island for one day because the vistors go around the island only in 4 hours if the vistors use the ferry. I went around the daytrip north circumference and the daytrip south circumference for 2 days, but I did not have no time to eat tasty foods. I wanted to eat sea urchin rice bowl and abalone rice bowl. After all, I should have stayed this island, and should have enjoyed a trip around the island.
List of Tourist Attractions
Innumerable strangely shaped rocks and rounded stones along shorelines are main tourist attractions. It might be said a trip to see stones and rocks. The Sainokawa Park, the Miyazubentengu Shrine, the Tamashimayama Observation Deck, the Nabetsuru-iwa rock, the Cape Aonae and the Kitaoimisaki Park are famous tourist attractions. Various exhibitions are displayed at the Sato Yoshinori Baseball Museum and the Okushirito Tsunamikan. In addition, the tourists can experience the abalone catching.
Sainokawara Park (河原公園) is a park at the northmost point of Okushiri Island (奥尻島), and the whole area of Cape Inaho (稲穂岬) has been maintained as the park. Stones piled up for mourning over marine accident victims, drowned people and deceased children at 6 ha of a rocky seashore, so this place seemed to be named as "Sainokawara (賽の河原)" by its view. The Sainokawara Park is one of 5 Major Sacred Places in Southern Hokkaido along with Sasayama Inari Shrine (笹山稲荷神社) in Esashi, Ota Shrine (太田神社) in Setana, Monshoan Temple in (門昌庵) Yakumo and Sainokawara (賽の河原) in Esan. The park is windswept, so the wind is blowing hard. A camping ground, a baseball ground, an observatory deck and a restraunt "Kita-no-Misaki Sakurabana (北の岬さくらばな)", a public restroom and a parking lot are built at the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Read More
Tamashimayama Observation Deck
Tamashimayama Observation Deck (球島山展望台) is a lookout on the top of Mt. Tamashima (球島山), the 3rd highest mountain in Okushiri Island, in the northern part of the Okushiri Island. The elevation of the mountain is 396 m. Visitors can enjoy a 360 degree view because there is nothing to interrupt the view, so it is the most popular famous tourist attraction in the Okushiri Island. Starry sky can be enjoyed in the evening, and I guess that the sunset also looks beautiful. The lookout and a parking lot are built at the site. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Read More
Miyazubentengu Shrine (宮津弁天宮) is a shrine on Cape Benten in the northern part of Okushiri Island, and is beside Miyazu Fishing Port (宮津港). The official name is Okitsu Shrine (澳津神社). For praying for a large catch, a shrine building is built on a small hill of about 10 m height. An impressive scenery is created by the red shrine building on the small hill, and a good place to view is popular. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. A public restroom is built at Miyazubenten Parking Lot Park (宮津弁天駐車公園). Read More
Nabetsuru-iwa Rock (鍋釣岩) is a strangely shaped rock near Okushiri Ferry Port in the eastern part of Okushiri Island, and is famous as an icon of the Okushiri. The blue sea goes well with the arch, and a combination of the setting sun and the strangely shaped rock is popular. The rock is lit up in the evening, and it seems to look beaufitul. A view is nice in a winter, too. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. There is a public restroom, too. Read More
Kitaoimisaki Park (北追岬公園) is a park in the westernmost part of Okushiri Island, and is built on Cape Kuzure of about 20-45 m elevation. It is said that this place is the westernmost manned place of Hokkaido, and is a good place to see the beautiful setting sun. Starry sky also looks beautiful. The concept of the park is an open-air museum of art. The park is dotted with Sculptures created by Mr. Masayuki Nagare (流政之), a famous sculptor, and those are made of various material such as stones or iron, and those size are various. In addition, a park golf coure, a camping ground, a public restroom and a parking lot at the site, too. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. Kamuiwaki Onsen (神威脇温泉) and Okushiri Winery are near here. The park is near the only hot spring facility in Okushiri Island and a beautiful sunset can be seen, and it is most suitable for camping. Read More
Cape Aonae (青苗岬) is a cape in the southmost point of Okushiri Island, and is near Okushiri Airport. The root of the cape has the 2nd largest residential area in the Okushiri, and it is famous for suffering heavy damage from Tsunami. The tip of the cape is developed as Tokuyo Memorial Park (徳洋記念緑地公園) at present. Jikusho (時空翔), Okushirito Tsunamikan (奥尻島津波館), Tokuyo Monument (徳洋記念碑) and Aonaemisaki lighthouse (青苗岬灯台) are built at the cape. In addition, various playground equipments for children and a tourist facility for abalone catching experience are also built. The Self-Defense Forces camped when I visited here. Read More
Unimaru Park (うにまる公園) is close to Okushiri High School in the east side of the Okushiri Island. An art work of the Unimaru, a mascot character of the Okushiri Island, is built on a small hill, and around here is developed as the park. The Sato Yoshinori Baseball Museum is also at the site, and visitors can enter freely. Mr. Yoshinori Sato is a former professinal baseball player from the Okushiri Island, and is well-known as a good coach training Mr. Darubisshu Yuu (ダルビッシュ有) and Mr. Masahiro Tanaka (田中将大), major league baseball players.
Nagahama (長浜) that granites spread over along the shore of the southeast part of the Okushiri Island for 8 km is filled with the rounded granites. A strange sight greeted my eyes. There is no tourist facility.
Strangely Shaped Rocks
The Okushiri Island is well-known for strangely shaped rocks. The Nabetsuru-iwa Rocks, Muen Island (無縁島), Hoya-ishi Rock (ホヤ石), Mottate-iwa Rock (モッ立岩), Kamui-iwa Rock (神威岩) or Kabuto-iwa Rock (カブト岩) and Byobutate-iwa Rock (屏風立岩) are famous in particular. The origins of their names have a similar shape to their each rocks. The Hoya-ishi Rock is named after sea squirt, a marine product, (The Hoya means "Sea squirt" in English). The Kabuto-iwa Rock is named after a samurai warrior helmet (The Kabuto means "A samurai warrior helmet" in English) because its shape used to similar to the samurai warrior helmet, but the rock have been broken by the earthquake at present. The Mottate is an unfamiliar word, and it seems that the Mottate means "Standing" in English * I have never hear the Mottate in Japanese. Because the rock is similar to male's dick, it is named so. Except those, there are a lot of nameless strangely shaped rock. Because all rocks look famous strangely shaped rocks, it is mysterious.
Movie of Muen Island
Movie of Hoya-ishi Rock
Movie of Kabuto-iwa Rock
The Okushiri Island is surrounded by the sea, so the seafood is very tasty. Sea Urchin Rice Bowl, Abalone Rice Bowl and Raw Sliced Cuttlefish are famous. Wine and Sake are produced in the island. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time, so could not eat the foods, but I wanted to eat sea urchin. In addition, Hi Sherbet of Tsuboya Ice Candy Store (坪谷冷菓店) and Volu of Sato Ingredient Shop (さとう食材) are famous sweets in the Okushiri Island.
List of Onsen
The Kamuiwaki Onsen is the only hot spring place in the western part of the Okushiri Island, and is onsen in the westernmost part of the Hokkaido, too. It iswell-known as a little-known hot spring place. Horonai Onsen (幌内温泉) that is rare onsen containing natural radium in the Hokkaido used to be, but it has been closed down by the Tsunami.
Kamuiwaki Onsen (神威脇温泉) in the western part of Okushiri Island is only hot spring place in Okushiri Island, and this onsen is located on the westermost of Hokkaido, too, and is famous for the beautiful sunset. There are 2 hot spring facilities next to Kitaoimisaki Park and Kamuiwaki fishing port (神威脇漁港), and Kamuiwaki Onsen Hoyojo (神威脇温泉保養所) is built on the seaside, and Onsen Hotel Midorikan (温泉ホテル緑館) is built on the hillside. The distance is around 20 km away from the center of the Okushiri. Unfortunately, restraunts, cafes, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built around here. Read More
Ruins of Horonai Onsen
The Horonai Onsen is located at the north part of the Kamuiwaki Onsen. Originally, there used to be an accommodation called Kokuminshukusha Horonaiso (国民宿舎幌内荘), but it was destroyed by the Tsunami. There is not a building at present, But a strangely shaped calcareous sinter tower like an anthill appears. There is a bathtub for some reason, too, so someone may take a bath. But hot springs are very cold, and are not comfortable.
Atmosphere of Ruins of Horonai Onsen Can Be Watched on Youtube
List of Events
Some events are held in the Okushiri Island. Especially, a lot of the events are held from June to August.
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Okushiri Island. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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