- July 4th, 2016
[Onko Forest in Yagishiri Island] Onko Forest Designated Natural Monument in Japan Grow Naturally
Onko Forest (オンコの森) is a virgin forest in the eastern part of Yagishiri Island (焼尻島). The Onko means "Japanese yew" in Hokkaido dialect. About 50,000 Japanese yews grow naturally, and those have been designated a natural monument in Japan. Except the Japanese yews, 50 types of coniferous trees and broadleaf trees with over 200 years old such as Japanese oak, scarlet-tinged ivy, Amur cork tree, Japanese linden, magnolia, Japanese rowan and Japanese alder also grow naturally in the forest. A cycling road and walks are built in the forest, and there are graveyard for 2 feudal retainers of Aizu Clan (会津藩士の墓), strangely shaped trees (奇木), Hibarigaoka Park (雲雀ヶ丘公園), Uguisu-dani Valley (うぐいす谷) and Onko-no-Sho Tree (オンコの荘) along the cycling road and the walks. In addition, the forest is adjacent to a sheep ranch. A good typical scenery of the Hokkaido comes into the sight if visitors come out of the forest. Admission free.
Onko-no-Sho Tree (オンコの荘) is an old tree along a walk path between Uguisudani Vallay (ウグイス谷) and Shirahama Camping Ground (白浜キャンプ場) in the southern part of Yagishiri Island (焼尻島), and is a part of Onko Forest (オンコの森). The Sho (荘) means "A building" in English, for exaple, it is used as a villa (別荘). When I visited here, Marguerite was the best season, and it was full in bloom along the walk path. That was a beautiful view. In addition, a combination of the sea and a sheep ranch is a superb scenery from here. Admission free. Read More
Sheep Ranch (めん羊牧場) is a ranch run by Hoshu Farm (萌州ファーム) in the center part of Yagishiri Island (焼尻島), and they raise about 500 suffolk sheep at the grassland of about 80 ha. Those meat are well-known as "Pré Salé Yagishiri (プレ・サレ焼尻)", one of expensive mutton in Japan, and it has a good reputation. The grassland spreads over along Onko Sea Road (オンコ海道), and it is said that the scenery looks like Scottland. I feel a foreign atmosphere indeed, and I think that the scenery is a typical scenery of Hokkaido, too. By the way, outlanders are prohibited from entering the grassland, so visitors should enjoy views along the Onko Sea Road. Read More
There are some means of transportation for the island tourism, for example, a sightseeing hire or a rental bicycle. I rend the bicycle, and it took about 2 hours to go around the Yagishiri Island by the rental bicycle. Walkers can go around for about 4 hours on foot. Be careful not to be late for the ferry.
Shokanbetsu Teuri Yagishiri Quasi-National Park
Shokanbetsu Teuri Yagishiri Quasi-National Park (暑寒別天売焼尻国定公園) is a quasi-national park between Ishikari city, Shin-totsukawa town, Uryu town, Hokuryu town and Haboro town in the northern part of Hokkaido along the Sea of Japan (日本海), and extends from the north to the south, and has been designated as the quasi-national park since 1990. The area is 43,559 ha, and the the quasi-national park has the 8th largest area in 57 quasi-national parks (not include national parks) in Japan. It consists of 2 isolated islands, Shokanbetsu Mountain Range (暑寒別山系) and a coast, and beautiful nature such as the sea, the mountains, sea birds, trees, wild flowers and wetlands is highlight. The Shokanbetsu Teuri Yagishiri Quasi-National Park is divided into 4 areas, Teuri Island (天売島), Yagishiri Island (焼尻島), SHokanbetsu Area (暑寒別エリア) and Atsuta and Hamamasu Area (厚田・浜益エリア), and the Teuri Island, the Yagishiri Island and the SHokanbetsu Area mainly have a lot of highlights. Read More
Look of Onko Forest
An entrance of the Onko Forest is near a Haboro town office, and is also close to Yagishiri Ferry Port. The graveyard for 2 feudal retainers of the Aizu Clan are built near the entrance. So far as I know, the Yagishiri, Rishiri, Wakkanai, Yoichi and Notsuke Peninsula have the graveyard for feudal retainers of the Aizu Clan even only in the Hokkaido, so I admire that the feudal retainers of the Aizu Clan went out from the Aizu Clan (Fukushima prefecture at present) to here and there in the Hokkaido in Edo period. The paved cycling road is maintained in the forest, and looking for the strangely shped trees along the road is one way to enjoy. It takes about 60 minutes by a bicycle. My founded the strangely shped trees are as follows.
The Uguisu-dani Valley is known as a place for enjoying bird watching. I surely heard small birdsong from here and there. A brook flows at a ravine, and I think that wild birds are easy to live. There is a large tree "Uguisudai-no-Ubamatsu (鶯谷の姥松)" near Taiko Bridge (太鼓橋), and the tree has a legend. A Tengu (天狗) used to live on the tree. A certain person would cut down the tree, and died by fallen over other tree. So nobody would cut down the tree.
Atmosphere of Onko Forest Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||Free parking is not provided|
|Business hours||Open 24 hours|
|Regular closing day||Open all year round|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||929 381 302*88|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Yagishiri.
A page of Yagishiri Island is here
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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