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In Tomakomai, Mt. Tarumae and Tarumae Garo Gorge Can Be Enjoyed in Mountain Side and Seafood Can Be Enjoyed in Sea Side

May 16th, 2014


Tomakomai (苫小牧) that 170,000 people live is the fifth largest city in Hokkaido and is located in the central part of Hokkaido, and it is a manufacturing town facing the Pacific. There are Oji Paper factory (王子製紙) and petrochemical complexes. As for climate, it is warmer than other places in Hokkaido in a summer and a winter, and it features that Tomakomai has less snow than other placess in Hokkaido. Therefore skating as one of famous winter sports is prosperous. Because Tomakomai is close to New Chitose Airport and there is Tomakomai Ferry terminal, Tomakomai has traffic convenience.

Tomakomai from Mt. Tarumae
Road for Oji

On the other hand, Tomakomai has rich nature, too. There are lakes such as Lake Utonai (ウトナイ湖) and Nishiki Onuma Park (錦大沼公園) because Tomakomai have been damp ground originally, and Tarumae Garo Gorge (樽前ガロー) is famous for having mystery beautifulness. Speaking of a symbol of Tomakomai, it is Mt. Tarumae (樽前山). Schools in Tomakomai always seem to go on an excursion to Mt. Tarumae. Tomakomai faces the sea, and marine products are abundant. Tomakomai is in particular proud of the best catch of surf clam in Japan, and recipes using the surf clam including seared surf clam meal, a rice and curry with the surf clam (ホッキカレー) are invented one after another.

Tomakomai Fishing Port and Marutoma Shokudo


Tomakomai has rich nature. There are the Mt. Tarumae, an active volcano, and the Tarumae Garo Gorge that a river flows into old lava-stream in the northwest part of Tomakomai city. There is the Lake Utonai that many wild birds come to rest their wings in the eastern part of Tomakomai city. In addition, there is the Nishiki Onuma Park as a citizen's relaxing place in the western part of Tomakomai city, too.

Lake Utonai

Lake Utonai (ウトナイ湖) is a freshwater lake in the northeastern part of Tomakomai city. The perimeter of the lake is about 10 km and is not so large. The Lake Utonai has a beautiful wetland and was designed as the Ramsar Convention in 1991. More than 260 kinds of waterfowls such as Whooper Swan and Whistling Swan inhabit, and the lake is called "Paradise for Wild Birds." In addition, 500 kinds of plants such as Quercus Crispula and Haskap grow, and 3,900 kinds of insecta inhabit. It is called "Natural Treasury", too, and takes about 20 minutes from New Chitose Airport by a car. Article is here

View from Observation Hut
Lake Utonai in Tomakomai

Atmosphere of Lake Utonai Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Lake Utonai

Tarumae Garo Gorge

Tarumae Garo Gorge (樽前ガロー) is located in the western part of Tomakomai city. A cliff face was eroded by water, and the banks of Tarumae River change to steep cliffs. Garo means a river between the steep cliffs in Tohoku dialect. More than 60 kinds of mosses grow thick on the surface of the cliffs in a summer. It is just like a green carpet. Moss Cave (苔の洞門) around Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖) is in danger of falling rocks and is closed down now. Tarumae Garo Gorge is one of few places that this fantastic scene can be seen. However, I think that this is a little-known sightseeing spot because few tourists come. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. But there is no facility. There is only nature. Article is here

Down Stream
Tomakomai, Tarumae Garo Gorge

Atmosphere of Tarumae Garo Gorge Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Tarumae Garo Gorge

Mt. Tarumae

Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) with 1,041 m in height is an active volcano in the northwestern part of Tomakomai city and is near Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖). Volcanic activity seemed to begin about 9,000 years ago. There is Triplex Lava Domes called Tarumae Dome (樽前ドーム) on the mountaintop, and it was born when it erupted in 1909. The Triplex Lava Domes are very rare in the world and have designed as the Hokkaido Natural Monument. The climbing season is from late May to mid November. There is a restroom only at the seventh station of Mt. Tarumae parking lot. Because there is not the restroom on the way up mountain, tourists should go to the restroom before mountain climbing. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Nishiyama and Lava Dome
Mt. Tarumae in Tomakomai

Atmosphere of Mt. Tarumae Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Mt. Tarumae

Nishiki Onuma Park

Nishiki Onuma Park (錦大沼公園) is located in the western part of Tomakomai city. The park with rich nature has Lake Nishiki Onuma (錦大沼) that the perimeter of the lake is about 3.5 km and Lake Nishiki Konuma (錦小沼) that the perimeter of the lake is about 1.6 km, and walk paths are built around the shore. In addition, there are a restroom and a rock garden and an auto camping ground. Tourists can enjoy fishing Japanese pond smelt in a winter.

Nishiki Onuma Park
Nishiki Onuma Park

Atmosphere of Nishiki Onuma Park Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Nishiki Onuma Park

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (157 Cars)
Business hours Open 24 hours
Regular closing day Open all year round
Telephone number +81-144-32-6500
Home page Home page is here

Tasty Foods

Tomakomai has abundant fresh marine products. Many dishes using raw ingredients are served, too, but that is not all. There is Aji-no-Daio Total Head Office (味の大王総本家) that is said to be an originator of curry ramen (カレーラーメン) and is Okra and Natto Spaghetti (オクラ納豆スパゲッティ) loved by Tomakomai citizen, and there are many interesting and tasty local specialty foods.


There is Aji-no-Daio Total Head office that is famous for curry ramen, and ordinary people may think that it is famous town for the curry ramen. However, that is not all. Each ramen restaurants serve tasty Tomakomai ramen with the original seasoning. I visited Aji-no-Daio Total Head office, Jomon (縄文), Aji-no-Gojuban (味の五十番) and Aji-no-Ichiryu (味の一龍).

Atmosphere of Restaurants Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie ofAji-no-Daio Head Restaurant's Curry Ramen

Movie ofJomon's Wakashio Ramen

Movie of Aji-no-Gojuban's Rich Taste Salt Ramen with Fried Bean Sprouts

Movie of Aji-no-Ichiryu's Surf Clam Ramen


Fresh fishery products are unloaded at Tomakomai fishing port, and tasty seafood are undeniable facts. Dishes using surf clam are in particular famous. I visited Marutoma Shokudo (マルトマ食堂), Miuraya (三浦や) and Chako (茶湖).

Atmosphere of Restaurants Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Marutoma Shokudo's Surf Clam Rice Bowl

Movie of Miuraya's Rice Bowl Topped with Sashimi

Movie of Choko's Surf Clam Rice and Curry

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Tonkatsu Ajidokoro Teppei (とんかつ味処てっ平) is a famous breaded pork cutlet restaurant in Otowa-cho, Tomakomai city and was founded in 1974. Tomakomai citizen have been loving the breaded pork cutlet long-established restaurant. They seem to be particular about various things. Because they place high importance on "Taste is good for the health", they are particular about safe ingredients and handmade and choose pork, cooking oil, bread crumb, rice, soup broth and other ingredients carefully. They are particular about hot and fresh, too. Article is here

Tonkatsu Ajidokoro Teppei
Breaded Pork Cutlet -Teppei in Tomakomai-

Breaded Pork Cutlet and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Teppei's Breaded Pork Cutlet

Okra and Natto Spaghetti

Petit Restaurant Brake (プチレストラン葡麗紅) is a long-established restaurant in Shinnakano-cho, Tomakomai city and was founded in 1975. It and was loved by local people. There were a neighboring old man and housewives at the restraunt when I visited. They serve well‐known dish included kaicho steak (会長ステーキ), omelette with rice and hamburger steak, but I wanted to eat okra and natto spaghetti (オクラ納豆スパゲッティ) and visited here. Article is here

It Looks Tasty!
Tomakomai, Okra and Natto Spaghetti -Brake-

Okra and Natto Spaghetti and Atmosphere of Restaurant Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Brake's Okra and Natto Spaghetti


Speaking of Tomakomai, Mitsuboshi (三星) is a representative of confectionery. Yoitomake (ヨイトマケ) using blue honeysuckle jam is famous. In addition, Fleur Blanc's sweets have high reputation.


Mitsuboshi Head Office (三星本店) is a long-established confectionery company in Itoi, Tomakomai city and was founded in Otaru in 1898. Mr. Michiyoshi Kobayashi (小林慶義), an uncle of Mr. Takiji Kobayashi (小林多喜二) who was a famous novelist, established the company and moved to Tomakomai in 1912. Haskap which is local speciality product in this region is used for Yoitomake, Yoitomake (よいとまけ) is representative sweets of Tomakomai. Article is here


Yoitomake of Mitsuboshi

Fleur Blanc

Fleur Blanc Head Office (フルールブラン本店) is a popular sweets bakery shop run by Shikisha (四季舎) in Tomakomai city. Originally Shikisha was a company dealt with a mail order, but they welcomed Mr. Yasuhiko Sato (佐藤康彦), famous patissier, to their company and produced sweets seriously. He won the grand prix in the first Sapporo sweets competition (第1回さっぽろスイーツコンペティション) with "Sapporo, Strawberry Tart (さっぽろ・いちごタルト)". I was looking forward to eating their sweets. Article is here

Fleur Blanc's Full of Fruits Tart
Fleur Blanc

Other Sightseeing Spots

Tomakomai Has a sightseeing spot as well as nature and tasty foods.

Midorigaoka Park Observatory

Midorigaoka Park (緑ヶ丘公園) is a large park of 87.20 ha in the northern part of Tomakomai city and has an athletic ground and a barbecue area. It is known as a relaxing place for Tomakomai people. An observatory was built for 50 th Tomakomai city anniversary in 1998 on a hill. There is a resting place and a souvenir shop on the 1st floor and is a multipurpose resting room on the 2nd floor. An observatory deck is at 56 m above sea level, so visitors can a panoramic view of Tomakomai city. It is famous as a good night view place, too. Article is here

Midorigaoka Park Observatory
Tomakomai Midorigaoka Park Observatory


Refer to following websites for the accommodations in Tomakomai.

Smile Hotel Tomakomai(スマイルホテル苫小牧)
Comfort Hotel Tomakomai(コンフォートホテル 苫小牧)
Hotel Wing International Tomakomai(ホテルウィングインターナショナル苫小牧)
Tomakomai Green Hotel(苫小牧グリーンホテル)
Hotel Route Inn Tomakomai(ホテルルートイン苫小牧駅前)
Dormy Inn Tomakomai(ドーミーイン苫小牧)
Toyoko Inn Tomakomai(東横イン苫小牧駅前)
Hotel Sugita(ホテル杉田)
Business Hotel Motonakano(ビジネスホテル モトナカノ)
Grand Hotel New Oji(グランドホテル ニュー王子)
Hotel Okuni(ホテル於久仁)
Business Hotel Hachinohe(ビジネスホテルはちのへ)
Oyado Hishokan(おやど 翔馬館)
Hotel Nidom(ホテル ニドム)



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