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[Wakkanai] Tourism and Seafood Can Be Enjoyed in Japan's Northernmost Fishery City

April 9th, 2013

WAKKANAI

Wakkanai (稚内) that about 35,000 people live is the 21th largest fishery city in Hokkaido, and was named after Yamuwakkanai that means "A river with cold water" in Ainu language. It is one of regional hub cities of the North Hokkaido area, and is the northernmost port town in Japan. A catch of Octopus Dofleini (ミズダコ) is the largest in the Japan. In addition, a lot of people run a dairy farm, and the Wakkanai is one of tasty milk‐producing distlict in the Hokkaido. My grandmother was from Keihoku (恵北) in the Wakkanai, and I remember that the milk was very tasty when I visited parents' house of my grandmother in the old days. As for climate, the Wakkanai faces the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, so a wind blows hard. Average annual temperature is 7 degrees, and it is chilly in a summer, and it does not relatively snow hard in a winter. Wakkanai Peninsula (稚内半島) is in the west side of the city, and Soya Peninsula (宗谷半島) is in the east side of the city, and the downtown is in the west side of the city. Various things is the northernmost in the Japan, for example, Japane's Northernmost Railway Monument (日本最北端の線路の碑) is built beside the Wakkanai Station, too.

Wakkanai
Wakkanai

Movie of Wakkanai

Wakkanai Station
Wakkanai
Japane's Northernmost Railway Monument
Wakkanai
Northernmost Convenience Store in Japan, Seicomart Tomiiso Branch
Wakkanai

Because a sea breeze blows hard, high trees are hard to grow in the Wakkanai. So there are a lot of good places to see superb views. For example, Soya Hills (宗谷丘陵) that soil repeated freezes and fusion in the ice age, and the waved surface of hills named "Periglacial Landforms" was born, Soya-misaki Park (宗谷岬公園) that the globe looks round and Wakkanai Park (稚内公園) that the downtown can be viewed are well-known good places. Hay, Wind power windmills and the sea goes well with the scenery, and the views like another country can be enjoyed. Ranches are combined with the wind power windmills built on hills, so a scenery looks like a piece of picture. Therefor Footpath is a popular activity. In addition, Hokkaido Road 106 called Ororon Line (オロロンライン) with good views attracts a lot of motorcycle riders and drivers. It was very comfortable when I drove along the long straight road without signals in the summer, too.

Soya Hills
宗谷丘陵 稚内
Soya-misaki Park
稚内の宗谷岬
Ororon Line
Wakkanai
Hay
Wakkanai

The Wakkanai does not has vast landscape such as Kushiro-shitsugen Wetland or Daisetsuzan Mountain Range, but Onuma Pond (大沼) and Meguma Pond (メグマ沼) are in the center part of the city, and bird-watching can be enjoyed. Especially, the Onuma Pond is well-known for swans coming flying, and about 20,000 swans can be watched in a spring. The Wakkanai is a key junction for sea transportation from here to Rebun Island (礼文島) or Rishiri Island (利尻島), and ferries come and go. But the ferries do not run if the sea runs high. By the way, the city is a shooting place for Japanese movie "Sakura Guardian in the North (北の桜守)" that Ms. Sayuri Yoshinaga (吉永小百合), a famous Japanese actress, played the leading character, and visiting the real-life locations can be enjoyed.

Ferry Terminal
Wakkanai

Movie of Sakura Guardian in the North

The Wakkanai has much events, First Sunrise of a New Year in Top (初日の出inてっぺん) is held in 1 January, and Russian Folk Song Ensemble is held from mid February to mid March, and Soya Fureai Park Snowland is held in February, and Japan Cup Natonal Dog Sleigh Race in Wakkanai (JAPAN CUP 全国犬ぞり稚内大会) is held between 2days in late February. Then Japane's Northernmost Wakkanai White Night Festival (日本最北端わっかない白夜祭) is held between 2days in mid June, and Hokumon Shrine Festival (北門神社例大祭) is held between 2days in early July, and Vice-port Market Summer Festival (副港市場夏祭り) is held between 2days in mid July, and 100th Year Memorial Tower Festival (百年記念塔祭り) is held in a day, late July, and Wakkanai Minato Antarctic Festival (稚内みなと南極まつり) is held between 2days in early August, and Japan's Northernmost Part, Meal MARCHE is held between 2days in late August, and Wakkanai Peace Marathon (わっかない平和マラソン) is held in a day, late September.

Rishiri Island from Yuhigaoka Parking
Wakkanai

As for Onsen, Wakkanai Onsen (稚内温泉) is famous. In addition, there are Wakkanai Natural Onsen "Minato-no-Yu" (稚内天然温泉「港のゆ」) and Wakkanai Grand Hotel (稚内グランドホテル) near Minami-wakkanai Station. By the way, a direct bus does not run between Sapporo or New Chitose Airport and the Wakkanai. But an express bus Hamnasu-go (はまなす号) runs between the Sapporo and the Wakkanai.

List of Highway Bus

Refer to following a company for the highway bus service between the Wakkanai and the Sapporo.

Hokuto Kotsu(北都交通) From Wakkanai to Sapporo
Jalan
Rakuten
Hokuto Kotsu(北都交通) From Sapporo to Wakkanai
Jalan
Rakuten

List of Nature

The Soya Hills, the Onuma Pond and the Meguma Pond are famous. My visited tourist attarctions are as follows.

Soya Hills

Soya Hills (宗谷丘陵) is nearby Cape Soya (宗谷岬) located in the northeastern part of Wakkanai city. Soil repeated freezes and fusion in the ice age, and the waved surface of hills named "Periglacial Landforms" was born. Here is a viewing spot for beautiful sceneries with gentle hills with about 400 m in height, Mt. Maruyama, White Road and windmills. About 3,000 Soya Black Cattles are bred on the gentle hills, and 57 windmills stand on the gentle hills. I think that an inimitable superb view in Japan can be seen only here. It is said the views look like the sceneries of Iceland or Siberia in Russian, and it can also be said that foreign sceneries can be enjoyed here while visitors are in the Japan. In addition, it is said that the game venue of Anime "Girls und Panzer der Film" uses the Mt. Maruyama as a motif. A parking lot is free of charge. There is no facility except the parking lot. Article is here

Windmills and Hills
Wakkanai

Onuma Pond

The Onuma Pond (大沼) is a pond adjacent to Wakkanai Airport in the center part of the Wakkanai. The perimeter of the pond is about 12 km, and the maximum depth is 2.2 m. It is famous as a place that about 20,000 whistling swans come flying in the spring and an autumn. An observation hut is built to watch a little less than 100 types of wild birds such as Wild Goose, Heron, Steller's Sea-eagle. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge.

Onuma Pond
Wakkanai

Atmosphere of Onuma Pond Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Onuma Pond

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (72 Cars)
Business hours Open 24 hours * Onuma bird house 09:00-17:00
Regular closing day Open all year round * Onuma bird house 11/26-03/24
Telephone number +81-162-23-6161
Home page Home page is here

List of Tasty Foods

Because the Wakkanai is the port city, the fishing industry have been prosperous. I have no doubt that marine products are tasty. In those marine products, the Octopus Dofleini is local speciality, and my grandmother told me that she caught and ate octopuses sticking to tetrapods in old days. The tasty fresh big octopuses are fished, and Octopus Shabu-shabu (タコしゃぶしゃぶ) is one of local speciality dishes, and almost crunchy texture can be savored. In addition, a local speciality food called chao mien (チャーメン) is served at some restaurants, too. Speaking of tasty restaurants in the Wakkanai, Vin (ヴァン) is given 1-star by Michelin Hokkaido, and If (イフ), Takaraya (たからや), Hand made Soba Harunaya (手打ちそば はるな家), Nara Sushi (なら鮨) and Rokka-no-Oka Saryo (六花の丘茶寮) are given bib gourmand by the Michelin Hokkaido. In addition, Sushi Tatsu (寿司竜), Robata Yezo-no-Sato (炉端 蝦夷の里), Jinpachi (甚八), Yezobanya (えぞ番屋), Izakaya Zakoya (居酒屋 雑魚や), Mamiyado (間宮堂), Karafuto Shokudo (樺太食堂), Wakkanai Milk (稚内牛乳) and Kita-no-Ajigokoro Take-chan (北の味心竹ちゃん) are popular in particular.

Ramen

Wakkanai Ramen uses soup broth made from kombu and pork bones. A lot of ramen restraunts serve ramen with light taste and Umami. I am enchanted in particular beautiful salt ramen. The Mamiyado, Harukichaya (はるき茶屋), Ramen Aoitori (らーめん青い鳥) and Minatoya (みなとや) especially have a good reputation. My visited ramen restraunts are as follow.

Takaraya

Takaraya (たからや) is a long-established ramen restraunt in Wakkanai city and was founded in 1966. There is a building near Wakkanai station. It is famous for getting the Bib Gourmand in MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. I visited here around 16:00 on weekdays. There was no visitor because it wss past lunchtime. The ramen restraunt was a typical ramen restraunt with a warmth of woods. There are some tables, so family customers seem to enjoy. Article is here

Salt Broth Ramen
Salt Broth Ramen Wakkanai Ramen -Takaraya-

Mamiyado

Mamiyado (間宮堂) is a popular ramen restraunt in Soyamisaki park, wakkanai city and is known for a catch phrase "The more ramen is served at the north, the better ramen is tasty (北へ行くほどラーメンがうまくなる)". A building is located on a hill, so view from the ramen restraunt is good. Dishes using seafood such as a sea urchin rice bowl as well as the ramen are served. By the way, they open a bussiness from mid April to mid November and close in a winter. Article is here

Salt Broth Ramen with Scallop
Salt Ramen with Scallop -Mamiyado in Wakkanai-

Steak

Steak House Vin (ステーキハウス ヴァン) is a steak restaurant in Wakkanai city. There is a building near Wakkanai station. It is well-known as the steak restaurant located in the northmost in Japan, and visitors can eat soya beef (宗谷牛) at the restraunt. They garnered one star in MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. Business hour is very short from 18:00 to 20:00. An owner and his wife are at an old age and seemed to shorten working hours. Article is here

Vin's Steak
Steak -Vin in Wakkanai-

Conveyor Belt Sushi

Hanaichimonme Head Office (花いちもんめ) is a popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant (回転寿司店) in Shiomi, Wakkanai city, and is well-known as the northernmost conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the Japan. I visited here with my friend that visited the Hokkaido for the first time around 17:00. There were already several groups of visitors at the restaurant. We sat at counter seats at once. The sushi is gotten on a conveyor belt, but vititors can order it ordinary. I ordered restaurant's recommendations and seafood caught in Wakkanai's sea. Article is here

Scallop
Conveyor Belt Sushi -Hanaichimonme in Wakkanai-

Sweets

Wakkanai is well-known for the tasty milk, too. Tourists can savor Wakkanai Milk's milk products at Wakkanai Vice-port Market (稚内副港市場). They sell milk, an ice cream and a soft serve ice cream.

Wakkanai Milk's Milk and Soft Ice Cream
Wakkanai Milk Wakkanai Milk

List of Onsen

Wakkanai Onsen (稚内温泉) in the west part of the Wakkanai is well-known as the northernmost hot spring resort in the Japan. Except it, there are the Wakkanai Natural Onsen "Minato-no-Yu" and the Wakkanai Grand Hotel near the Minami-wakkanai Station. But I do not know whether visitors can tak a day trip bath or not at the Wakkanai Grand Hotel.

Wakkanai Onsen

Wakkanai Onsen (稚内温泉) is a hot spring place in the west side of Wakkanai city, and is the origin that hot spring gushed out when they prospected for oil, and is the Japan's nothernmost onsen. Wakkanai Health Increase Center Domu (稚内市健康増進センター 童夢), a hot spring facility for day trip onsen, and some accommodations are built. There are Wakkanai Youth Recreation Hall (稚内少年青年の家) and Wakkanai General Gymnasium around there. The distance is around 10 km away from the center of the Wakkanai, and restraunts, cafes, souvenir shops and convenience stores are not built. Cape Noshappu (ノシャップ岬) is relatively near here, and there are Noshappu Cold Current Aquarium (ノシャップ寒流水族館) and Wakkanai Lighthouse (稚内灯台) and restraunts. Article is here

Wakkanai Domu
Wakkanai Onsen

List of Other Tourist Attractions

Wakkanai has a lot of inimitable views in the Hokkaido, and there are tourist attractions in various places of the city. Cape Noshappu (ノシャップ岬), Cape Soya (宗谷岬), Wakkanai Park (稚内公園) and Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome (稚内港北防波堤ドーム) are particularly famous. In addition, local people recommend the sunset at Yuhigaoka Parking (夕日が丘パーキング).

Sunset from Yuhigaoka Parking
Wakkanai

Cape Noshappu

Cape Noshappu (ノシャップ岬) is a cape located in the northwestern part of Wakkanai city. The Noshappu means "A place that the cape is like jutting out a chin" in Ainu language. As its name suggests, the cape is at the tip of Wakkanai Peninsula. It is well-known for enjoying the beautiful setting sun across the Sea of Japan, and is a popular place to view Rshiri Island and Rebun Island. Sakhalin Island in Russia is in the opposite side of the sea. There are Esandomari Fishing Port Park (恵山泊漁港公園), Noshappu Cold Current Aquarium (ノシャップ寒流水族館), Wakkanai Lighthouse, souvenir shops and restaurants at the tip of the cape. The distance is about 4 km away from here to Wakkanai Onsen, too. Article is here

Cape Noshappu
Wakkanai

Cape Soya

Cape Soya (宗谷岬) is a cape, the Japan mainland's northernmost point, located in the northeastern part of Wakkanai city, the Japan's northernmost city, and a lot of visitors come. In addition, the cape is one of 3 major tourist attractions that the globe looks round in Hokkaido together with Cape Chikyu (地球岬) and Kaiyoudai (開陽台). The Cape Soya is roughly divided into 2 places, one is the Cape Soya that the Japan mainland's northernmost point is overcome by deep emotion on the flat, and another is Soyamisaki Park (宗谷岬公園) that Sakhalin Island (サハリン島), the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan can be looked over on the hillside. Soya Channel (宗谷海峡) separates the Cape Soya from the Sakhalin Island, and the distance is around 40 km. The Cape Soya is connected Cape Nishi-notoromisaki (西能登呂岬) in the Sakhalin Island with a line, and the left side is the Sea of Japan, and the right side is the Sea of Okhotsk. The cape is one of 3 places that 2 seas can be viewed at the same time in Hokkaido together with Cape Esan (恵山岬) and cape Nosappu (納沙布岬), too. Article is here

広告

Japan's Northernmost Point Monument
Wakkanai

Wakkanai Park

Wakkanai Park (稚内公園) is a park in Wakkanai Peninsula located in the west part of Wakkanai city, and is well-known as a viewing place to command a panoramic view of the downtown and a port from a small hill. It has opened the park since 1954, and also is adjacent to Forest Park Campsite (森林公園キャンプ場). The park is relatively near Wakkanai Station, and the distance is about 2 km away, and also is close to Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome (北防波堤ドーム) and a ferry port. In addition, cherry blossoms are in full bloom in mid May. A night view is beautiful, too, and the park is certified one of 9 nature night-view heritage in Hokkaido by the Japan Night-view Heritage Office. Article is here

Hyosetsu-no-Mon Gate Monument
Wakkanai

Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome

Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome is in the Wakkanai port, and was built to protect baggages from angry waves. The architectural designer is Mr. Minoru Tsuchiya (土屋実). The semiarch concrete dome with 427 m in total length has 70 columns, and looks like a roman architecture, and it has became a popular tourist attraction. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge.

Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome
Wakkanai
Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome
Wakkanai Kohoku Breakwater Dom
Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome
Wakkanai Kohoku Breakwater Dom

Atmosphere of Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Wakkanai North Breakwater Dome

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Parking lot is not provided * Pull over to the shoulder
Business hours Open 24 hours
Regular closing day Open year all round
Telephone number +81-162-23-6161
Home page Home page is here

List of Events

Various events such as the events using the tasty foods or using snow are held from the spring to the winter.

Movie of Japan Cup Natonal Dog Sleigh Race in Wakkanai

Movie of Russian Folk Song Ensemble

Movie of Hokumon Shrine Festival

Movie of Wakkanai Minato Antarctic Festival

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Wakkanai. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Wakkanai Sun Hotel(稚内サンホテル)
ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Wakkanai(ANAクラウンプラザホテル稚内)
Wakkanai Onsen Hotel Kito(稚内温泉 ホテル喜登)
Dormy Inn Wakkanai(天北の湯 ドーミーイン稚内)
Wakkanai Grand Hotel(稚内グランドホテル)
Wakkanai Kaiin Kaikan(稚内海員会館)
Booking
Hotel Misono(ホテル御園)
Hotel Miyuki(ホテル美雪)
Hotel Okabe Shisaitei(ホテルおかべ汐彩亭)
Hotel Sakhalin(ホテルサハリン)
Hotel Okudaya(ホテル 奥田屋)
Sakae Hotel(さかえホテル)
Booking
Jalan
Ryokan Yamaichi(旅館山一)
Ryokan Ikoi(旅館 以木以)
Booking
Ryokan Iwaki(旅館 いわ木)
Booking
Hotel Taisho(ホテル大将)
Booking
Kokumin-shukusha Hyosetsuso(国民宿舎 氷雪荘)
Rakuten
Hotel Soya(ホテル宗谷)
Booking
Hotel Takikawa(ホテル 滝川)
Booking
Tabi-no-Yado Ubukata(旅の宿 うぶかた)
Booking
Small Hotel Akari(小さなホテル燈)
Booking
Onsen Minshuku Kita-no-Yado(温泉民宿 北乃宿)
HP
Booking
Jalan
Wafu Pension Fujikado(和風ペンション 富士門)
Booking
Soya Palace(宗谷 パレス)
Booking
Booking.com

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